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Buckwheat or “hrechka” is one of the most common grains in Eastern Europe and, in particular, Ukraine - my home country. Apart from the literal denotation/meaning of the signifier (applying the terminology of semiotics) - food product, this culturally- specific sign may bring up at least two different associations - the currency for political corruption of electorate in the 1990s and 2000s, and an instrument for a humiliating punishment of children, when a guilty child is supposed to stand in the corner with his/her knees on a sharp-edged raw grain.

Digital photograph 

Imprints on paper and hands

Collage using self-produced imagery 

I’m combining two images of imprints applying the method of photomontage, which started to appear in Victorian times and became widely used in the 1920s by the Surrealists, Dadaists and Constructivists and representatives of other Avant-Garde movements for formal experiments; in advertisement; and as a powerful and groundbreaking tool to critique socio-political issues (e.g., John Heartfield).

Collage using self-produced and found imagery 

Here I’ve juxtaposed the photograph of the imprint with found Soviet photographs from 1920-30s. Totalitarian regimes focused on physical fitness and applying what could be seen as positive, but in fact ideologically-motivated ways of disciplining body and conscience.

‘The Nazi and Soviet dictatorships used physical education as a means of reshaping the subject in a quite literal sense, but the promotion of stronger, healthier bodies was only the more obvious aim of physical exercise and sport programs. These regimes also targeted the body as a means of reaching the mind, attempting to use physical education to enforce patterns of thinking and to inculcate psychological characteristics that promoted the state’s agenda’.*

*Keys, B. (2009). The Body as a Political Space: Comparing Physical Education under Nazism and Stalinism. German History, 27(3), pp.395–413.

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