Events | Reading War - Film Screening and Discussion with Dana Kavelina, Mykola Ridnyi, Asha Bukojemsky, and Clemens von Wedemeyer

Los Angeles | September 18, 2022

RSVP required
520 Paseo Miramar, LA, CA 90272
Start of event: 10:00 am


Street parking is available on Los Liones Drive. Shuttle service starts from Los Liones Drive, off Sunset Boulevard two blocks North East of Pacific Coast Highway and is running from 9-10am and after the program. Please do not park in the Topanga State Park Lot!

Reading War

Conceived by artist-in-residence Clemens von Wedemeyer and independent curator Asha Bukojemsky, Villa Aurora presents two films by contemporary Ukrainian artists Dana Kavelina and Mykola Ridnyi. The screening will be followed by a live discussion with both filmmakers who will join via Zoom from Kyiv and Berlin.

Produced before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, these films investigate the repercussions of war on individual lives and national identity. Focusing on the Donbass region and the conflicts that arose following the 2014 Maidan uprising, the artists interpret conflicts and influences from different perspectives, thus revealing a new specificity using complex relationships to images of violence. In Dana Kavelina's Letter to a Turtledove (2020), appropriated war videos and other archival footage center around a monologue spoken off-screen. The resulting collaged film examines the war in Donbass through a feminist prism:

"The film itself is an attempt to build an alternative optic in order to examine the conflict in Ukraine, an invitation to understand the war not through the lens of the ‘friend-enemy’ distinction, but through the ‘rapist-victim’ dichotomy." (Dana Kavelina)


In Mykola Ridnyi's NO! NO! NO! (2017), the main heroes are the young people of Kharkiv in the Eastern part of Ukraine. An LGBT activist and poet, a fashion model, a group of street artists, and a creator of a computer game are all working in the creative industries. The protagonists’ lives are transformed by the war as they react to and reflect on political events through their specific relationships with the urban space and the reality of social media.

Reflecting on images of war both past and present further connects the program to its own location–Villa Aurora–which was a place of refuge during another war. Since the 1940s, Marta and Lion Feuchtwanger opened their exile home to luminaries such as Thomas Mann and Bertolt Brecht, who––together with photographer Ruth Berlau––assembled his Kriegsfibel (War Primer) in Los Angeles. A bitter reflection on war in the tradition of Goya or Dix, Brecht dedicated one of the originals to his close friend, Lion Feuchtwanger. Reading War reveals not only a new specificity of complex relationships related to war, but also how audiences have read images of violence through time.

Dana Kavelina

Dana Kavelina is an artist and filmmaker. She was born in Melitopol and graduated from the Department of Graphics at the National Technical University of Ukraine (Kyiv). Much of her work consists of painting, text, graphics, and videos, and she creates animated films. She brings an artistic component into civic activism and street protests. The subjects of her works are personal and historical trauma, vulnerability, and the perception of war outside mainstream narratives. Her works have been exhibited at the Kmytiv Museum, Closer Art Center (Kyiv), and Sakharov Center (Moscow). She has received awards from the Odesa International Film Festival and KROK International Animated Film Festival. Her animated film, About Mark Lvovich Tulpanov, Who Talked to Flowers, which depicts the events of the military conflict in Donbas through the prism of personal tragedies, won a special jury prize at the Odesa International Film Festival and an award at the international film festival KROK-2018.

Mykola Ridnyi 

Mykola Ridnyi was born in Kharkiv and currently lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine. He graduated in 2008 from the National Academy of design and arts in Kharkiv, where he received his MA degree in sculpture studies. Ridnyi combines different artistic activities: he is an artist and filmmaker, curator and author of essays on art and politics. He has been a founding member of the SOSka group, an art collective based in Kharkiv and cofounded the SOSka gallery-lab, an artist-run-space in an abandoned house in the center of Kharkiv. He curated a number of international exhibitions in Ukraine, among them After the Victory (CCA Yermilov Centre, Kharkiv, 2014),  New History (Kharkiv Museum of Art, 2009). Ridnyi is co-editor of Prostory, an online magazine about visual art, literature, and society. In 2019, he curated Armed and Dangerous, a multimedia platform bringing together video artists and experimental film directors from Ukraine. In recent films he experiments with nonlinear montage, collage of documentary and fiction. His way of reflection on social and political reality draws on the contrast between fragility and resilience of individual stories and collective histories. His works are in the permanent public collections of Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Arsenal City Gallery in Bialystok, V-A-C foundation in Moscow, and others.

Asha Bukojemsky

Asha Bukojemsky is an independent curator and public programmer based in Los Angeles. Since 2017 she has produced Marathon Screenings, as well as exhibitions and projects in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Art, JOAN, 18th Street Arts Center, Active Cultures, Richard Neutra VDL House, Grand Central Market, Oregon Contemporary, Chicken Coop Contemporary, Syndicate, Aldo Chaparro Studio and EDA, and Creative Migration, among others. Bukojemsky graduated with an MLITT from University of Glasgow and a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal. Raised between Canada and the US by Ukrainian parents, her projects capture her love for storytelling and an exploration of multi-layered identity.

Clemens von Wedemeyer

Clemens von Wedemeyer, born in Göttingen, Germany, studied photography and media in Bielefeld and fine arts at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig, where he now holds a professorship for media art. His works explore the personal and collective history of the 20th century as well as the power and control structures of the present. The structure of his films and complex video installations reflects these topics in several storylines and points of view. Von Wedemeyer participated in international group shows such as the 1st Moscow Biennale (2005), the 4th Berlin Biennale (2006), the 16th Sydney Biennale of Sydney (2008), and dOCUMENTA (13) (2012). His solo shows include exhibitions at MoMA PS1 (New York), the Barbican Art Centre (London), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (Berlin), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), and Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg). His film ESIOD 2015 premiered at the 66th International Film Festival Berlin. His latest group of works consisting of extensive video installations which was shown at Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig and Kunstmuseum Lucerne (2019) grapples with the image of human crowds and their social interactions in a digitized world. He currently lives in Berlin.

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