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Lviv-London Double Impact with Asya Gefter and Mark Tokar

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Join us for a special evening of imagery, history, words and music with London resident Asya Gefter, who has just launched the ‘Fragments of Memory’ project in Lviv, and Lviv resident Mark Tokar, double bass player and a key figure in the Ukrainian free jazz scene, on his first ever visit to London.

Over the past two years, Asya Gefter had been on a journey to discover Debora Vogel, an overlooked intellectual, writer, art critic, the Gertrude Stein of inter-war Lviv. She walked the places Vogel inhabited, exhibited and wrote about. She met people who survived the war and went on living, or were born long after and reconnected with the vanished world. She encountered the story of the former Lviv Jewish museum, a derelict building presently at risk. The work that resulted from this voyage is concerned with the presence and absence of people, with a discontinuous perception of poetic and physical spaces, with personal stories pointing to Lemberg/Lwow/Lviv for present and future generations.

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Vogel's experimental poetry, all written in the 1920s-30s, was, in the spirit of early 20th century European literature, radically avant-garde and attuned to all the modernist minimalisms. Being skilled in Hebrew, Yiddish and Polish, she published essays covering Lviv's intellectual life and urban landscape, the role of women in society and art. Yet, her name has always been connected with the Polish prose stylist Bruno Schulz. Vogel's own work received little attention during her life and after her death in Lviv ghetto in 1942.


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Fragments of Memory is a multimedia project by Asya Gefter and Olesya Zdorovetska in response to Debora Vogel and her hometown of Lviv, a microcosm of Europe’s turbulent 20th century.

Project research and Lviv exhibition were supported by A-n Travel bursary (UK), Asylum Arts ‘Small Grant’ (US), Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign ‘Fragments of Memory’, Lviv Book Forum and Lviv Museum of Ideas. The plan is to tour the exhibition and develop a website with exhibition and project material in English, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, and Yiddish. In the meantime the Lviv Exhibition information is available here: with links to articles, videos, photos, feedbacks and project updates to be added later this Autumn. More project information here on Kickstarter.

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Lviv is not only about the past but also about the present. Mark will play and talk about contemporary music scene in Ukraine, his collaborations in Ukraine and internationally, including the multi-genre projects (visualisations, literature, performance) with Yuri Andrukhovych, one of the leading Ukrainian authors writing today. Among these projects: Endless Journey or Aeneid (multimedia collage based on Yuri Andrukhovych-Ivan Kotliarevskiy with the elements of lecture, concert and banquet). Albert, or the Highest Form of Execution (Albert was created on the base of eponymous story written by Yuri Andrukhovych. In the center of action there is the story of ingenious cheater Albert Vyrozemskiy who agrees to sell his soul to the devil to avoid death penalty. However, the agreement signed with blood did not work. One autumn day in 1641, he was publicly burned in the middle of the Rynok Square in Lviv)


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Asya Gefter was born in Moscow in 1980 and has lived in London since 2003. As both researcher and practitioner using photography, video and archival film footage, oral history and literary sources, Asya's work revolves around themes close to her – duality of immediate experiences and memory, geographical and historical fragmentation, the changing nature of the urban and social environment, family stories and a sense of rooting. Having moved away to make a new home in a different country prompted Asya to further reflect on what is the story of our time: What is Chats Palace?IkakumoPlaying In or Out?War on the Home Front. London-based organisations Asya worked with include Alexandra Palace, Bishopsgate Institute, British Museum, Chats Palace, Discover Children’s Story Centre, Housmans, Franklin Scholars, Ingeenium, JW3, PhotoVoice, RichMix, Rowan Arts, SOAS, UK Jewish Film, V&A Museum of Childhood. She regularly collaborates with local institutions, residents and other artists, receives grants and commissions for individual and group work. 

Asya also experiments with darkroom-based traditional printing and alternative processes such as lith and cyanotypes. Her photography work has won awards, was published in zines and calendars, and exhibited in group and solo shows in Bosnia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Ukraine and the UK.

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Mark Tokar is the first Ukrainian musician who played at the prestigious Chicago Jazz Festival and a key figure in the Ukrainian free jazz scene. He teaches at the Lviv School of Jazz and Contemporary Music. Supported by the Polish Ministry of Culture, Mark studied under Professor Jacek Niedzela at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in 2006, took part in the Krakow Jazz Workshop under M.Parkinson in 2002-2004. During 2005-2006 he worked as an Art Director of the Ukrainian-Polish Jazz Bez festival. In particular, he organised a series of Metro Jazz Philharmonic musical performances in Lviv.  Mark has performed with Ken Vandermark, Bobby Few, Perry Robinson, Steve Swell, Michael Zerang, Tim Daisy, Dave Rempis, Roberta Piket, Fred Frith (USA), Klaus Kugel, Arkadij Shylkloper (Germany), Petras Vishniauskas (Lithuania), Mirchea Tiberian (Romania), Mazzol, Mikolaj Trzaska, Waclaw Zimpel, Piotr Baron, Kazimierz Jonkisz (Poland), Jurij Jaremczuk (Ukraine), Magnus Broo, Per-Ake Holmlander (Sweden), and Mark Sanders (England).Mark plays in Ken Vandermark’s international project “Resonance”, groups Undivided, Five Spot, Four, Varpaj, and Yatoku. He is the leader of the international projects Leo’m’art, Mark Tokar’s Quintet and Avtokar. Last but not least, Mark collaborates with Yuri Andrukhovych, one of the leading Ukrainian authors writing today.