Petro Bevza outstanding Ukrainian artist have made "The revival of optimism" their rallying cry. This sounds rather nice and has faint echoes of Wassily Kandinsky, who, in about 1910, gathered round him through his work and theory, and a great deal of enthusiasm, the Munich avant-garde and quite soon thereafter the expressionist movement which, unlike many traditional German artists, was prepared to be open to foreign stimuli. This watchword is more than a superficial strategy amounting to "positive thinking". Meeting these two artists, which I did for the first time in their workshop in Kiev, is truly inspiring. Where do they get that tremendous energy, which I have noticed again and again as a sparkling fount of inspiration in artists, from? Both of them have developed a painting culture of high quality and originality. They could be satisfied with "smuggling" pictures into west European galleries and waiting until they get well-deserved recognition here, too. But they know the characteristics of the art business in Western Europe, with its countless art houses, museums and galleries and a body of artists and their works that have become quite impossible to know all about. The number of works on offer is vast, and fortunately so is the interest. This art business has its rules. Not everything good comes to market and to the buyers. And why now, dozens of other artists from Central and Eastern Europe? The world is growing together, and what does this mean for art? Can it be interesting that everyone is now doing the same thing? How does the message of a work change when it is shown in a completely different context? It is extremely interesting to see how different cultural circles react to one and the same work and may find something completely different in it. The artist working alone and sending out his message as calming influence in our vision of the world is one thing. This approach has certainly not completely lost its validity. But there are times of upheaval and transition that require other approaches. When society and its environment change in a very short time and very soon nothing the same is as it just was, the artist becomes a keeper of the evidence and someone who himself brings about changes in his environment. Actionism, the art of situational installation, banks on being unique . The changing view comes into play and turns meanings upside down. Interventions are more ephemeral, but this is documented in photographs and on video. "Our aim is to create objects and meanings of great presence and thereby to make individual self-identification possible", say Petro Bevza and Oleksiy Lytvynenko. The site in Biel next to the clearly defined geometric building was quickly found. At the foot of the Jura mountains against which the city nestles, a cube "hanging" over the entrance that had been kept transparent, called for an almost graphically light construction against the background of the mountain slope with its mantle of greenery. A little further on there is a bear with a glass stone surface by Niki de StPhalle upon which schoolchildren clamber. The concept was quickly formed, as horses once grazed on this land bordering the city wall. This gave the entire area its name, and that is why the Biel art gallery is today called Centre PasquArt. And now there is a space here for art that depicts a horse on the pasture. Petro Bevza and Oleksiy Lytvynenko designed the grazing horse, a starkly abstract four-footed sculpture standing more than four metres high and made of wooden squares that were screwed together and then painted white. The effect of these three-dimensional lines against the green background is stunning. The environment has looked kindly upon this work of art and so have visitors. I call it a Trojan horse, although it rather radiates the impetuousness of the Blauer Reiter, quite balanced and sturdy, slim and elegant. Although I gladly recommend the pictures which these two artists have brought with them, and also the ones painted in Biel, it is quite naturally the horse that has conquered this place and begun to graze in Western pastures. No warriors have emerged from it. It is built too slimly. But it stands here as if it had always been there. Who is the artist who was been given the honour of this exclusive place next to the famous new building by Diener & Diener, some may ask, expecting to hear the pleasant-sounding name of some German or English artist. It is not being said that the Trojan horse would like to stay for eternity. Perhaps it would like to conquer new places. Perhaps, though it will remain the horse of the pastureland (Pasquart) because, quite simply, it is only here that it makes sense as a functional and situational work. For the exhibition technician it was clear that it is too convincing to be only provisional. On his own initiative, he extended the external lighting cable so that the horse can be lit at night and even more effectively presented. But this is not enough for our two artists. In the inner space of the entrance hall they used twigs, painted white, to create insect-like creatures, one for the wall, one for the backyard-glasswall and two more hanging from the ceiling. Here too they conquered space, but it is full of detailed pictorial information, referring back to their origins -earlier actions and installations in their own country, their own city, enriched by supporting photographs and video pictures. The mirrors they use provide us with a complex game of retrospection. We see the past here in the present, re-emerging and transforming itself. This metamorphosis creates a link between Kiev and Biel and each becomes simultaneous with the other. Petro Bevza and Oleksiy Lytvynenko have changed our environment, and what we see here has changed their consciousness, which will in turn flow into new works. Art stimulate new ways of looking at things. Artists, themselves changed by their activity and reactions to what they create, continue to evolve. Repetitions are not possible. Pure repetition would contradict the inner necessity to set oneself new challenges, and in changing oneself to transform the environment. Can we expect more from art than that it should stimulate this process of transformations and, at the same time, encourage us to look back? Up to now very few Ukrainian art has be on show in the West, either at the Venice Biennale or at the major international art fairs. Suddenly it is here - art from that great country, which was long seen as a part on the western edge of a great empire. Through exchange, edges dissolve and views gain new horizons. The Trojan horse looks curiously to the West, and we look to where it came from.

Andreas Meier