"Please don't take my picture! Or they'll shoot me tomorrow."

Yevgenia Belorusets

Year of realization: 2014-2015

Technique: digital print, video projection

Size: 175 x 236 cm (print), dimensions variable (projection)

Yevgenia Belorusets spent months inside the zone of conflict in eastern Ukraine, portraying miners whose place of life and work is neither within the controlled territories of the separatists nor that of the Ukrainian government. Her portraits evince a deep personal engagement to those victims of a war that belong to neither side. The fight of the miners is one of survival in both the short and long term. First they need to survive the war, and second they need to save the mines to make sure their families and villages have a future once the conflict has ended.

During the day, the first part of the work shows a monumental portrait of a miner, an image of a man (dis)appearing like a ghost behind the smoke of his cigarette. The backside of this image is the front page of Today’s Paper, a fictional newspaper that tells a story of life under “the fog of war”. During the night, the narrative introduced in the newspaper is developed through a slide projection covering one glass wall of the pavilion. In this way, Belorusets’ portraits move between appearance and disappearance, using the ephemeral and temporal physicality of the work as a metaphor for the lives of the miners.

I suppose I live in a country that has stepped on its own toes. But now it is going through a war. The neighbouring state punishes it for its essence, for its uncertainty, which is so valuable to me. Hope? Ukraine has always had more of it than you would expect. It is rationality lurking around every corner and maybe that will save us once again.”

Yevgenia Belorusets