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NEWS

Inclusive project Blindman

Blindman — a comic book about a visually impaired person.

The authors of the project Volodymyr Gavrysh and Andriy Benytsky created a visual and tactile environment where relief forms and Braille typeface narrate a personal, intimate story immersing readers in the unusual for a regular experience sign system.

The project exists in three formats:
1. A comic book for the private experience;
2. Posters for integration into educational and inclusive museum projects around Ukraine;
3. Plaster relief sculptures with audio-descriptions for display in exhibition spaces.

Project curator: Boris Filonenko
Project organizer: Charitable foundation Mystetskyi Arsenal
The project is implemented with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation

In 2018 a graphic artist Volodymyr Gavrysh and a screenwriter Andriy Benytsky created a short comic book about a visually impaired person who touches the wall and feels the fluctuations of the sound waves that flow from the inside of the wall spreading on its surface. According to the story, through tactile contact, the character first perceives harmonious sounds followed by disharmonious ones (when the neighbors move their furniture) and in the end, he experiences a complicated acoustic environment where any type of sound finds its place.

Initially, the comic book was created as a competition project for an international comic festival Fumetto 2018 (Lucerne, Switzerland), following the current year theme “Enough”, where the work was shortlisted to the list of 9 different projects.

After the exhibition, the comic book expanded from the initial four pages and continues to develop as an inclusive book as well as an exhibition project under the name “Blindman”.

Having chosen the name, Gavrysh and Benytsky acknowledged their adherence to the world of an independent comic book, which since the 1950s through different means questioned the dominance of American superhero tradition. Comics writers were fighting for the importance and self-sufficiency of the comic book, therefore critics of superheroism were fundamental.
The comic book had to show that it could move away from propaganda and fictitious stories to become focused on real people’s lives. Rather than to state about a heroic achievement “Blindman” tells a story about an encounter with the world and oneself, which is the most important story in the optics of underground comics.

At the same time, a number of artistic tasks have been solved in “Blindman”. The authors worked with the scores of avant-garde music of the XX century, abstract and slow comics, where “something happens, when nothing happens”, and based on this research they created a poetic piece. As the professor of medieval literature William Kuskin said: “Each page of a comic book is a poem.”

In the printed version a three-dimensional embossed image is accompanied by poetic lines printed in Braille.

In the exhibition project, the comic book is embodied in four plaster reliefs and embroidery on a long piece of fabric that imitates a thin layer of sound vibrations on the wall. The authors bring the material closer to the story as in the space of the exposition, rather than turning the pages of the book, the viewer touches the phrases on the surface.

Gavrysh and Benytsky draw attention to the person with visual impairment by creating an environment for light and insightful touches that are almost inaccessible to a person who is accustomed to seeing the world through visual images and text.

The exhibition in the Naked room gallery (30.08-3.09.2019) creates a new context for the project. Before the exhibition in Kyiv, white reliefs of the comic book used to drop out of sight on the background of the white gallery walls just like the texture of images and text on paper. While the Naked room is not a neutral space, its colored walls have their own tone. This way the white surface of the reliefs and the walls of the gallery will enter into yet unaware relationships, but like the sounds in the “Blindman” story, gaining more melody or existing in dissonance.

The exhibition opens on August 30 at 7:00 pm at the Naked Room Gallery (Kyiv, 21 Reitarskaya Str.)

Two events related to the exhibition will take place:
1. August 30 at 17.00 - a discussion with the invited Ukrainian artists on the topic of inclusion in the context of the visual arts, their vision, and suggestions on future artistic developments in this sphere.
2. September 3 at 5 pm - a discussion with invited representatives of museum institutions. A talk about integrating the Blindman comic book into educational and inclusive museum programs.

Blindman (Volodymyr Gavrysh, Andriy Benytsky)
Language: Ukrainian
2019