Andrii Dostliev

Andrii Dostliev

OST: gesture, landscape, message

work-in-progress, ongoing since 2020

watercolour on paper, 30x40 cm each

This project based on the archival photographs and postcards sent by (and to) the forced workers (Ostarbeiter) and POWs from Eastern Europe in Germany during World War II.

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Andrii Dostliev

Cruising, 36 views of

ongoing since 2021

assemblages made using photographic prints, used tissues, condom wrappers, empty poppers bottles, and other stuff usually found at gay cruising spots

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Lia Dostlieva, Andrii Dostliev, Olga Skliarska

Sweet waters broke / Відійшли солодкі води

ongoing since 2021

photographic triptychs

It is a collection of visual stories about childhood which might seem to be referring to grim folk fairy tales with their gloomy aesthetics and feelings of loss and danger. But these pictures are based on direct quotes from memoirs by people who as children had experienced deportations, life in exile, war, or imprisonment. Sweet sugar mass used to build sculptural scenes for the photos can be associated with common childhood experiences and yet is flexible enough to serve as material for non-childish stories.

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Lia Dostlieva, Andrii Dostliev

Project of the Memorial to the Victims of the Holodomor

2021

The concept of our proposal for the Memorial to the victims of the Holodomor in Melitopol, Ukraine is based on four key points:
• performative nature of memory;
• continuity of commemorative tradition;
• inclusivity;
• “Never again” message.

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Andrii Dostliev

"Does our perception of this photograph of a dissected frog change when we learn that it was taken by an Auschwitz survivor?"

2021

found silver gelatin print (from an archive discarded by a biological research institution), cardboard, pen

size 20x30 cm: edition of 5 + 1 AP
size 30x40 cm: edition of 4 + 1 AP

Lia Dostlieva, Andrii Dostliev

So that no one would see / Аби ніхто не видів

2021

performance documentation: video (09:20 min), installation, photograph

Deconstruction of a skeleton to the bones is also a literal loss of form, a reduction of a structure to its primal elements, and — as such — its destruction. In Cambodia in the 70s, the Khmer rouge regime was attempting to build a utopian nation through the destruction of a previous one, a total reset of existing settings which resulted in the evacuation of the country's towns and cities, mass repressions, famine, and the death of up to 2 million people. Thus, bones become also the base, the underground level of building totalitarian repressive regimes and their attempts of constructing a new official knowledge.

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Andrii Dostliev, Lia Dostlieva

Licking War Wounds

2016–2021

long-term performance, photographic documentation

This tank-shaped salt lamp was purchased from a souvenir shop in Bakhmut in late 2016. Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk) is a city in Eastern Ukraine famous for its salt mines. For a short period of time in 2014, the city was under occupation by Russian terrorists from the so-called DPR. Various salt lamps always were a large part of city's souvenir industry, but this particular kind, in the shape of a tank, has only appeared recently, after the city was liberated by the Ukrainian army.

Such tank-shaped souvenirs are only a minor aspect of general traumatisation of the Ukrainian society caused by the war lasting since 2014. This traumatisation is yet to be overcome by the Ukrainians, a very long and complex process that might take many years. One of the many war wounds that we have yet to lick.

And we're literally licking (yes, physically licking this salt tank with our tongs) this particular one, day by day, bit by bit. This slow and quite painful process demonstrates the slow and not necessarily successful re-shaping of the object of trauma.

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Andrii Dostliev

Soviet Ukrainian photography of the 1930s

ongoing since 2020

photographic installation of a variable number of Polaroid images

This project aims to assemble an archive of Ukrainian vernacular photographs that were caught in the sight of Soviet imperial optics and either destroyed (often, along with their owners) or taken out of their original context and attached to criminal cases. All these descriptions and occasional images originate from archival cases of people repressed in the 1930s in Soviet Ukraine. They belong to the part of Ukrainian culture that was destroyed by the Soviet colonial regime leaving only void behind. These are mere traces of what was once somebody’s family photos and, at the same time, traces of the colonial gaze itself which was the last to look at these photos and had imprinted in them.

