cycle “Goodbye, Motherland”,
2011 – 2016
Analog, polaroid and digital photographs, collages, archive footage, objects, postcards
Andrei Liankevich is a representative of the new wave of the photographic community in Belarus, having come out of photojournalism into the sphere of contemporary art and multimedia research. The photographer is an award winning photojournalist, who records the aesthetics of the Belarusian society of the 2000s (for example, Belarus Portfolio series). Over time his series of photos took shape of the artistic research: a book (Pagan photo-book is about the endangered in Belarus pagan cult) and multimedia projects. One of the latest series being created by the artist at the moment is Goodbye, Motherland project, which revises the cult of the Second World War in Belarus.
Military photo is directly related to the image of violence, suffering, and the involvement of emotional competencies. Therefore, the problem of this remote experience of trauma representation in modern photography language is a key to understanding of the Goodbye, Motherland series. The iconography of the Second World War, as well as other military conflicts, shows how different historical narrations are supported by visual documents, how they are designed and infused with ideology. The project is a radical rethinking of the photographer’s artistic language through the usage of different modern art techniques. Talking about the representation of the past (memory of the war) by the Belarusian authorities nowadays, this project is also a statement about the choice of the photographer to speak about the present as opposed to the official discourse about the war, claiming the need to use modern forms of representation. Photo project of Andrei Liankevich studies the way modern collective memory of World War II in Belarus in the epoch of post-memory is constructed.
In his works the artist uses the method of collage and comparisons, confronting different contexts: fragments of historical archives are being easily replaced by some folk-national elements; contour maps, depicting the process of “liberated” areas and the directions of troops movements are replaced by Google-maps images, made 70 years later; heroes of the military reconstruction double portraits switch their roles. Also the project includes an extensive archive of modern souvenirs with symbols of “Great Patriotic War”.
The inscription Goodbye, Motherland was scratched by the defenders of the Brest Fortress. The historical fact of the fortress defence was canonized in Soviet history. The piece of a wall with the inscription was chipped and taken to Moscow, and at the Brest Fortress – the Hero City memorial complex its replica was made, which also highlights both the colonial and fake aspect of Soviet history of the war. The Polaroid pictures of the Brest Fortress included in the project problematize personal and cultural memory, building a dialogue with the family archive of Andrei’s father, who served there in the 1960s.
Andrei Liankevich (born 1981, Hrodna, Belarus) – photographer, artist, professor, co-director of CEH space, organiser of the “Month of Photography” in Minsk. Participant of the international photographers’ collective SPUTNIK.
Lives and works in Minsk, Belarus.
Text: Olga Sosnovskaya, Aleksei Borisionok, Sergey Shabohin, KALEKTAR ©
This is a shortened version of the text. Full article is under construction.
Cycle “Goodbye, Motherland”: