Vladyslav Riaboshtan

Visual artist

ResidencyNazar Voitovich Art Residence (NVAIR)

Hosting periodAutumn 2023


The artist was born in 1996 in Ukraine, in the city named Dnipro, lives in Kyiv, working in visual art with: oil, acrylic, enamel, silkscreen printing, aerosol, mixed media, paper, graphite, photography. In my childhood, I was surrounded by factories, railway, unfinished subway and many other industrial objects. Even after I grew up and moved to a different city, I wanted to find locations to which I got used, their atmosphere. Before the war started, my actual project was a large series of Kyiv subways. At the moment this series is transformed into the theme of a subway as a shelter place, a safe zone from rockets and explosions. The war has changed the perception of many things for Ukrainians. I’d like to show how this experience changed what and why I depict.

Story of experience of risk, relocation and/or exile

When the war started I evacuated to a different city, and after a few months I had very high pressure and loss of consciousness and convulsions. After the first MRI doctor told me that I have epilepsy, I didn’t drink any medicine but looked carefully at my pressure and tried to rest more, I didn’t work with paints. In winter this situation happened again in a gallery in Kyiv, I did one more MRI but in a better clinic. Doctor told me that I don’t have epilepsy, the problem is in my rest, pressure and sleep time. Something new was that I started to lose my memory, for about the last 1-2 weeks, I forgot what and who I spoke to, my plans or where I am. All this time this smell and memory illusions happened once or twice a month as earlier. Two days ago I had this situation once again, I lost my memory for 1 week, I forgot almost everything for this time and even something more. I don’t know what to do. The doctor told me to take antidepressants but I’m really afraid about my memory and my illusions of smells are still there. I concentrate very strongly on almost every smell, sometimes it tells me about some memories. I’m not sure if it is connected with the stress of war and covid before it, or with my school problems, but these headaches, loss of memory, smell illusions and nostalgia scares me a lot. Sometimes I think that I see a connection with night blows, strong stress or when my parents quarrel and get angry with each other (by the way, they shouted very much when I was a child too, I remember it). Now I’m still confused in my memories, I forgot when exactly it all started, I’m not sure why. I’m glad the doctor told me that I don’t have epilepsy, but I’m still afraid of the unknown. They say it’s good for an artist to be mad, but it inspires you only when you read an article about Vincent van Gogh.

Projects created during the residency period

In my recent art I work with themes of war, searching for a shelter, things that changed perception of people after the war started. I’d like to show how this experience changed my themes in art. Before the war started I was painting the subway as a mysterious place, transport for people in big cities and urban underworld locations. For example tunnels, which lead you somewhere, with lots of crossroads and technical areas, thinking for what reason they are made. I met the war start in Kyiv, on a cold floor of a subway station, with no understanding how it all could happen in a modern world. My subway series is about sheltering now, a place that may really save the lives of many. People bring with themselves their emergency bags with food and documents, blankets to be able to spend days and nights on the floor. Last two months we heard information about an explosion on a nuclear station in Zaporizhya. It’s controlled by enemy forces, but might be damaged from the inside. Analysts say, in the case of an explosion, the first days would be the most dangerous and the subway is the best place to avoid radiation.

Residency: Nazar Voitovich Art Residence

Everyone was very nice, especially the owner of the residence and the curator Luda Nychai. All issues were resolved quickly. The stay was as comfortable as possible, and most importantly, incredibly productive for my creative pursuits.

This programme is organised by Perpetuum Mobile (PM) as part of the Artists at Risk (AR)-Network in partnership with UNESCO and with the support of Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Teiger Foundation.