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Lia Dostlieva, Andrii Dostliev

Black on Prussian Blue

2020

photographic prints, video loops

This project is a reconstruction based on the family album of a Wehrmacht soldier aiming to research the notion of perpetrator's gaze.

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Andrii Dostliev, Olga Zelenska

Lost Karelian landscapes

2019–2020

series of photographs documenting long-term performance, drawings, dried plants

This work is based on the research of Finnish vernacular photography from the 1930s and 1940s and of its changes caused by wars with the USSR and by the experiences of forced mass evacuation from Karelia occupied by Soviet troops.

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Lia Dostlieva, Andrii Dostliev

The Wondrous and True Story of Kubuś Hirschler

2020

web-based multimedia mockumentary project: video sequences, photographic prints, drawings

The exciting and tragic story of the erection of the world’s biggest monument to Marshal Jozef Pilsudski in Liberia and the Polish-Liberian activist who stood behind this enterprise.

This work explores national mythology, the notion of decolonisation, and racial issues in contemporary Polish society.

go to the project's website

Andrii Dostliev

On foreign soil

2020

performance documentation

This project is an ironic sidenote commentary on the weird shape that migration politics and the globalised capitalist economy took in the times of the pandemic crisis.

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Andrii Dostliev

Jemand wichtig

2020

series of assemblages
old paper, found photos, copper foil, watercolour, acrylic paint, pencil, pen, markers

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Lia Dostlieva, Andrii Dostliev

An unduly restrictive view of salvation (Vinnytsia Limbo)

2019

photographic prints of various sizes, video interviews

In the 2000s, Vinnytsia, a relatively small city in Ukraine, temporarily became an important hub of clandestine migration from Somalia to the EU. The route started in Somalia, led through the Gulf countries, then Moscow, through the Russian-Ukrainian border and after a stop in Vinnytsia (where the headquarters of the facilitators of the illegal border crossings were situated) through Transcarpatia, Slovakia or Hungary, Austria, and ended usually in Munich or Frankfurt.

For this project, we attempt to reconstruct the mythological space of cheap apartments for rent, where Somali migrants could have stayed in Vinnytsia, as well as optics through which they could have perceived the city.

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Andrii Dostliev, Dante Buu

Houseplants

2019

site-specific installations
LED lamps, soil, metal, plastic, found photographs
dimensions variable

In this work, Dante and Andrii draw from the practice of indoor gardening. Plants made of second-hand photographs and metal wire are planted in soil and nurtured by LED light. With this kind of set-up, the artists question the artificial and man-made social and traditional norms, that, despite the plurality and the diversity of humans, remain imperative.

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Andrii Dostliev

36 Amateur Photos of a Black Pen

2019

appropriated digital images — printed and framed, series of 36

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Andrii Dostliev

Penetration

2018

site-specific installation
acrylic on canvas, self-adhesive vinyl film, drawings on the wall

A text-based installation that explores the relationship between language (and language-based identity) and carnal sensations as seen through the prism of the commercial porn movie industry.

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Andrii Dostliev, Lia Dostlieva

"I still feel sorry when I throw away food — Grandma used to tell me stories about the Holodomor"

2018

ink and pencil on toned paper, fragments of found photographs
series of 44
size: 21x30 cm each

Every time I throw away (for any of the reasons) potentially good food I subconsciously feel sorry for doing so. There are no logical reasons behind this sense of guilt — by all means, I can afford not to eat the food I don’t want to eat. These are only leftovers on the plate — and yet I feel so sorry.

This sense originates not in reason but rather in my postmemory (using the term coined by Marianne Hirsch). When I was a kid, my grandma would share with me memories from her childhood and sometimes among them were memories from the early 1930s — the times of the man-made famine of 1932-33 in Soviet Ukraine (called the “Holodomor“ — derived from “to kill by starvation” in Ukrainian), which killed, by various estimates, between 2.4 and 7.5 million people. And the guilt I feel now for the thrown-away food takes its origins there, in these stories about my family surviving this hunger.

