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katja pilipenko

signing session
the king is naked
childhood, girlhood, youth
the list of mystifications

signing session  
screen print edition

BUNKERSTADT, 2022  (ongoing)
40x60, steel plate, 6 photos 10x15, digital print

The threat of nuclear war is now greater than ever; that is why I was interested in shelters in Hamburg in case it happens. It turned out that it is the city with the most significant number of bunkers in Europe. There were about 1,200 of them built, and about half are still standing. Most of them were made in the early 1940s. In 1943, Hamburg was heavily bombed. According to various estimates, 40 to 50 thousand people were killed, and most of the city was destroyed.

During the Cold War, in the 1960s, Germany began building underground bunkers to be used in case of nuclear war. The first such bunker is near Berliner Tor station, a 5-minute walk from my house. Most retired bunkers can no longer be used for their intended purpose. Some have been demolished, and some have been rebuilt and are being used as apartments. Others are warehouses, music bases, restaurants, hotels, clubs, or garages. The most famous bunker in the city, on Feldstrasse, was erected by concentration camp prisoners. Now a colossal garden is being made on its roof.

On the bunkers appeared imprints of time made by man or nature. I wanted to capture the moment of these changes in the photographs. The photos were mounted on a steel plate, exhibiting rust over time. The address where the bunker is located and its distance from my house is written under the photos.

Digital print on vinyl film

This work was done for the exhibition Lo(l) - Embodied Language at the Kunsthaus Hamburg.

Two overlapping words «connection-conjunction», refer to the terminology of Franco "Bifo" Berardi. According to him, nowadays, conjunction is replaced by connection. Connection is a form of communication through machines and their's algorithms. Conjunction offers a collective subjectivity; it is a communication that includes sensory perception.

I made concrete poetry with both words, playing around with (dis)connection of letters. Depending on the viewer, these two words may be seen differently. In this way, looking at the work creates conjunction, as the instability of perceptions and reactions is characteristic of a human being.

3 paintings, 80 cm each, acrylic on canvas
38 papers, A4, digital print

The expression blue-on-blue originates in the 2000s during the War on Terror as a new euphemism for friendly fire; as in military planning vocabulary, blue indicated an allie. In reality, blue-on-blue can have two meanings: it can describe the act of firing on allied troops, as well as to cover up, euphemistically, the fact that the shooting resulted in the death of allied troops. In this way, it creates a distance between the word and reality.

The Blue-on-blue project consists of two parts. The first part of the text is statistical data and descriptions of cases from the history of shooting at one’s alias. It refers to the army term and its direct meaning. The second part is an interpretation of blue-on-blue through paintings. The painting represents targets, consisting of two alternating shades of blue, visualised with a smooth chromatic transition achieved with the airbrush technique.

This blurring effect is needed to show the obscurity of the target because shooting at one’s own is always the consequence of unclarity.

3 sculptures, each 60, 50, 65 cm, glass

In Russia, police batons are used to suppress protests. The long-handled baton is called the Argument 1, the short-handled Argument 2, and the one with a retractable handle Argument 3.

There are three sculptures - batons made of glass. The argument is a term referring to communication — a conversation or discussion. The name of the baton suggests that physical force is an argument for the people who use it. The glass must be used to deprive the baton of its gravity and make it fragile.

The glass sculptures should refer to the fragile and unstable relationships between the people and the state, reflected in the language and its use to establish powers and conduct the population.

40 plates, 35 x 50 cm each, lenticular printing

Synonyms is a kind of visual poem containing 40 pairs of words – euphemisms and its direct meaning –,made in the technique of lenticular printing. Two words are printed on top of each other on a special surface. Depending on the angle of the viewer, one or the other word is seen. Pairs of words are taken from the media space.

Originally meant to be inoffensive and polite, euphemism has become an instrument of commercial, political, and postmodern doublespeak. The danger of doublespeak is that it obfuscates the real meaning. The unstable quality of prints signifies the ambiguity of language.

With kind support of the Freundeskreis der HFBK e.V.

              © Katja Pilipenko 2022
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