Master's Theses

Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Art

First Advisor

Harriet F. Senie

Second Advisor

John Maciuika

Keywords

Ukraine, Maidan, public space, Soviet monuments, propaganda, protest

Abstract

This thesis explores the spatial organization and public art of Kyiv’s Independence Square to address broader social and political realities after the Maidan protests of 2013-14. Using theories of power and ideology, this study demonstrates how the discourse on public art reflects the political situation of post-revolutionary Ukraine, and how public engagement with urban space signals a paradigmatic shift in the developing country’s process of self-identification. The purpose of this thesis is threefold: first, to identify the Soviet ideological approach embedded in the spatial organization of Kyiv’s administrative center (including the Maidan); second, to examine artistic interventions at the site of the former Lenin monument Kyiv to emphasize the discrepancy between state and popular approaches to public space; and third, to address the decommunization law in post-Maidan Ukraine as a reenactment of Soviet practices. Overall, this thesis argues that the formation of a new Ukrainian subjectivity based on democratic values which reached its peak during the recent revolution continues to manifest through the popular approach to public space as opposed to both the totalitarian one of the USSR and its mirror image in the post-Maidan government’s program.