The commitment of the curators of the Ukrainian pavilion to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in the midst of the war

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Prior to Russia’s assault on Ukraine, Makov’s presentation of The Fountain of Exhaustion at the Biennale was conceived in relation to its staging in Venice, an environment that is a key example of the effects of climate collapse observed in relation to the enterprise of capital. This is evident in the continued protests of Venetians against cruise ships entering the city’s waterways and overloading the canals, accelerating the already high sea level rise and flooding the city’s experiences.

The kinetic sculpture is made up of a series of funnels through which water flows: one funnel splits, funneling the water to the following funnels which also split their water ration and so on, until the later funnels only receive droplets from the initial funnel. Metaphorically, the work comments on the depletion of natural resources, but also the predicament of political capital being leveraged against small former USSR countries that lack the financial and infrastructural capital to “rebuild” the urban detritus of the soviet era. Directly influenced by the intersection where the Lopan and Kharkiv rivers converge in Ukraine, The Fountain of Exhaustion brings to the fore the relationship between geography and humanity, showing how natural confluences emerge and gradually exhaust themselves for the benefit of capital and political profit.

Each time it is exposed, The Fountain of Exhaustion takes the story from the environment in which it is set. After February 24, 2022, the work will focus on Russia’s aggressive attempt to occupy Ukraine. In this light, The Fountain of Exhaustion must be contextualized as an essential means of remembering the dispossessed while centering the narratives and cultural production of Ukrainians, their history and their contemporary practices.

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