Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 1985.
He lives and works in Kharkiv.
Mykola Ridnyi works both as an artist—in installations, sculpture, and video—and a curator. At the 56th Biennale di Venezia, he is represented by two remarkable projects: Regular Places (2014), a single-channel video, and the compelling mixed-media series Blind Spot (2014). Both reveal Ridnyi’s proclivity for narrative, of which recent political events in Eastern Ukraine serve as the point of departure.
In Regular Places, the viewer is shown five locations around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. Here, people can be seen going about the uneventful routines of their daily lives in ways that mask the turbulence of the past few months. Perhaps their apparent indifference is an attempt to erase the memory of recent and ongoing political violence. Or perhaps they are simply trying to live life as normally as possible, despite the socioeconomic paralysis that has affected the city. A similar narrative surrounds Blind Spot, but in this case Ridnyi takes a more affective point of view. Here, in a series of photographs and a few drawings, intimate details of ruins or smoldering buildings from Luhansk, Eastern Ukraine, are gradually obliterated by a black spot that expands progressively in the series of images. Using the metaphor of the empty area between the left and right eyes, and recalling recent political events in Ukraine, Ridnyi frames this blind spot as a critical interstice between comprehended reality and imagined reality. This in-between space is shaped by ideologies and one’s political position, and is informed by access to knowledge and the influence of information or misinformation, all of which enable us as individuals to construct reality in specific ways. As well as being a space of imagination and memory, that black spot is also the deliberate numbing of vision at seeing the intractable cycle of escalating violence in trouble spots around the world, images that are circulated by global news media, sometimes in the manner of war-machine propaganda, at other times as a palpable trope of the everyday.