"Office Ukraine" in the windows of ERSTE Foundation





Finissage of the exhibition SHAPESHIFTERS will take place on Tuestday, 5 September 2023 from 5-7 pm
at ERSTE Foundation, Am Belvedere 1, 1100, Vienna

Throughout human history, the concept of shapeshifting has been a recurring theme in storytelling across various mediums such as mythology, folklore, and speculative fiction. The ability to alter one’s physical form has captivated the imaginations of people from different cultures and time periods, making it a powerful symbol of transformation.

However, shapeshifting embodies more than just a literal meaning. It serves as a metaphor for the adaptability of individuals to different situations. People can change their emotional states, modifying their behaviour in order to suit the circumstances they find themselves in.

Leo Trocenko (Dnipro, Ukraine *1994) Equestrian Monument to Don Quixote, the Transformation of the Executioner into a Trickster, 1954-2022 – from the series Alphabetic Wars, embroidery on fabric, 2022
Leo Trocenko, Equestrian Monument to Don Quixote, the Transformation of the Executioner into a Trickster, 1954-2022 – from the series Alphabetic Wars, embroidery on fabric, 2022

For many Ukrainian artists, shapeshifting has gained additional significance due to the constantly changing conditions and hyperreality they face on a daily basis. In view of the complexities of their own experiences and the world around them, adaptability and transformation go beyond mere metaphor. In this sense shapeshifting becomes a way for artists to navigate through intensified life rhythms, altering themselves and their art practices in the process.

Participating Artists
Vitalii Ahapieiev aka Volt Agapeyev, Kateryna Aliinyk, Edward Balula, Oleg Dimov, Ed Kolodyi, Sviatoslav Koverzniev, Polina Makarova, Yelyzaveta Smirnova, Leo Trocenko

Exhibition Opening
Date: 27 June 2023
Time: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Venue: ERSTE Foundation, Am Belvedere 1, 1100 Vienna

About “Office Ukraine. Shelter for Ukrainian Artists”

ERSTE Foundation’s long-term partner was instrumental in the realisation of the initiative “Office Ukraine. Shelter for Ukrainian Artists” in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport, < rotor > in Graz and Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen in Innsbruck.

The initiative was founded in early 2022 only a few days after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Office Ukraine” is trans-disciplinary and has been set up for Ukrainian artists and those working in the cultural sector fleeing war and seeking shelter in Austria. It serves as a liaison for them to the Austrian art scene, connecting them to residencies, galleries, museums, off-spaces, design studios, film organisations, literature and music venues, funds and more.

The exhibition at the window gallery of ERSTE Foundation at Erste Campus runs until 7 September 2023 and is on display 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Cover picture: Polina Makarova, image of a part of the work Pink Trees, mixed media, 2023

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Florian Bauer

Director Social Finance, Sustainability and Innovation
Since 2023, Florian Bauer has been responsible for social finance, sustainability and social innovation at ERSTE Foundation. Prior to this role, Florian worked in the NGO & Social Entrepreneurship sector for more than 13 years. He led the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), an international multilateral NGO that works to accelerate market-based deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient systems in developing countries, and was Managing Director & COO of the Impact Hub Vienna. From 2020-2023, Florian established strategic alliances with key partners and helped to create innovative semantic technology solutions at Semantic Web Company (SWC), a leading IT company in semantic AI solutions.