Emma Geliot's picture

Maria Kulikovska performing at the Saatchi Gallery during 'UK/RAINE'. Photo: courtesy of Saatchi Gallery and the artist. Maria Kulikovska opening 'UK/RAINE' with a performance at Saatchi Gallery. Photo: courtesy of Saatchi Gallery and the artist.

Saatchi Gallery and the Firtash Foundation present the first open competition for emergent British and Ukrainian artists, as part of an ongoing collaboration. Jess Rayner joins the creative conversation taking part between the two countries.

UK/RAINE: Emerging Artists from the UK and Ukraine seeks to support engaging and talented artists aged between 18-35 working or born in the UK and Ukraine. At a vital stage in their early careers, each of the 30 shortlisted artists was in the running to win financial support and a high profile showcase. The multiculturalism that underpins current society was the focus for UK/RAINE in an attempt to tap into a new generation of globally connected artists. The exhibition itself presents a more focused dialogue, creating a cultural bridge between the two countries. Despite some shortlisted artists being at student level all the entries display a strong sense of individual artistic language.

The submissions were divided across five categories installation, new media, painting, sculpture and street art providing a snapshot of the future direction of contemporary art through a showcase of provocative, mixed media pieces. The showcased artists show no fear in pushing boundaries, exploring the limitations of urban environments whilst confronting political issues.

One such artist is Ukrainian born Maria Kulikovska, who recreated three sculptures that were destroyed by pro-Russian separatists when installed outside the Izolyatsia art centre in Donetsk. The new works, cast in soap from a mould of her own body, were part of a performance to mark the opening of UK/RAINE where a naked Kulikovska smashed one of her sculptures with a hammer, in response to the separatists who denounced her work asdegenerate .

Untitled, Sergiy Petlyuk, 2015, video installation. Courtesy of Saatchi Gallery. Untitled, Sergiy Petlyuk, 2015, video installation. Courtesy of Saatchi Gallery.

Sergiy Petlyuk the overall winner, who received30,000, produces video installations that investigate the human body and physiology of the city. Petlyuk experimented with several dimensions with his interactive installations combining fragments of geographic, economic and personal surfaces resulting in fluid, multisensory pieces.

The exhibition opens up a conversation between young British and Ukrainian artists as they share a cultural understanding, as part of a continuing partnership between Saatchi Gallery and the Firtash Foundation.

UK/RAINE: Emerging Artists from the UK and Ukraine runs from 24 November - 3 January at the Saatchi Gallery

saatchigallery.com

firtashfoundation.com