Dorothea Schlegel Artist in Residence
Research Area 1: “Competing Communities”
August – September 2022
“I was in Ukraine, in Kyiv, when Putin’s ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine began on the morning of February 24, 2022.
With the shelling of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and the cities of the Donbas, a full-scale war with Russia, a new wave of aggression that started in 2014, had clearly, irreversibly begun. I thought, this has been allowed to happen, it is a crime against everything human, against a great common space where we live and hope for a future.”
In The War Diary, Yevgenia Belorusets documents the long beginning of the devastation and its effects on daily life in both her immediate environment and on the residents of Ukraine, recording how it unfolds on the streets, on internet news sites, and on Telegram channels.
“Every day during the siege of Kyiv I was walking in my neighbourhood, meeting people on the streets, visiting bomb shelters, shops for food, volunteer headquarters. I aimed to create a short series of photos every day and write one text a day. There are also two videos that have become part of this diary.”
As a series of texts and photographs it was part of the exhibition “This is Ukraine: Defending Freedom” at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, a joint project between the PinchukArtCentre, the office of the President of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture.
At the Cluster of Excellence “Temporal Communities”, Yevgenia Belorusets will work on the publication of her diaries at Matthes & Seitz Berlin, which is scheduled for autumn 2022.
Yevgenia Belorusets is a Ukrainian artist, writer, and photographer born in Kyiv in 1980. Her work calls attention to the most vulnerable sections of Ukrainian society. Yevgenia is a co-founder of the journal Prostory, a member of the interdisciplinary curatorial collective Hudrada, an author of the photo series Victories of the Defeated and the books Lucky Breaks (recipient of the International Literature Award – Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2020) and A Cycle of Lectures on the Modern Lives of Animals.
Her work is located at the intersection of visual art, literature, journalism and activism, and makes a solid connection between documentary and artistic language.
The new English translation of her fictional short story collection Lucky Breaks was published in Ukrainian and Russian (2018), German (2019) and English (2022) and is based on interviews conducted during her wartime travels to eastern Ukraine for a photography project.
The photography and literary project “Victories of the Defeated” is a cycle of more than 150 photographs and texts created by Yevgenia Belorusets during the 2014–2021 war in Donbas. It is devoted to post-industrial Ukraine, to work in coal mines on the edge of the war zone and to contemporary forms of labour amidst military conflict.
Her most recent work is The War Diary, written in Kyiv during the first few weeks of the new wave of the Russian invasion. It was presented during their exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022 and will be published as a book featuring texts and photographs.