Mykhaylo Palinchak. HighlightLaboratories

Mykhaylo Palinchak. Highlight

On Junuary 18, the Laboratory of Contemporary Art Mala Gallery of the Mystetskyi Arsenal will present the exhibition of the photographer Mykhaylo Palinchak Highlight.

Bringing to light is a common phrase journalists use to refer to their work, especially after February 24, 2022. They are looking for ways to “cover the war” in the right way. Highlight stands for explaining something in detail and focusing on what is happening here and now in Ukraine. It means making it visible. It's a joint effort, and the purpose hasn't changed since the full-scale invasion, but the tension has. The tension that follows the light being aimed at people and items, streets and houses, fear and hope. The intensity of the coverage emphasises this tension. To bring something to light also means to testify. And thus, to register the lack of light and the vanishingness of events.

Mykhaylo Palinchak takes pictures with a flash and, through that, indicates the photographer's presence. In the places where the most evil things have already happened: in houses destroyed by aerial bombs, torture chambers, execution sites, and mass burial locations. In Kherson, Izium, Bucha, Yahidne, and the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. And where life, transformed by the knowledge of the worst, seems ordinary: volunteer hubs, IDP flats, and summer landscapes. The flash reveals the photography process: hands holding weapons, cooking food, and painting trophy armed vehicles are outlined and exposed for public viewing. Here and now, in a moment that drags on and turns into the state of being doomed. Photographs do not absorb reality or anaesthetise it. For no matter how artificial the illumination source is, along with the light, the viewer appears. Here, one is offered to overcome the politely alienated gaze and look intently. To enter the darkest corners of reality and comprehend that all this is taking place in fact: the most terrible war crimes, inevitable losses, and insurmountable pain. Accept that the intensity of the light isolates the hands put behind one’s back, the buckle on the belt, the coffee cups with a flower pattern in a bombed-out flat, and the patriotic tattoo of a displaced woman. It dominates over them. Turns private into public. Something just ours — into universal. Imaginary — into real. Makes the invisible a highlight.

Written by Olena Huseinova

Mykhaylo Palinchak (1985, Uzhhorod) is a Ukrainian street and documentary photographer currently residing and working in Kyiv, Ukraine. Master degree in International Economics of the Institute of International Relations of Kyiv National University. He has pursued photography since 2008. Since 2012 member of the Ukrainian Photographic Alternative (UPHA) and since 2014 of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers (UAPF). In 2014-2019, he was the official photographer of the President of Ukraine. Founder of “Untitled” online magazine and co-founder of Ukrainian Street Photography group. Member of PEN Ukraine since 2022. Author of the photo book “Anamnesis” (2020) and art-book “Maidan Faces” (2020). His works have been widely exhibited worldwide and are stored in private collections and permanent collections of photography museums.

Coordinators of the exhibition: Natasha Chychasova, Anastasiia Garazd, Andrii Myroshnychenko.
The exhibition contains highly sensitive photos.

The exhibition will be open from January 18 to February 25, 2024
Open hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 12:00—19:00. Monday and Tuesday — closed
On January 18, the exhibition will be open from 17:00
Free entrance

Funding is provided by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs with Meridian International Center as the implementing partner.