A project by Olga Filonchuck

The installation is dedicated to the rare plants from the Red Book of Ukraine of the natural reserve Askania Nova (whose informal name is “the book of anxiety and hope”), the oldest steppe reserve in the world and one of the biggest in Europe.

Numerous plants have disappeared on the vast expanses of former Eurasia grasslands during the last two centuries, but keep growing in the Askania Nova Reserve, occupied by Russian troops since March 2022.
Since the occupation, the reserve staff can not access the place, making it almost impossible to assess the conditions of the endangered species after more than five fires had happened since the beginning of the occupation.

Olha´s project aims to reflect on how nature becomes an overlooked coveted spoils of war in the power struggle. In this way, her project echoes Donna Haraway’s “more-than-human” concept that challenges us to move beyond the anthropocentric view and recognize the intricate interconnectedness between humans and the environment.

The embroidered canvases that compose the installation take inspiration from the Gonfalons (known as “khorugva” in Ukrainian), traditionally used in Christian ceremonies. These ensigns depict significant shrines, biblical narratives, and saints, as well as the coats of cities or armies.

In Olha´s work, the process of creating the gonfalons is also a performative one: there are words hidden under layers of embroidery. The process is captured in a step-by-step photo series that tries to mirror the cyclical transformations that people, society, and nature are constantly undergoing.

The exhibition “From the book of anxiety and hope” is a project created by artist-in-residence Olha Filonchuk developed since November 2023 thanks to the partnership with our long admired Institution Artists at Risk and with the generous support of the Goethe-Institut.

24.02.24 - 16.03.24

11m3 Projektraum wird finanziert durch die Unterstützung von: