Mykola Ridnyi

Temerari (2021)

Russia’s attack on its neighbor is driven by a nationalist ideology remarkably similar to that of Adolf Hitler, and even the war’s ruthless details are reminiscent of the crimes committed by the Nazi regime. Yet, Russian propaganda justifies the invasion as one aimed against “fascists” who have supposedly not only taken over Ukrainian politics but also sit at the helm of NATO. Mykola Ridnyi’s film Temerari (2021) tackles this incredibly controversial subject. In the form of a post-Internet travelogue, Ridnyi revisits the militarist, accelerationist aesthetic of Italian Futurism through its filmic documents. He looks at its daredevil misogyny and its embrace of purifying violence, and how this aesthetic recurs in the present—where Futurist ideas inspire not only museumgoers but Ukrainian nationalists and Italian neofascists alike. Contrary to the myths spread by Kremlin propaganda, these new fans of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Ezra Pound have no special preference for Ukraine; they tend, rather, to fight on the side of the Russians (whose regular and irregular troops themselves include a vast number of ultranationalists and neo-Nazis). Ridnyi’s film deftly navigates the ideological complexities of this topic—showing how cultural history normalizes and reproduces the toxic ideologies of the past, and how artists might work to fully deconstruct them.

A research installation offers further details uncovered during the making of the film and introduces its cast of characters, locations, and phenomena. It is accompanied by a slideshow with additional futurist and anti-fascist artifacts.

Mykola Ridnyi (1985, Kharkiv, Ukraine) is an artist, sculptor, filmmaker, and curator. His performances, installations, sculptures, and short films reflect the social and political realities of contemporary Ukraine. He cofounded the group SOSka in 2005, an art collective that has curated and organized numerous projects in Kharkiv. Since 2017, he has coedited the online magazine Prostory. His work has been shown in exhibitions and film festivals, including transmediale, Berlin (2019); the 35th Kassel Dokfest (2018); The Image of War at Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2017); All the World’s Futures at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); The School of Kyiv—1st Kyiv Biennale (2015); and other venues.

HD video, color, sound, 21 min.

Research material: 3 min., glossary, color print, HD video, color and b/w, silent

Production: Akademie der Künste, Berlin; Villa Massimo, Rome