Artists and Projects


Olena Kryvoruchko



about the artist

Olena Kryvoruchko (b. 1993) is a photographer and visual artist from Kyiv in Ukriane.

I have collected stories of living through a war from my friends, and beloved ones together with questions and impressions of foreigners about the invasion. Fleeing Ukraine at the end of March 2022 I came back in December the same year. Having a fresh dose of emotions about how it feels in contrast to peaceful life abroad I started to work on the previously mentioned exhibition concept, hiding in the hallway during the air raid sirens. The project helped me cope with stress somehow.

about the residency


Video documentation of the collaborative art project Normal’NO by Olena Kryvoruchko, Anastasiia Nakonechna, Robin Plenio and Björn Tillmann. Documentation: Sophie Krause

exhibition in the archive

16 September – 2 December 2023
Botkyrka Konsthall’s Archive

The beautiful weather and peaceful atmosphere are in fact an illusion: any city or village can be attacked from the air or shore at any point in time.

While it feels absurd to speak of ‘normality’ in a time of war, people are doing their best to adapt to the prevailing circumstances, facing new challenges besides the everyday issues. Life is not on hold, it is boiling. Maintaining the usual household routines, taking care of family members, getting married, going to restaurants and cafés, studying, working, volunteering, as well as supporting or working within the military forces – almost like it was before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine that started in February 2022.

But the war is always present. It is everywhere, hiding in the anxieties and fear that permeates the air. The new normal involves recurring blackouts, and people getting used to waking up in the middle of the night to air-raid alarms, monitoring news channels in the hallway shelter at home during new possible shelling, or seeking the closest safest space from ballistic missiles or drone attacks, creating a state of permanent sleep deprivation and a deep sense of unrest. It is like you are stuck in a never-ending escalator that moves in directions beyond your control, and that may suddenly stop or reverse.

Observing the situation in Ukraine from a distance, it may seem like a surreal computer game. The physical and mental trauma that has become embedded in peoples’ daily lives, rarely transmits through the media channels. There is a sense of apathy as well as PTSD brought by the constant unpredictable conditions.

For many Ukrainians, a common response to the question “how are you?” is often “Okay” or more precisely the understated phrase “normal”, in Ukrainian: “нормально” [normal’no]. Nowadays, the word has gradually acquired the meaning that nothing is normal.

The audio-visual collective artwork Normal’NO is the result of a collaboration by artists from Ukraine and Germany that have come together to work on a multimedia project that explores the complexities of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Curator: Anneli Bäckman

Botkyrka art collection

Olena Kryvoruchko
Tranquil Haven, Cantabria
Photography, 2023

collaborations and support

The project is produced within Residence Botkyrka’s programme and supported by SWAN Emergency Residencies, Artist-in-Risk, Postkodstiftelsen, Swedish Institute and Botkyrkabyggen.