Anastasiia Chorna‘s photographs from ‘Absurd’ are inspired by the dichotomy that exists between the beauty and ugliness of post – soviet life in Ukraine. This struggle to make sense of a new reality, a new narrative that fits into contemporary life, has wrought many changes on former soviet states and has often led to violence and civil unrest as is clearly illustrated in the conflict in Ukraine. And it is in Odessa that Chorna was born. In the year that communism fell. This search for clarity has led Chorna to make pictures that reveal her emotional truth, her relationship to the ordinary within the collective history of this former superpower.
In ‘Absurd’ she takes us into Odessa and Kiev and attempts to capture a glimpse, a reflection, of her relationship between what she grew up with and what she sees now after leaving her homeland for over a year. This new way of looking – that comes with revisiting the familiar after an absence – gives us these surreal images, pictures that dig deep into her psyche and reveal an inner turmoil that is at once beautiful, strange and banal. And it is the very banality of what she sees that is most striking; tulips lying in Maidan square – the epicentre of the revolution in Ukraine – teenagers on a train, kids blowing bubbles, a car boot sale, a still life of fruit on a table.
They are tantalising photographs that make one curious, want to know more, delve into the complex history of this volatile part of the world.