· Nov 13, 2020

Dana Kavelina, The Room of Lyolya Yefremova, detail, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

Lyolya Yefremova was here, and then she was gone.

How could she have been so close?
How could we have not cared?

One-by-one, Kyiv’s artistic community has been going to her room to see what she was seeing, what she was reading, and what she left behind. To wear the masks. To watch the film. To pay respects. To place where she went south. And ascertain to what extent we are culpable.

Yefremova wrote profusely—about her person, her politics, and her protests. She penned clowns where the spires should be and pulled the skin up around her eyes. Her pictures, of which there are many, are stuck somewhere between the Red Army and the Black Sea.

What is black and white and red all over?
What is black and white and read all over?

Sorry, it is the wrong time for a riddle. There probably won’t be a right time.

To the left of the sliding door are puppets. They are skinny and wooden. Their joints bend however you want them to, so they dance when you tell them to dance. And they break when you tell them to break. Now that she is gone, Yefremova shares their fate.

Self and story have strings attached. · The Room of Lyolya Yefremova is an exhibition by DANA KAVELINA. The exhibition takes the form of a total installation in the room where the fictional Kyiv artist Lyolya Yefremova spent her last months living and working before taking her life. Exhibition visitors are permitted to enter the room one at a time, and engage with the room's entirety, which includes sketches, diaries, personal effects, and the late artist’s laptop.

The exhibition was located at Bohdana Khmelnytskoho St 35/1, Kyiv, Ukraine from October 4th through November 4th.

Text and photos: ALEX FISHER

DANA KAVELINA is an artist and filmmaker working with the mythic, propagandized elements of industry, orthodoxy, and the environment. She was born in Melitopol and is based in Kyiv, Ukraine. She is a graduate of the Department of Graphics at the National Technical University of Ukraine (Kyiv). Invested in militarist, feminist, and historiographic optics of post-Soviet existence, her works have been exhibited at the Kmytiv Museum (Kmytiv), Closer Art Center (Kyiv), Voloshyn Gallery (Kyiv), and Sakharov Center (Moscow).


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