The organizers of the Ukrainian pavilion at the Venice Biennale have halted their efforts there amid Russia’s attack on their home country, Artnet News reports. The pavilion was to have hosted work by Ukrainian artist Pavlo Makov, specifically a re-creation of a wall-mounted 1995 work in which water cascaded through a series of bronze funnels. The work was to be shipped to Venice in two weeks, but the grounding of all flights out of Ukraine has thrown a wrench in that plan.
“We are not in immediate danger, but the situation is critical and changes every minute. Presently, we are not able to continue working on the project of the pavilion due to the danger to our lives,” wrote Makov and the pavilion’s curators—Lizaveta German, Maira Lanko, and Borys Filonenko—on Instagram.
“We can not confirm yet that our project will be completed, but we can promise that we will do everything possible to save unique artwork produced by Pavlo Makov and our big team specially for the upcoming biennial during the past five months, and to represent Ukraine in the international contemporary art scene the way it deserves to be represented,” the group acknowledged.
All three curators live in Kyiv, while Makov lives in Kharkiv: Both cities are under assault. The group, like other artists across Ukraine, implored their counterparts around the world to stand with them. “Guns may hurt our bodies,” they wrote, “but culture changes our minds. This war is a clash of civilizations—a free and civilized world is attacked by the barbarian and aggressive one. If we continue being passive observers of the situation, we will lose everything we work for and all the heritage of our predecessors—art, love, freedom of expression, and the ability to create.”