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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Zhanna Kadyrova: UNEXPECTED – Rudolfinum | 28.02.-30.06.2024

Editors’ Choice

The Rudolfinum Gallery presents the opening exhibition of 2024 entitled Zhanna Kadyrova: UNEXPECTED. The internationally recognised and award-winning Ukrainian artist presents her answer to the question of how she can continue to make art when her country is at war. In a site-specific collection of installations, sculptures, videos, photographs and objects, she tells the story of life, culture and war in Ukraine today. The exhibition, which is free to enter, runs until 30 June 2024.

Image above: Zhanna Kadyrova: UNEXPECTED, pohled do instalace, Uprchlíci (2022–2024). © Galerie Rudolfinum, foto: Ondřej Polák

“I would like to invite you to my exhibition. Ukraine is a country in your neighbourhood, we have a lot in common historically and I hope that visitors will be interested in my experiences,” said Zhanna Kadyrova.

“Zhanna Kadyrova has been recognised as an important artist on the international scene for more than a decade, but after the Russian invasion of Ukraine her work has become even more important. Galerie Rudolfinum is proud to exhibit Zhanna’s bold sculptures and installations, which reflect her experiences as an artist in wartime. in a time of war. We are confident that they will resonate strongly with local and international audiences in Prague. Kadyrova’s solo exhibition, which opened shortly after the two-year anniversary of the Russian invasion, provides an opportunity for reflection and mourning, but her works also contain hope, humour and unflagging determination. We would like to thank the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev, under the artistic direction of Björn Geldhof, for the curatorial cooperation that enabled us to bring such an important exhibition to the Czech Republic,” said Julia Bailey, Director of the Rudolfinum Gallery.

DEEDS NEWS Zhanna Kadyrova UNEXPECTED Rudolfínum FOTO Onřej Polák 2
Zhanna Kadyrova: UNEXPECTED, pohled do instalace, Uprchlíci (2022–2024). © Galerie Rudolfinum, foto: Ondřej Polák

Zhanna Kadyrova’s reality, like the reality of all Ukrainians, changed unexpectedly on 24 February 2022: they became refugees, many of whom went abroad. Kadyrova also became a refugee in her homeland, and her artistic work in its previous form became meaningless. Faced with the feeling of futility, she finds refuge in Berezov, a small village in the Carpathian Mountains, and searches for answers to her questions. How can she be an artist when her homeland has been brutally invaded? What is her role? How can she help? For Kadyrova, the only way out of this situation is to talk about life, culture and the war in Ukraine today.

In the exhibition, the artist gives objects and materials a voice to tell the story of the Ukrainian struggle for freedom against Russia. They become the voice of many Ukrainians who are not heard in this violent war. The exhibition is introduced by a horizontal installation entitled Shots Fired (2022-2023), a series of tiles broken by the impact of missiles. Its counterpart is Harmless War (2023), a series of white-painted geometric shapes made of metal sheets that were pierced by shrapnel during the massive Russian invasion of Ukraine. The exhibition also takes us through the artist’s very personal journey from 2014 to the present day. Symbolically, the exhibition closes with Refugees (2023), paintings of plants next to living houseplants that survived the occupation and that Kadyrova brought back from Ukraine.

DEEDS NEWS Zhanna Kadyrova UNEXPECTED Rudolfínum FOTO Onřej Polák 3
Zhanna Kadyrova: UNEXPECTED, pohled do instalace, Výstřely (2022—2023) a Neškodná válka (2023). © Galerie Rudolfinum, foto: Ondřej Polák

The exhibition was conceived by Björn Geldhof, Zhanna Kadyrova and Silvia Van Espen and curated by Björn Geldhof with the support of Eva Drexlerová from the Rudolfinum Gallery. The exhibition is presented in cooperation with the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev. We would like to thank GALLERIA CONTINUA and Zahorian & Van Espen for their kind support.

Zhanna Kadyrova was born in 1981 in Brovare, Kiev region, Ukraine. She currently lives and works in Kiev. She is a member of the group R.E.P. (Revolution Experimental Space). After graduating from the Taras Shevchenko State Art School in 1999, she was awarded the Kazimir Malevich Prize and the Grand Prize of the Kyiv Sculpture Project (both in 2012). She also received the Special Prize (2011), the Main Prize (2013) and another Special Prize (2014) as part of the Future Generation Art Prize awarded by the PinchukArtCentre, as well as the Miami Pulse Prize (2018). In 2019, she represented Ukraine in the main exhibition at the 58.


Exhibition period:
Wednesday, 28. February until Sunday, 30. June 2024

Opening hours:
Tue – Sun, 10 am to 6 pm
Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm


Galerie Rudolfínum
Alšovo nábř. 79/12, 110 00 Staré město-Staré Město
Česká republika


Free entry

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