23 February 2017
In February 2017, as part of the Social Contract project, IZOLYATSIA launched an international open call for projects of a temporary art intervention at the former site of the Lenin monument in Kyiv. As a result, 37 applications were received from 18 countries in one month. The international jury then shortlisted four finalists that were submitted to a popular vote between April 3 and 9, 2017. Ritual of Self-Nature by Isa Carrillo got 38.5% of the votes, Ukrainian artist Mykyta Shalennyi’s Heroes Do Not Exist ranked second (31.1%), I Need a Hero by Milena Vučković (Serbia) – third (16%), and De Pedestal by art duo Afterall from Italy got 14.3% of the votes.
The idea of the Ritual of Self-Nature is using the healing powers of nature. Isa Carrillo proposes to neutralise the ideological tension around the vacant pedestal by ‘taking over’ the monument by living plants. On the one hand, mint and rosemary will mask the stone column, while on the other hand, they will work at purifying the site that is associated not only with the Soviet leader, but also with a gallows that was placed here during the Nazi occupation.
In the numerous discussions around the potential new monument, both its advocates and opponents mention negative energy surrounding the site. Responding to this argument, the artist proposes to cover the empty pedestal with healing plants: mint known for its calming and analgesic effect and rosemary whose aroma lifts the mood and helps recovering after illness. The artist invites the citizens to use the green column as a meditation tool to seek for internal harmony. At the end of the project, the plants will be given away to passers-by who wish to adopt them.