The Cockerel with Black Wings: A Recovered Heirloom

Vienna Contemporary

08.09.2022 > 11.09.2022

curated by Kateryna Filyuk
opening: Wednesday, 7 September, 2022, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
das weisse haus, Vienna

The exhibition The Cockerel with Black Wings: A Recovered Heirloom addresses the issue of the lost or potential heirlooms and the various social relations that are rooted in them. It takes the form of a speculative and moving memoir that carries the visitor eastwards, even as it tries to avoid at all costs any melancholic sentiments that might be attached to such a journey. It is not intended as an elegiac sad story of recurring loss. Just as the mass-produced Soviet decorative figurine of a cockerel, discovered perched on top of a kitchen cupboard in a ruined residential house in Borodyanka, is not a symbol of the wreckage. On the contrary, it immediately became a viral symbol of Ukrainian resilience and perseverance, affirming the people’s optimism and moral courage. The cockerel with black wings, although it has no high artistic value, may very well become a new heirloom — a mundane object that holds immense symbolic power for the future generations of Ukrainians.

The title of the show is prompted by the famous book The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance, by ceramics artist Edmund de Waal. Its storyline hinges on the rediscovery of family history through an inherited netsuke collection, taking the author across different geographies, including both Odesa and Vienna. The thirteen Ukrainian and international artists whose works are featured in the show, similarly embark on physical or mental journeys, in search of heirlooms, old and new, that might give us something to which we can hold.

With Kinder Album (UA), Anca Benera and Arnold Estefan (RO), Vasyl Dmytryk (UA), Lia Dostlieva and Andrii Dostliev (UA, PL), Guy Koenigstein (NL), Dmytro Krasnyi (UA), Olexa Mann (UA), Nazar Martynyuk (UA), Metahaven (NL), Yurii Pikul (UA), Clemens Poole (USA/UA), Elena Subach (UA) and Cosimo Veneziano (IT).

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