Reality Ruined and Rebuilt: An Interview with Victoria Pidust and Volo Bevza

Read on Berlin Art Link

Ukrainian artists Victoria Pidust and Volo Bevza have lived in Berlin since 2015. Pidust’s work is photography-based and Bevza’s combines oil painting with digital tools. They flew to Kyiv on February 20th for Bevza’s solo show ‘Soft Images’ at the WT Foundation, scheduled to open on February 24th. That morning, the pair woke up in the historic center of Kyiv to explosions in the distance: Russia had invaded Ukraine. They evacuated to Vyshneve, a few kilometers south of the capital, and then to Lviv, close to the Polish-Ukrainian border. Now, they help build anti-tank obstacles and collect funding for the effort and humanitarian support. On the 12th day of the war, I talked to them about their current experiences, the absurdity of the situation and how reality is rebuilt by media.

You can support Victoria and Volo in their defense and humanitarian efforts by donating directly to them. Their fundraising work in Germany is done in cooperation with Galerie Judith Andreae in Bonn.

Natasha Klimenko: Where are you calling from?

Volo Bevza: We’re staying with my father’s friend in Lviv. He’s an artist. He’s housing almost 24 people. We’re calling from one of his studios, in the cellar. If there’s an airstrike alarm, we come down here. We barricaded the windows.

NK: But it’s relatively safe in Lviv?

VB: As safe as it can be in Ukraine.

Victoria Pidust: But this can change quickly.

VB: Some days, we go to the cellar several times because of the airstrike alarm. Or we might get a notification from the government’s telegram channels.

VP: There are also news channels we follow on Telegram. One is called “Normal News.” It’s absurd to get notifications from a channel called “Normal News” that say, “a Russian bomb destroys a kindergarten,” or, “a family has been killed.”

VB: It’s surreal.

NK: Do you trust the news?

VP: In Ukraine, there isn’t much propaganda. But there are many fakes by the Russian cyber army to disorient people.

NK: Could you give me an example?

VB: Recently, they said that Russian troops invaded Brody, a small city not far from Lviv. A few hours later, it was confirmed as fake, but people here panicked.