Year Zero. The Idea of Light

Year Zero. The Idea of Light

Victor Sydorenko

15.12.2021 - 12.01.2022 Buy a ticket
About the project
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From 15 December 2021 to 12 February 2022, the exhibition Year Zero. The Idea of Light at M17 Contemporary Art Center is open. This is the third and final part of Victor Sydorenko’s interdisciplinary project All Colours of the Spectrum is White Light, which covers the artist’s works in various genres — painting, photography, video art, installations and sculptures — for more than 25 years.

Victor Sydorenko is one of the most emblematic Ukrainian artists of the postwar generation. His project Millstone of Time presented Ukraine at the 50th Venice Biennale. The artist is not apprehensive of experimenting with either theme or with material: he draws easel paintings, creates large-scale sculptures, works with video. Intentional damages, scratches; documentary photos; white stains under remains of colourful layers — due to these components, his works acquire timeless effect. Forming a transhuman society and new social subcultures, the meaning and value of the term “human” in the age of new digital meta-worlds are the main themes of Victor Sydorenko’s art practice.

Exhibition Year Zero. The Idea of Light consists exclusively of new works and sculptures by Ukrainian artist Victor Sydorenko. Based on optical experiments their main theme is sensational borderline between real and visible, between actual and desired. The artist takes his Character through terrains of psychological ventures, irrational processes, and metamorphoses, continuing his exhausting preparation for what never seems to happen — the inevitable encounter with his self. The exhibition Year Zero. The Idea of Light is about the obliterated humanity, the aptitude for communication, and about the ability to gaze at the world and others with sincere eyes.

Victor Sydorenko said, “One way or another, an artist is always in the process of painting one work. In my art practice, this work is related to my Character, which roams from one project to another with diverse meanings. The difference between his first appearance in 1996 and the contemporary variant is huge. Back then, my Character was dependent on historical circumstances, and now he remains on his own.”

Curator — Andrew Siguntsov
Co-curator — Eugenia Havrylenko
Head of the project — Natalia Shpytkovska

The exhibition will run from 15.12.2021 to 12.02.2022

Ticket price:
UAH 100 for adults;
UAH 70 for students and seniors.

You can buy them online or directly at the box office of the M17 Center.

Artists, cultural figures and ATO participants have free admission in case they can confirm their status.

All visitors must carry one of the following documents: COVID-19 vaccination status certificate (with two doses of vaccine documented), a negative PCR test, or an antigen test performed no later than 72 hours, a certificate of recovery after COVID-19 (obtained during the last 6 months).

All Colors of the Spectrum is White Light

Part three: Year Zero. The Idea of Light


The final part of Victor Sydorenko’s interdisciplinary project titled “All Colors of the Spectrum is White Light” consists exclusively of new artworks. Based on optical experiments, their main theme is sensational borderline between real and visible, between actual and desired. The exhibition sums up the 25-year developmental history of the artist’s central subject — the Character. At M17, a viewer spots the Character in the moment of living through “year zero”, which is both an uncertain point and point of a colossal transformative potential.

Such a notion as “year zero” exists neither in Gregorian and Julian calendars, nor in our usual perception of time. From the very first second, the beginning of something new marks the countdown of year one. Operating machined count time in a quite different way: year zero can not be dismissed until the countdown reaches the next integer — year one. This collision of time perceptions — our own and/or of counting machines — illustrates the crossroads to which the Character has come. Here and now, after terrains of psychological ventures, irrational processes, and metamorphoses, he came close to what never seems to happen — the inevitable encounter with his self. Yet what self is it? What will he find in this point of radical rethinking, formed by digital meta-worlds, at this moment of becoming a new type of person? Who could he have become after going through the artist’s multiple projects with diverse meanings and now being completely detached from time-space background?

Allegorically, the Character’s path is the gradual evolution of humanity from a society based on humanism to a transhuman one. Humanism saw humanness as the most important outcome of culture (according to Cicero). This phenomenon released humanity’s artistic aspect. Though human being, “a measure of all things”, is thus deprived of a possibility to go beyond his own boundaries. Moreover, anthropocentrism, according to which humans are the “main creature” and the ultimate goal of everything, leads to those disastrous processes we witness today. In particular, the global ecological crisis and degradation of the biosphere caused by anthropogenic factors. One of the global warming scenarios envisions the transformation of the Earth into an uninhabitable place in only five hundred years. And if we just recollect that ancient civilizations as well as their cultures date about 5,5 thousand years from now, the last sunset without humans is clearly imaginable.

Although, going back to the humanist idea that human nature can be changed and improved with the help of technological advancement, we can imagine a more positive future. And such fundamental shifts are happening today. The philosophy of posthumanism, developed in recent years, rethinks the position of humans as the center of the biosphere. This reconsideration process, which includes sexual, social, and spiritual self identification, is now in active phase. Thus, a transhuman future with the usage of technological achievements for elimination of suffering, aging, and death, is close.

The last part of Victor Sydorenko’s project — “Year Zero. The Idea of Light” is exactly about this. About possible models of transhuman society and rethinking of the concept “human”. About the prospects of “Übermensch ” in the transhuman era and his ability to enlighten in order not to lose humanness. The exposition proposes to view the artist’s introspection and to try this method of self-exploration on oneself. Victor Sydorenko doubts in all principles of the nature of things. This skepticism opens up new questions and ways of exploration(s). Contradicting and abolishing the objective obviousness of the world, the artist turns to general human existence, to its apparent inaccessibility and finity.