In Word


The Taras Shevchenko National Museum (Kyiv, 2020, in the frame of the exhibition “A Century of Ukrainian Abstract Art”)

The performance “In Word” is an exploration of the signs, intervals and rhythms in a poetic work with a focus on their visual incarnation. In the course of the performance a transition takes place from sense to the rhythm in which it is articulated, from the rational to the felt, from understanding to signs which everybody interprets individually — in accordance with their experience, imagination and capacity for abstract thought.

Since the exhibition was taking place in the Shevchenko Museum (Taras Shevchenko was an author, artist and social activist, whose works are considered to be the foundation of Ukrainian literature), it was natural for me to fall into the context of his works. “My Testament” is a famous text that all Ukrainians know from school. I also knew it. But for the first time my attention was drawn to the text’s two sets of suspension points, to its agitation, its sense of feverishness, of a quest to express something which cannot be put into words which eventually transforms into a state of equilibrium and harmony. Through the verses of struggle (and in his biography, through his years of exile), the author comes to a sense of that which remains in his native land when it finally becomes free. And I felt that I would work with red for the first time
Olia Mykhailiuk

1. In Word

2. In Word

As a result was born a work between text and performance — a personal interaction with a poem, which began and ended with a word, in the vein of the citation “A softly spoken, kindly word”.

“When from Ukraine the Dnieper bears
Into the deep blue sea
The blood of foes … then will I leave
These hills and fertile fields —
I’ll leave them all and fly away
To the abode of God,
And then I’ll pray… But till that day
I nothing know of God.”