• Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation.


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Yuri Leiderman

The Ukrainian artist and writer Yuri Leiderman entered the art scene in the 1980s by way of close encounters with Moscow’s conceptualist circle, which strove to subvert socialist ideology through a conceptual approach and appropriative strategies. Leiderman’s artistic thinking was tied to this group until the 1990s. Often drawing inspiration from themes of national identity, his artistic work seeks to transform such issues into abstractions, thereby testing their resistant qualities while foregrounding their unexplainable character. From 1982, he participated in a number of exhibitions held at private apartments in Odessa and Moscow. The “Apt Art” movement of which this was part embodied a phenomenon that could be traced throughout the former Warsaw Pact countries. Alongside these artistic activities, Leiderman graduated from the Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology (MCTI) in 1987. That same year, he joined forces with Sergei Anufriev and Pavel Pepperstein to found the artist group “Medical Hermeneutics”, a group which he left in 1990. Since hermeneutics relates to an area of knowledge pertaining to the interpretation of literary texts, this group created installations and performances that experimented with language and meaning. They began doing so at a time shortly before Glasnost was about to open up the former Soviet Union to the West. The group described Glasnost as being something like a psychotherapeutic experience, in which “the sky opens up” towards new frontiers and promises of a new beginning. In keeping with its name’s medical metaphor, the group’s works of pseudo-healing had a fairy tale-like character to them, drawing on Western visual culture and usually featuring a happy ending. Being an artist group, “Inspection Medical Hermeneutics” (as they were also referred to) blurred the boundaries between what could be viewed as disease, as treatment, and/or as cure. According to Pavel Pepperstein, they created “a thick mumble—white noise and other incomprehensible, unclear things.”

Another group that Leiderman briefly joined, doing so along with Moscow conceptualists Andrei Monastyrski and Vadim Zakharov, was the “Capiton” (also “Corbusier”) group (2007 to 2008). From 2007 to 2015, he collaborated with Andrei Silvestrov on the long-term film project Birmingham Ornament. And since 2014, a large part of his artistic activity has taken place in Ukraine, where he and Silvestrov presented the chapter Odessa, Fragment 205 at the 2015 Kiev Biennial―improvising “an absurdist poetics to compete with the constant pressure of political phantasmagoria.”

Leiderman is the author of several books including essays, prose, and poetry, and he is a member of the editorial board of the Ukrainian online literature and art magazine Prostory. In his work, literature and art always enter into a close relationship.



Born in Odessa, Ukraine, 1963


Yuri Leiderman works as artist and writer. In the 1980s and 90s he lived in Moscow and was close to the s.c. "Moscow conceptualism" circle. He has participated in apartment exhibitions in Moscow and Odessa since 1982. Leiderman graduated from the Moscow Institute of Chemical Technology in 1987. He was one of the founding members of the “Medical Hermeneutics” group (together with Sergei Anufriev and Pavel Pepperstein) in 1987, but left the group in 1990. Leiderman participated in different artistic initiatives, like the curatorial project "Hotelit" (together with Vadim Fishkin, 1998-2001), "Kölnische Gesamtausflüge" (together with Yuri Albert, Sabine Hänsgen and Vadim Zakharov, 2005-2006), the “Capiton" group (together with Andrei Monastyrski and Vadim Zakharov, 2007-2008). From 2007-2015 he worked together with Andrei Silvestrov on the film "Birmingham ornament." The film "Birmigham Ornament 2" won the special jury prize at the 2013 Roma Film festival in the "CINEMA XXI" competition. Leiderman is the author of several books including essays, prose and poetry. In 2005 he was awarded the Russian Andrei Belyi literature prize. From 2014, a big part of his artistic activities has taken place in the Ukraine. He is also member of the editorial board of the Ukrainian literature-art internet magazine "Prostory."


Lives and works in Berlin.


Solo exhibitions (selected):


2013 Galerie Michel Rein, Paris, France


2012 Inspection Medical Hermeneutics, Regina Gallery, Moscow, Russia


2010 Galerie Gregor Podnar, Berlin, Germany


2009 Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany


2008 Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland


Group exhibitions (selected):


2016 “Kollektsia”, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France


2015 “The School of Kiyv”, Kiev Biennial, Kiev, Ukraine


2014 “Insignificant Alterations”, Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna, Austria


2004 Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai, China


2003 50th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy


2001 “Never Stop the Action”, rotor – association for contemporary art, Graz, Austria


1999 “After the Wall”, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden


1998 11th Sydney Biennial, Sydney, Australia


1996 Manifesta 1, Rotterdam, Netherlands


1993 45th Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy

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