Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Memory Battles and Ukrainian Contemporary Art
Reserve Your Seat (CUID Only) Register for Zoom Webinar Watch on YouTube


Location Note

1219 International Affairs Building
420 W 118th St, 12th floor

This event is in-person for CUID card holders only. In-person attendees must be in compliance with Columbia University’s health protocols for returning to campus. Pre-registration, valid CUID card, valid green pass, and face covering are required for admittance. All other attendees may participate virtually on Zoom or YouTube.


The Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute presents a talk by contemporary art researcher, critic, and journalist Kateryna Iakovlenko (participating via Zoom), joined by discussant Olena Martynyuk (Harriman Institute) and moderator Mark Andryczyk (Harriman Institute), who will host the event at the Harriman Institute.

After the 2014 Maidan, memory and Ukrainian history became essential topics for Ukrainian contemporary artists. Facing contemporary political challenges and war, they started looking to archives, historical blindspots, and their family history. The historiographical turn in Ukrainian art became a part of an archival impulse process in global art (Hal Foster, 2004). What makes Ukrainian art unique? What specific topics and methods do Ukrainian artists provide? Moreover, how has all this movement influenced intellectual discussion in Ukraine? Kateryna Iakovlenko, Ukrainian curator, critic, and Fulbright Research Fellow at the Scientific Shevchenko Society in the USA, will try to answer these questions.

During her talk, Kateryna Iakovlenko will introduce the new book, Stone Hits Stone, which presents research and artistic reflection on Ukrainian history, political violence, the national historical heritage, the avant-garde, and Soviet utopia within the framework of Nikita Kadan’s artistic practice. The book was published as part of the PinchukArtCentre Research Platform and on the occasion of a solo exhibition by Nikita Kadan entitled Stone Hits Stone, where Iakovlenko was an assistant curator, contributor author and book editor.


Speaker Biographies

Kateryna Iakovlenko is a contemporary art researcher, critic, and journalist. She received an MA in journalism and social communication from Donetsk National University. Iakovlenko has been writing about art and culture in various Ukrainian and European media for more than seven years. For the past six years, she has researched the transformation of the heroic narrative of Donbas through new media as a postgraduate thesis at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. She worked as deputy web editor at The Day newspaper (2013-2014), as curator of the Donbas Studies Research Project at the IZOLYATSIA: Platform for Cultural Initiatives (2014-2015), and as researcher and public program curator at the PinchukArtCentre (2015-2021). Her current research interest touches on the subject of art during political transformations and war, and explores gender optics in visual culture. She is editor of the books Gender Studies by Donbas Studies Research Project (2015), Why There Are Great Women Artists in Ukrainian Art (2019), and a co-editor of a special issue of Obieg magazine titled Euphoria and Fatigue: Ukrainian Art and Society after 2014 (2020), and Curatorial Handbook (2020). Presently, she is a Fulbright Research Fellow at the Scientific Shevchenko Society in the USA.

Olena Martynyuk is an art historian with an interest in art theory and philosophy. Her research focuses on Ukrainian and Russian art from the late 20th century to the present. She graduated with a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University in January 2018. She is presently the Petro Jacyk Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Ukrainian Studies at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University.


Event Video