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Since 2014, Lucia Nimcova together with Sholto Dobie, have gathered an archive of photography, video and sound recordings, throughout western Ukraine. As opposed to traditional documentary practices, the artists prefer to describe their work as a folk opera; a collection of songs, stories, music, performance and field recordings, existing somewhere between an ethnographic document and musical theatre.
Throughout history, traditional music and culture has been appropriated and misrepresented; presently in Ukraine, patriotic songs play an important role in fuelling a populist romantic nationalism. In contrast, the artists seek to capture official, private and hidden realities within communities that are excluded from the main historical narrative of the region. Their main interests are those songs, which describe in tragic, brutal and comic ways domestic abuse, murder, conflict, sex, love and hate. The artists want to show that the alternative folklore of the region: hard mountain rap, vintage feminism and filthy Carpathy hip hop, is still alive and relevant, before its last inheritors disappear.
Nimcova and Dobie's ongoing work is a self-proclaimed improvisation. They move freely between various locations and integrate themselves in kitchens, fields, roadsides, weddings, funerals and public events. These places become stages, in which everyday life and theatre paradoxically come together. In this way, their work embraces the inconsistencies and complexities inherent in any ethnographic document. It is a contemporary chronicle with an inclusive approach to material, incorporating industrial sounds, lullabies, military funerals and hen parties.
BAJKA / A TALL TALE follows on from Nimcova's previous work on both the female experience in Eastern Europe and contested histories of her native Rusyn minority. This work similarly seeks to show how the past influences the present. In the end, it is an attempt to navigate polyphony of subjectivities, in the context of Ukraine's unstable situation currently and historically.
BAJKA was presented at:
2022 Billytown, Den Haag, NL
2022 Festival Novotvar, Bratislava, SK
2022 Syros Film Festival, GR
2022 Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), Tallinn, EE
2022 Norient Film Festival, Bern, CH
2019 Rumpelstiltskin, New York, USA
2019 Noorderlicht International Photography Festival, NL
2017 WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, BE
2017 Cinema NOVA, Brussels, BE
2017 Cinema Spoutnik, Geneva, CH
2016 Jihlava Documentary Film Festival, CZ
2016 Krokus Gallery, Bratislava, SK
2016 Bratislava International Film Festival, SK