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Marta Vovk: If you wanna be my lover, you gotta send heavy weapons to Ukraine – Neuer Kunstverein Gießen | 05.08.-16.09.2023

Editors’ Choice

The Neue Kunstverein Gießen will present the first institutional solo exhibition of the artist Marta Vovk from 5 August 2023.

Image above: Пішли всі нахуй, 2022

War: bad. Peace: good. What a pleasant feeling embraces a society that has a reputation for being polarised, when everyone agrees for once.

Together for peace, we get the longed-for place on the right side of history, call it an uprising – in fact somehow partially legitimised due to the lack of seating. And so the concerned citizen is finally absorbed by the thousands who have declared themselves to be part of the movement and for whom a comfortable rocking along in minimal consensus seems to be considered a moral merit.

One and a half years after the start of the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine, Marta Vovk looks at the Germans: aghast, exhausted, amused and belligerent. The core of her political identity is eroding in the face of the circumstances. She wants concrete support for Ukraine, while leftist thought leaders seek to cement their security in this country with warnings of World War III and the leftist Instagram bubble circles anti-Slavic racism with the tools of US-influenced racism theory.

How does Vovk fit in? At the Neuer Kunstverein Gießen, she presents a militaristic, horny manga figure, phallically outfitted with a sword between her naked thighs. The warrior is to be understood as a satire on the role in which the artist has found herself for months. “If You Wanna Be My Lover, You Gotta Send Weapons to Ukraine”: the title of her exhibition leads from a fun promise to a political demand, luring crisis-weary onlookers in front of a panorama of German embarrassment.

Come on, you refugees, but don’t stay too long, someday we’ll need our gyms back. Then you won’t look so much like us any more and the fact that you haven’t completely reflected on nationalism will make us suspicious. We don’t like that here and we don’t want nuclear bombs. We have nothing against Russians. Furthermore, we want to point out how good you have had it with us.

Vovk is disappointed by her left-wing peer group, by the rhetoric of subjugation driven by sensitivities as well as by a playing off of fates against each other that is not conducive to a differentiated understanding of discriminatory structures. Her exhibition is a reckoning with three generations of self-righteousness, a cheerfully nasty spectacle against dwindling attention. Decorative plates for the boomers, wall tattoos for Gen X, internet-referential collages of media references for the millennials.

Sit down and take a little time for peace, while a good 1000 kilometres away people are dying. People are always dying somewhere. Sit in front of the TV like you used to. RTL will know. Otherwise ask mum – or the Echo Chamber. Behind the closed doors of the expiring promise of advancement, nail the tokens of best intentions to your wall. Alice, Richard, Sahra, Francis, they’ve always tried.

Text by Anna Meinecke


Ecke Licher Str./Nahrungsberg
35394 Gießen


Exhibition: Saturday 05. August – Saturday 16. September
Artist Talk: Saturday 16. September, 14:00

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