23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Yevgenia Belorusets

Portrait Yevgenia Belorusets
Yevgenia Belorusets [© Olga Tsybulska]

The photographer, artist, and writer Yevgenia Belorusets was born in Kyiv in 1980. She studied German at the Kyiv National Linguistic University from 1996—2002 and then studied Austrian literature and philosophy at the University of Vienna until 2005. She also earned a diploma in documentary photography from Viktor Marushchenko’s photography school in 2005/06.

The focus of her artistic work explores the interface between art, media, and society using video and photography. She has frequently participated in exhibitions that combine social criticism and engaged art. In 2010. she won the social photography competition organized by the British Royal Photographic Society together with »The Guardian«. The photograph depicted a housing project in the center of Kyiv, whose residents have been waiting for resettlement for over twenty years. Since August 2014, Belorusets has repeatedly traveled to the Donbass and photographed life on the frontline. In 2016, the Taras Shevchenko National Museum held an exhibition of her photographs entitled »Peremogi peremoshenikh« [tr: The Victories of the Defeated].

Belorusets founded the literary and art magazine »Prostory« in 2008 and has been a member of the Hudrada collective since 2009. Her book »Shchasliwi padinnja « [Eng. »Happy Failings«] was published in 2018. The book was awarded the International Literature Prize 2020 by the HKW Berlin. The book feeds on conversations and encounters that Belorusets has recorded in images and texts. The resulting portraits mainly showcase women living between Kyiv and the Donbass. Their everyday lives have been distorted by the presence of war, sometimes almost to an absurd, hyper-realistic level. In this way, the book provides insight into a society for which a state of emergency has become a reality. »Yevgenia Belorusets sticks almost hyperrealistically to details, operates with place names, street names and documentary material, but her stories seem like cruelly absurd fairy tales, like oppressive grotesques, sprung from a bad dream« [»NZZ«].

Belorusets is involved in several cultural and political initiatives, including the Association of Authors and Translators and the project »Labor and the Labor Movement in Ukraine«. She has received numerous prizes and scholarships for her work, including the Border Crossers Scholarship from the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Scholarship for Artistic Research at the UdK Berlin. After living between in Berlin and Kyiv, she was in Kyiv from December 2021 to April 2022, where she witnessed the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine, which she reported on for rbb Kultur in self-recorded voice messages under the title »Nachrichten von Yevgenia« [tr: News from Yevgenia]. Her diary, in which she reported from the embattled capital, was published in 2022 under the title »Anfang des Krieges« [tr: Start of the War].

Date: 2022