Katya Libkind: March 26th

I wake up every few hours amidst any kind of activity. Half-a-day barrages of catharses. Half a day of nothing. The thought does not let me alone that we are in some veteran’s recurrent nightmare, that they’ve slipped us a trauma that is not at all our own. Some dudes decided to create a reconstruction—with the same words, ideas, instruments, movements—a kind of game they’re using to displace what happened to them in WW2 and after. That the “great Russian nation” just needs to win the war again to forget that they’ve long been killed and repressed. Or maybe they feel that death is the only truth in their lives, and that’s why they so eagerly hurl their bodies at us, pressing to feel something a little real.

Time is arrested and deeply shocked.

I pray to materiality and to reality.

On the third day of war I felt fear creeping up to me, that kind of fear that, they say, makes your limbs go numb. I went out into the garden, lay down on the ground, and the earth went through me, through my tremor, and made me dead and invincible. I discovered that the only thing left from the fear now was its power. My body heats up and strobes like it’s getting ready to melt the world. I understand that the coerced freedom of humanity will begin with Ukraine. Everything that was, has gone to shit and will now grow again from this broken but very living and luminous center.

The butterfly in the video is Idea leuconoe. I bought her chrysalis and eagerly awaited the triumphant appearance of this sex machine, eagerly awaited her live beauty, and somehow attached too much importance to her arrival. A week before the war, she hatched; her belly was damaged, one wing was fully crumpled, the others she just couldn’t unfold. She tripped over her feet and tried to flap her soft wings for two more days. I fed her and weeped over her like I have not yet weeped over this war. My entire life coalesced in this unsymmetrical broken mandala. Everything that happened and everything that is possible will only be like this butterfly. Nothing more alive could have emerged for me. This is that center from which I now continue.

Translated by Liza Biletska.

Katya Libkind is an artist based in Kyiv, Ukraine. Her artistic practice engages a variety of media, including painting, video, installation, performance, and stage art. Katya is a co-founder of “Atelier Normale” (“a project by artists with or without Down syndrome“) and a member of “Montage” art-group. As Ukho’s head-artist she staged the operas of Gervasoni, Cella, Sciarrino for National Opera of Ukraine. Her objects and videos often build upon a process of very careful observation of herself and her closest surrounding. In many cases they either document a performative action, or contain a potential for interaction with a viewer in them. Building on processuality, borderline candidness, and an intuitive, direct emotional experience of reality Katya’s work touches on the issues of personal boundaries, conditionality of perception, the very idea of norm or beauty.