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