Nikita Kadan Limits of Responsibilities1

Nikita Kadan, sculpture from the work Limits of Responsibility, 2014, sculpture, 36 slides, 3 book facsimiles

The foundation for Nikita Kadan's body of works Limits of Responsibility is a series of color slides by the Ukrainian artist. They document the protests against the scheduled removal of the protesters' camp on Independence Square in Kiev in the spring of 2014. In the series, the focus is on the 'Maidan gardens' that activists planted around their tents and barricades during their months of occupation, cultivating vegetables, grains and herbs in the contested Kiev ground.

The artists' play on and with the image takes on a sculptural form in a 1.7 x 3 meter object of lacquered white plywood and a square flowerbed of lettuce and herbs, built according to an illustration from a 1979 Soviet Agitprop publication, in which constructions of that kind are promoted as an ideal way to display agricultural achievement. While the sculpture's construction and materials have their roots in instructional purposes, its illustrative function is missing. The display boards are painted opaque white, their lack of text and image conveying nothing but a reference to propaganda presentation strategy. The artist connects this relic of totalitarianism, robbed of its function, with a space for plants – a bed of garden growth which, in being brought up-to-date, has been liberated from its ideological underpinnings and today serves the autarchy of protesters and survivors. Excluded from the commercial exchange of goods, their responsibility is limited to their immediate surroundings.

Nikita Kadan Limits of Responsibilities2

Nikita Kadan, book facsimile from the work Limits of Responsibility, 2014 (From: Means of visual agitation and propaganda, Moscow, 1979) 

Nikita Kadan Limits of Responsibilities4

Nikita Kadan, Protection of Plants 1, 2014, collage, framed 39,5 x 54,5 x 2 cm 

Nikita Kadan's collage series consists of photographs taken by the artist in Eastern Ukraine. The images show visibly damaged buildings by the recent conflicts in the area and are overlayed by illustrations of plants and vegetables cut out of old Sowjet books. The photographic style has the feel of a snapshot; it is very much about the present condition. The vegetables, carefully extracted from their constructed context, float evenly over the image and randomly obscure parts of the picture. There is no attempt to blend or make it appear that the two layers go together visually or conceptually. The idealized plant and brutalized present exist separately but together, revisiting the idea of the gardens on the Maidan Square in Kiev.