In the center of the new solo exhibition of Anna Jermolaewa lies a broken Lenin monument.
The artist found it in a town hall closet in the small Ukrainian village of Kaschperovka, located in the province of Zhitomer. It is unknown who demolished it a few months earlier, and the village mayor had been
storing it among custodial tools and various items of refuse.
As part of the new "de-communization” law in Ukraine (passed in Spring 2015), monuments to Lenin,
as well as other public symbols remaining from the Soviet Era, are systematically being demolished or
defaced. In the summer of 2015, Anna Jermolaewa travelled through roughly 2000 km of Ukraine to
document the dismantling of Lenin monuments in various towns and villages. Even though the
phenomenon of iconoclasm tied to political change is certainly as old as the struggle for political
supremacy itself, this kind of unemotional documentation clearly reflects current Ukrainian politics of
iconoclasm without the misleading narratives of news media reportage. Concurrently, Jermolaewa´s
documentation shows the fragile moment within the process of transformation – the void as well as the
provisional arrangement – aspects that generally remain undocumented. Images of these innumerable
Lenin monuments will still exist in the form of photographs, graphics, and postcards, just as there will
be images of new, yet-to-be-built monuments that will be installed where Lenin once stood. In addition,
Jermolaewa´s photographs deal not only with the current political situation, but also with the
relationship between sculpture and base, between the individual and the masses and the role of art as
an instrument of political representation in general.
During her journey through Ukraine, the artist conducted many interviews with local citizens and
townsfolk about the recent demolition of Lenin monuments. The resulting video reveals current
opinions and differing viewpoints within an open dialogue concerning the iconoclasm of symbols tied
to the country’s Soviet history.