Ukraine: images to go beyond the war

Most participated in the latest editions of the Photo Kyiv Fair, whose non-commercial section was commissioned by Carole Glauser Pidoux, who is behind the virtual exhibition offered by the Lausanne Museums on Platform 10 – Photo Elysée, Museum Canton of Fine Arts and Mudac. After living in Kiev for three years, Vaudoise is all the more outraged by Russian aggression against Ukraine.

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“After a few days of misunderstandings and shock, I told myself I had to do something within my area of ​​expertise,” she said. My intention was not to show images of the conflict, but before the artistic tendencies and concerns of the war. The idea of ​​a quickly realizable online exhibition of young Ukrainian photographers representing the modern art scene thus appeared to me as an opportunity to promote and support a generation of talented artists whose artistic creation and lives are in danger. “

pain and nature

Within days of the invasion, photographer, videographer and painter Maria Kazvan fled her hometown of Lviv. On the roads of exile to Poland, where she wants to take refuge in a friend’s grandmother’s house, she refuses to take pictures of the chaos due to “ethical” issues. Like many female photographers, she makes the body the privileged territory of a quest for identity and feminism. To question social dictates and all forms of oppression.

From an early age, the artist suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. All his work, gripping and of remarkable strength, bears scars of the unforgettable. let us take The womb of the earth, discovers a naked woman curled up in a fetal position in the red slit of a mining landscape. “I would never have imagined that this image resonated with the current situation of extreme distress for women, confronted in Ukraine with assaults and rapes committed by Russian soldiers,” she confides.

Strongly influenced by the work of ecofeminist artist Ana Mendieta, Maria Kazvan expresses herself in an allegorical way that combines body art and organic, natural and spiritual symbolism. This is to express the domestic violence of which she was a victim, her suffering and her desire for liberation. His achievements put an honor in the elements of life – earth, air, fire, water – supplemented by blood. Birth and death, presence and absence are inextricably linked here. To continue her work today, she offers her paintings that seem to be inspired especially by the nocturner of the surrealist painter Max Ernst. Half of their selling price is donated to the “internal resistance”.

Forgot campaigns

Viktoria Sorochinski was born in Mariupol and has lived in Berlin for eight years left in the footsteps of his ancestors. His work is haunted by “childhood” housed in it, as well as of memory and intimate family history. With a pictorial aesthetic served by string framing and a sharp sense of composition, Countries without return alternates with portraits of old people, dilapidated interiors and still lifes that retain rare earthly foods – bread, milk, grapes for one. These images are not part of a staging, the artist specifies. Unlike another series, Distant and familiar, collects “clean and minimalist” compositions.

“My rediscovery of these places in 2005 was a shock. Disappear the young people, the happy places and the work seen in my childhood. There were only people at the end of their lives, the ultimate witnesses of a once magical and dynamic culture. Even before the current conflict, poverty was absolute and the area forgotten by the government. These images have a memorable, memorable quality in the light of a life that is about to disappear. In these villages, located about thirty kilometers around the capital, the inhabitants have “no medical care or food supply”, the photographer argues. His grandparents lived in these deserted places. Her home port city of Mariupol had become an important cultural center, she points out. Before they were besieged and bombed by Russian troops, and became a martyr city.

Homelessness and surrealism

The well-known photographer in Ukraine, who today covers the disaster, Alexander Chekmenev has produced an impressive series about the anonymous homeless in the capital, elevating them to the rank of iconic figures. To Deletedits chiaroscuro dramaturgy rhymes with 17th-century Dutch paintingand century (Vermeer, Rembrandt, Hals) and historical portraits. The situation of the homeless has worsened since the beginning of the conflict in Donbass. “More than one and a half million refugees have fled the war zone. Some of them have lost everything “, the photographer states on his page. At the behest of the Ukrainian government, this work extends from 2018 to 2020 under the successive presidencies of Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky, criticized for their “very inefficient” state social assistance program, Chekmenev stresses.

The slide show of the virtual exhibition opens with the approach that flirts with Gera Artemova’s amazing. His series Botanical Garden, produced in Kiev in May 2014, in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, brings together renewal, resilient virtue and diffuse threat. The founder of the Instagram group Women Photograph Ukraine, Anna Melnykova asks questions according to the surrealist compositions of Lost in nature, the feminine hybrid and its archetypes, which oscillate between the vegetable, the sculptural and the fashion photography. “She evokes the problems of the glass ceiling and inequalities that affect women, doing so with poetry and irony,” emphasizes Carole Glauser Pidoux.

Portrait: Kateryna Bondar, the echo of a war from afar

At a time when the Ukrainian forces are broadcasting the portraits of their heroes on a loop, Viktor Fomenko applies an archaeological approach to The roll of honor. It brings to light the curly and ghostly images of Ukrainian infantrymen inscribed on the scroll of honor for a military cantonment left without a fight to the Russian army in Sevastopol, Crimea, during the annexation. In the future, the curator wants to encourage the reception in Europe of Ukrainian artists and photographers. This in the field of programming, housing or other formulas imaginable with museums, art centers, festivals and other places dedicated to both photography and multidisciplinarity.

Platform 10 support for Ukraine: an online exhibition visible from the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne or on the website

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