Not a dream: by Vlada Ralko and Volodymyr Budnikov

20 October 2022 - 27 January 2023

Not a Dream

"Dreaming is usually compared to something that seems incredible. If the ghost of a dream does not immediately disappear in the morning, a person prefers to get rid of the nightly gloom  as soon as possible, as if living through a dream has nothing to do with life itself. In many traditions, much attention was paid to the interpretation of specific dreams. The phantom of dream was considered an important episode of personal inner sight experience.

Currently, Ukraine and the rest of Europe are living as if in two parallel realities. For the Western world, the war mostly remains on the surface of the news screens. The scale of Russian crimes in Ukraine is so terrible that one’s mind refuses to perceive them as a domain of human existence, and tries to throw them all beyond vigilance, towards the vague realm of dreamland. However, in the rationality of the daylight, diplomatic and commercial relations with a state that commits all these crimes like a perverted butcher still seem to be quite acceptable.

The fear caused by the threat to somehow established mode of existence provokes instinctive blindness. Thus, the shock of war undermines ordinary perception of reality. The events during the war remind us of a dream which is impossible to wake up from. At the same time, it is extremely necessary to act there, overcoming muteness and numbness of limbs that are so inherent to a dream. It is all a challenge to the intimacy of humanity, which is forced to go back to so-called common places and re-examine them again, to finally wake up in its historical and political essence".

Vlada Ralko 

Volodymyr Budnikov is a prominent abstract artist in Ukraine. He was born in 1947 and graduated from the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture of Kyiv, where he started teaching in 1999. Since 1975, he has been a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine. Many museums in Ukraine present his works as well as public and private collections in Austria, Germany, Japan, France, the USA and the Balkan countries.
Vlada Ralko is one of the most famous artists of the expressionist movement of Ukrainian contemporary art scene. She was born in 1969 and studied visual arts at the School of Fine Arts named after Taras Shevchenko in Kyiv and at the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture of Kyiv, where she attended Volodymyr Budnikov’s lectures. She has been a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine since 1994. Her artworks are part of numerous museums and private collections.

One can perceive the strong artistic bond that unites them through their shared inspirations and concerns, but their works reflect the absolutely unique artistic identity of each of the two artists. Their works are a reaction to the events of their time and a way to resist through art, deeply inspired by the uprisings and conflicts that have marked Ukraine over the past decades. Vlada Ralko’s visual series Diary of Kiev (2013-2015) traces events from the Euromaidan in 2013 until the first Russian attack in Crimea. From April 2022 on, Budnikov was exhibited in Piazza Ucraina as part of the 58th Venice Biennale. In February 2022, Budnikov and Ralko left Kyiv for Lviv in Western Ukraine, where they started the two series presented today.