Nikita Kadan (°1982, KYIV) lives in Kyiv. He graduated in 2007 from the National Academy of Fine Art (Kyiv) where he studied on the department of monumental painting under professor Mykola Storozhenko. Since 2004 Nikita Kadan is a member of R.E.P. (Revolutionary experimental space) artists group.
He is co-founder (2008) and a member of HUDRADA (Artistic committee) curatorial and activist group. Kadan works with installation, graphics, painting, mural drawings, posters in the city, often in (interdisciplinary) collaboration - with architects, human rights watch activists and sociologysts.
Kadan often uses the style typical for drawings taken from Soviet medical books. They represent “bodies-objects”, “obedient bodies” from Foucault which can be corrected and improved while their faces always remain calm and quiet, slightly smiling.
The issue of torture is very important for Kadan: starting from the “direct” torture used by the Ukrainian militia (police) to the “hidden torture” such as standing all day long and selling food in the street in winter – elderly women working like this constitute a typical element of the Kiev cityscape. Architecture is another important topic of Kadan’s works in which it is treated as a discipline tool, spatial manifestation of the authority.
The works "Fixing" (2010) and "The Corrupted" (2012) focus on the relations between the body and the city – when certain directions of the city development turn against its inhabitants, their social relations and everyday life, as well as against the body of the individual human being. Fixing is comprised of five lightboxes with images combining medical drawings from the medical encyclopaedia of the 1950s with “supremacist” forms of architectural planning. The city plan turns into an instrument for violent fixing of the citizen’s body. "The Corrupted" constitutes a cycle of watercolour drawings combining architectural elements with human body parts. These architectural-anatomical combinations refer to the Renaissance concept of the anthropomorphic city. The work focuses on the problems of the contemporary post-communist cities in which public space suffers due to aggressive neoliberalism. “The body of the city” is cut to pieces offered for sale.
"Procedure room" (2009-2010) is a set of souvenir plates with imprinted instruction drawings of tortures used by the militia. The selection of forms and visual means is connected with the absence of any clear visual documentation of torture procedures, with their specific “invisibility”.
"Pedestal. Practice of exclusion" installation (2009-2011) consists of o huge model of pedestal and a text on the wall. This white gypsum-cardboard pedestal stands in the exhibition hall touching the ceiling, leaving no place for the monument. The space for the viewer to pass around the pedestal is narrow. White text on pale grey wall is a chronicle of a "war of the monuments" in post-Soviet Ukraine: vandalizing both Soviet and new national-patriotic monuments.
"Small house of giants" (2012) is a combined object, kind of architectural collage, which's parts are living container for builders from 1970s and a model of facade of geometric form referring to Soviet neo-modernist architecture of the same period. "Small house of giants" is a reflection on the shifting social role of the worker within the new capitalist environment in Ukraine. On the other hand this object opens a critical discourse on the fictive heroical position that workers held in the Soviet past.