To illustrate and to better understand this sense of guilt, I started recording the traces of all the food I’ve been throwing away with this sense.

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Andrii Dostliev, Lia Dostlieva

Fairy Castles of Donetsk

2018–2020

Diasec photo prints 50x70 cm, audio recordings
series of 8

Mythologizing a place distant in time and space, and your own experience associated with this place, isn't something unique to us, it happens one way or another with everyone. To analyze this process more deeply, we invited friends, acquaintances, and strangers to share their personal stories about Donetsk in the '90s, the way they remember it. Lego bricks were used to make models of the places from their stories. These models aren't perfect representations, but they help create an emotional and material connection with the past, serving as both a symbol and a tool of that connection.

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Andrii Dostliev

Seni Seviyorum / I love you

2018

installation in public space
photos mounted on marble

These photos were taken in an abandoned Armenian school in Bahçecik village (Kocaeli, Turkey). Before 1915, Bahçecik (Arm.: Bardizag) population was mostly Armenian. Today, very few traces of them remain in the public space, this crumbling school being the most visible one.

Two photos of the opposing walls of the main hall of the school were mounted on marble slabs and installed on the opposite edges of the village, thus extending the symbolic space of a remembrance.

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Andrii Dostliev

Der Generalstab

2018

bureaucratic performance, documentation

The conspiracy theory stating that the Ukrainian language was artificially created by the Austrian military headquarters during the WWI has been circulating in the informational space for many years now. This conspiracy theory has been spread mostly by Russian far-right and far-left circles and initially aimed to attack Ukrainian independence, but it was so ridiculous that it quickly became an object of ironic laughter among the Ukrainians.

During my residency in Vienna, I decided to take the advantage of the Austrian law regarding access to public information (which obliges state institutions to share at request any kind of publicly available information that they might possess) and to check how they would react when faced with Russian propaganda. I sent out identical requests to relevant governmental, archival, and scholarly entities asking to ‘provide all the information they have that could prove or disprove this theory’.

All the answers I’ve received (and all those I didn’t) are exhibited giving viewers an opportunity to decide for themselves whether their reactions can be considered an effective tool against nationalistic propaganda and conspiracy theories.

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Andrii Dostliev

Hannah Arendt translated into Ukrainian

2017

13 panels, 25.2 x 22.8 cm each

This is a mockumentary post-photographic project about a KGB spy in Western Germany who, at one point of his career as a political assassin, had received a photographic camera as a reward for a successful killing of an enemy of the Soviet state.

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Andrii Dostliev

Bite Marks

2017

series of urban interventions, photographic documentation

In Anticipation of the Elections

2017

intervention into governmental building, interactive installation

In the ‘Bite Marks’ project, I'm researching traces left by neo-Nazi graffiti on the streets of Vienna and the vernacular ways in which the city fights back against the hate symbols. To photograph these traces I attached an ABFO No. 2 photomacrographic scale, which is commonly used in forensics to photograph the bite marks, near each site, thus simultaneously documenting the ‘scar’ on the urban flesh and leaving my artistic commentary at this site.

The project exhibition consists of two parts: the first is an urban intervention accompanying the photo documentation of the research items, the second is an intervention into a governmental institution which uses the aforementioned documentation as a response to the alarming increase of presence of far right ideas in contemporary political discourse.

During the exhibition at BKA-Veranstaltungsraum (belonging to the Federal Chancellery of Austria) visitors were offered to paint over the parts of the images they considered offensive or inappropriate. The resulting images are shown below.

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Andrii Dostliev

Souvenirs from Warsaw

2017

urban intervention using fridge magnets with appropriated advertisements

These leaflets can be seen everywhere in central Warsaw. They advertise striptease and massage, 'sexy nymphomaniacs' and 'perverted students', 24h and takeaway available. Their distributors stick them behind windscreen wipers or into doors of the parked cars – and drivers just throw them away, too lazy or too ashamed to take the leaflet with them till the next trash can. Leaflets pile up on the ground and get carried around by the wind. Sometimes, the distributors themselves skip several stages in leaflets' lifespan and throw them on the pavements from the very start.

