Our ship is a corsair schooner. Video art of Odesa from the 90s to today


Our ship is a corsair schooner. Video art of Odesa from the 90s to today

This show  invites viewers to plunge into the unique world of Odesa video art, covering periods when video as an art form was not yet fully realized in Ukraine – from the first pirate videos, television shows and music videos and experimental short films to the latest significant works in this genre.

Video, as one of the most important mediums in art, appeared in the West back in the 1950s, but in Ukraine its boom began only in the early 90s. Interest in him was partly explained by conversations about the “death of painting.” As a result, the first decade of Ukrainian art in the era of independence passed under the heading of media, and during these ten years media art made a huge leap in development.

Odesa art of the late 80s and early 90s generally did not consider video as an art material. Most of the Odesa video works were originally intended to be presented as part of an installation: a working (and in some cases non-working) monitor was used as a metaphor for the readymade. This approach to video in Odesa (with rare exceptions) remained throughout the 90s.Odesa video art had its heyday in the 1990s, but in the early ‘noughties’ financial difficulties and the end of the ‘revolutionary’ period in domestic culture led to a temporary loss of interest in innovation and new technologies among many artists who had previously worked in video. However, after 2014, video has once again become an important part of many artists’ practice.

But even having become familiar with video, Ukrainian artists still thought “pictorially”: their video art, in essence, was the same narrative, figurative art, only created with the help of a lens, rather than a brush and canvas.

One of the outstanding features of the artistic process in Odesa is the sharp polemic between its participants, despite their aesthetic differences and often oppositional sentiments. This discussion, which has been going on for decades, continues to contribute to the enrichment of the art scene. The uniqueness of the Odesa artists’ approach is evident in the fact that video is not only seen as a product in its own right, but also as an integral part of large installations and thematic curatorial exhibitions and festivals. Since 2010, the Museum of Modern Art of Odesa has been actively engaged in archiving and museification of Odesa video art, which has become an important part of Ukraine’s cultural heritage.

This set demonstrates both self-irony in the spirit of the postmodernist mentality and lyricism, immersion in oneself and deep reflection on art.

Curator: Andriy Siguntsov 

Co-curator: Anna Morokhovskaya


Anti Gonna

Georgiy Deliyev

Myroslav Kulchitsky & Vadym Chekorsky

Nadiya Shoshina

Nikolay Karabinovych

Olexandr Roytburd

Olexandr Shevchuk

Oleksiy Shmurak

Ute Kilter

Viktor Malyarenko

Yuri Leiderman