The Open Group collective and curator Marta Czyż will present the project Repeat After Me II in the Polish Pavilion as part of the 60th edition of the Venice Art Biennale.

Repeat after Me II is an installation by the Ukrainian Open Group collective, made up of two films. These videos were created in 2022 and 2024. All the people they feature are refugees, speaking of their war experiences through the sounds of weapons they recall, then encouraging the audience to follow their lead. The artist use the karaoke format. Yet here the accompaniment is not hit songs, but shots, missiles, howling and explosions, and the lyrics are descriptions of deadly weapons.

The juxtaposition of these works from 2022 and 2024 shows the drastic continuity of memory, as well as the changes in war technology. The first video was shot in a camp near Lviv for people resettled within the country. The second work was made outside of Ukraine, in the countries of Western Europe, which are a haven for the participants. Yet even now, beyond the reach of the endless sirens, the sounds of war remain part of their trauma and symbolically spread their range.

Open Group depict war as a collective experience, independent of age, origin, professional, and social status. They give a voice to its witnesses and focus attention on the individual experience of the catastrophe.

Оpen Group was founded in 2012 in Lviv by six Ukrainian artists. The group’s structure has changed over the years. Its present members are: Yuriy Biley, Pavlo Kovach and Anton Varga. The structure of Open Group is built around the idea of collective work, involving people from different fields for a period of time to work on collaborative projects. Their work is based on exploring interactions between people and contextual spaces, creating ‘open situations’.

The exhibition will be on display 20/04 – 24/11/2024

Open Group website

Exhibition website

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