Pravda (Правда – “Truth")
Looiersgracht 60 presents solo-presentation `Pravda` by Daria Khozhai
Pravda, a deeply personal translation of the public experience of loss and collective trauma, is an intimate rumination on the uncertainties of our current times and our future.
Through the installation of Pravda, a 1:1 scale model of her childhood room, Daria Khozhai invites visitors into her home, her memories, and her deep unrest since February 24, 2022. Following the rus**an attacks on Ukraine, the memory of Khozhai’s first home suffered a traumatic displacement, compelling her to painstakingly recreate her room by revealing the layers of its own history. As Khozhai describes, ‘This is my home. The home where I was born and grew up. The home that I loved. The home I can never return to. No roof, no floor, no walls are left. Only memories and emotions, pain, despair, nostalgia, and loss.’
The walls of Pravda consist of layer upon layer of hand-laid newspapers dated from 1991, re-establishment of Ukraine’s state independence. (August 24, 1991 - Declaration of independence of Ukraine) and the collapse of the Soviet Union. And newspapers from February 24, 2022 - 2023 of the rus**an full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Until now, newspapers have been hidden under the wallpapers of millions of homes as a means to cover the imperfections of the Stalin’s, Brezhnev`s and Khrushev’s building`s walls (typical apartment buildings built in the USSR. Apartment plan that every Ukrainian knows, lives or lived in.)
Now, when walls are ruined, at last, the Truth has been revealed. Through the installation of Pravda, Khozhai transforms these formerly hidden pages into external building elements in and of themselves, meticulously constructed layer by layer, and in stark contrast with the abrupt and irreversible acts of destruction.
Considering questions such as ‘How do you commemorate or memorialize the absent or missing?’, the work incites us to fill the space with our own reflections, memories and relationships to the past in our present. ‘Pravda’, the title of Khozhai’s exhibition, as well as a historically instrumental newspaper, translates to ‘truth’. The Pravda newspaper was established and led by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and is well-known as a widely distributed and extremely powerful agent of propaganda during the Soviet period. As the work uncovers these pages from the past, it illustrates a deeper visibility of history and exposes the truth that lies behind it.
Khozhai uses her personal history in her work as a lens through which she examines the wider position and political history of her birth country. Through architectural scale models, large-scale installation, and architectural intervention she recognizes and memorializes spaces that are fading from public memory. In this way, Khozhai shares her wider heritage while inviting viewers into her home, the landscape of her memory, rife with vulnerability, pain and displacement.
This audio was recorded during the opening of the Pravda` exhibition on February 24, 2023
The silence in the basement is occasionally broken by an air alarm: it goes off in real time through the live-stream from Kyiv.
Headlines from top to bottom in a left side: "Act of Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine", "Glory to free Ukraine", "With faith in the happy future of a free Independent Ukraine"
Headlines from top to bottom in a right side: “Ukraine is united and indivisible", "Some want blood”, "Voice of Ukraine"
Solo-exhibition: Daria Khozhai
Date: 24th February 2023
Venue: Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam
Text: Soraya Notoadikusumo and Nadine Snijders. Co-founder, artistic directors of Looiersgracht 60
Made possible with Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst