Kaunas Artists House, cooperating with the association “In Corpore” (“išgirsti”), continues exploration of the queer culture of the 90s with the project “Obscene West. Naglis”. On June 29, they invite you to an obcsene evening: at 6 p.m. the opening of the exhibition “Ukrainian queer TV: Open Archive” by the Ukrainian artist Anton Shebetko, and at 7 p.m. we will slowly move towards the city center together with the team of “išgirsti”, who will tell the stories of the important places in Kaunas for the queer community during the troubled 90s.
“KAUNAS IS KAUNAS? News reached the editors that a cafe opened its doors to gays in Kaunas. We went to check. Unfortunately, the owner of the cafe almost begged on his knees not to publicize this fact. Well, let’s not shout: the underground is the underground and a conspiracy is necessary for the place.” – the newspaper for gays and their friends “Naglis” writes in 1994.
What was queer Kaunas like in the 90s? Where did non-heterosexual residents of Kaunas live, work and go out? How did they meet and how did they feel in the public? During the tour, we will look at Kaunas during the time of decriminalisation of homosexuality.
The exhibition “Ukrainian queer TV: Open Archive” features a three-channel investigative video project that examines various forms and methods of portraying homosexuality and otherness in the Ukrainian media. The exhibition also features an artist’s made Timeline of Ukraine’s queer history, which includes key dates of Ukraine’s LGBTQ+ movement.
Anton Shebetko is a Ukrainian artist and photographer from Kyiv. Currently lives in Amsterdam. The artist mainly works with the themes of LGBTQ+, memory, loss of identity, multiplicity of history. His extensive research focuses on the forgotten queer history of Ukraine. His projects range from installations and interventions to explore old cruise sites and underground gay resorts in Crimea, to more topical subjects such as Ukrainian LGBTQ+ soldiers, their portraits. The artist’s works have been exhibited at FOAM Museum and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Frei_raum Q21 exhibition space in Vienna, Austria, Photo Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland, CENTQUATRE-PARIS in Paris, France, and Mystetskyi Arsenal in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The project “Obscene West. Naglis” aims to create a space for the analysis of the change in the discourse of sexuality in the culture of the 90s. The second part of the project aims to explore the then-forming queer culture and its social environment relations in the country and region. The programme consists of 8 events (performative readings, performative excursion, exhibition, video art program, performance evening-party) with curators, researchers and artists from the Baltic countries and the Eastern European region. The project is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.