In your region, even mountains are fake (2023)

Screen printing on textile (1,30*6 m), installation

Heavy industrialization and collectivization under Soviet rule not only took millions of lives but also severely disfigured the beautiful steppe of eastern Ukraine. Extensive mining marred the local landscape with slag heaps—towering piles of debris—clearly visible on the city horizon. To many inhabitants, these mounds appeared like hills or even small mountains in the distance, especially when squinting. Over time, these industrial scars came to be perceived with all the complexity and ambivalence of a regional symbol. Following the Russian occupation in 2014 of parts of the Donetsk oblast, the artificial, mountain-like heaps came to embody a lost homeland. “In your region, even mountains are fake” is an ironic and bitter reflection on colonial exploitation of the land, feelings of loss and belonging, and landscapes of memory.

Jan Van Eyck Academie Open Studios view, June 2023