Due to their widespreadness, these leaflets have become one of the symbols of Warsaw, albeit one of the least wanted ones. Probably, even less wanted than the Soviet Palace of Culture and Science. But still something a tourist might want to take home as a souvenir from the Polish capital.

A fake stand with magnets with copies of these leaflets was temporarily installed in the Warsaw Old Town not far from the real stands selling tourist magnets.

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Andrii Dostliev, Volodymyr Gavrysh

Pustka po Żydach / Void after the Jews

2017

urban intervention
silkscreen prints

The so-called “void after the Jews” (“pustka po Żydach” in Polish) still exists in the contemporary Polish cultural landscape but remains hidden from sight, especially in the public spaces. Places, where the Polish Jews died, were marked with memorials, however, places, where they lived, were erased from contemporary urban maps. They can only be found in textual sources now.

For this project, we actually did take one such source, namely the Warsaw phone book for the years 1939/40, and we've used the data from this phone book to create advertising posters for the businesses that existed in 1939 at one particular street in Warsaw. These posters were mounted on the walls, like real posters are, to attract attention to the ads — and to the emptiness that remains after the pre-war inhabitants of Warsaw.

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Andrii Dostliev

2.Weltkrieg in Blumen (Natürlich ohne die Blumen im Bild)

2017

appropriated digital images

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Andrii Dostliev

Anonymous

ongoing since 2017

appropriated digital images

This digital archive stores the photos posted by men to their public profiles on dating websites and apps (gay and straight ones alike), where the identifying features have been deliberately altered by the profile owners using digital photo editing tools.

These men rely on more than textual descriptions and default avatars to present themselves, they show their photos - therefore, clearly identify themselves - and yet, at the same time, they take conscious measures to hide their identity, to 'become unrecognizable' with an act of artistic intervention into the image (not just by cropping the photo or by posing with their faces not visible). The degree of this artistic intervention clearly marks their personal border between self-representation and preserving anonymity.

To what extent people can add black geometric shapes or colourful scribbles onto their faces and still remain themselves in the photo? What amount of blur effect hides someone's face beyond recognition while still preserving portrait's identificational function?

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Andrii Dostliev

Praga's ghost signs

2015–2016

a project for a series of site-specific installations in public space in Warsaw

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Andrii Dostliev

Occupation

2015

collages with textual description
series of 31

In spring 2014 the Russian military, assisted by local collaborationists occupied part of Eastern Ukraine, including the largest city of the region — Donetsk. Occupied territory immediately became a dangerous place for any pro-Ukrainian individual.

I was last in Donetsk, my hometown, in January 2014. I could never have expected then that this visit would be my last one.

My family photo archive is still there in my flat. I may never see it again. It may no longer exist as I write this text or when you will be reading it. Attempts to retrieve it may entail unnecessary risks for those who would assist me. All I can do to preserve my family's visual history is to reconstruct at least those photos that I still remember. To reconstruct them using any available materials and photos of other people no longer needed by their previous owners. To occupy somebody else's memorabilia exactly the same way my own were occupied.

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Andrii Dostliev

Luhansk, city as dictionary

2013

installation in urban space

300 metallic plaques with various entries from the "Explanatory Dictionary of the Live Great Russian language" composed by Vladimir Dal were attached to the corresponding objects in the urban space of the city of Luhansk (Ukraine) in November 2013.

On the upper, visible level, this project was presenting itself to viewers and donors as a commemorative tourist attraction, a fun urban game that honoured one of the most famous Luhansk-born persons. On a deeper level though, the texts (verbatim taken from the original book) and the method of their presentation were meant to be a critical visualisation of the aggressive expansion of Russian language and culture that was deeply affecting these parts of Ukraine. Several months later, the city was taken over by pro-Russian terrorists — aided by Russian military — and remains occupied still.

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