…To all those who persuade us to “stop hating so as not to become like the Russians.”

To all those who seek peace, but do not understand that peace can be won only in battle. That rage is our fuel. It gives energy to struggle, and struggle is not only survival, it is life itself. Strong feelings, strong words, and strong actions—even if they may be stronger than you can handle—are still better than helpless silence. 

I was born and raised in a world where rage and anger were under an unspoken ban, where venting them was considered impolite and rude—especially for a young woman. “Broadcast positive emotions, avoid negativity, or if you can’t, at least just remain neutral,” that’s what I learned during my years of living in the 21st century. But this concept did not prevent the Russian full-scale invasion and all those inhumane crimes that the Russians committed and continue to commit on our land. The world we used to live in – a world without anger, without rage, without hatred – no longer exists. And in the future, there is no point in avoiding them, fearing them, hiding them. Time to accept these strong emotions and fill our tanks to the top with their life-giving fire — to continue working, creating, living.

…But, of course, this is not only about pure rage, not only about anger towards the Russians, who came to exterminate us. It’s about love. Love for your family, friends, pets, for cities and towns, for their individual streets, for parks and trees, or just for how pleasantly the sun warms there in early autumn. But it is also a greater love, such that it is difficult even to comprehend or put into words. Loving Ukraine is not just loving the land, the people, or your childhood memories. This means loving Ukraine as an idea, everything that Ukraine embodies and that it protects.

Whereas rage helps you fight, love helps you live and enjoy life. To go through all the battles and not lose yourself, not to sink too deep into your rage and not become heartless, unable to see the beauty around you. Anger is a sword, and love is armor. But love can also become a sword – against those who do not have love, or are simply afraid to love. In this case, rage becomes armor.  And it seems to me that to win all our wars, we need them both. Sword and armor. Love and rage.

Olya Fedorova

As the full-scale invasion began, many were rendered speechless. There was a destruction of language. The brain refused to accept reality and could not choose words that would correspond to the new reality. Regaining language and finding appropriate words is a sign of awareness of what has happened, acceptance of a new reality that has changed forever, and restoration of one’s subjectivity. 

Ola Fedorova’s project “Love | Rage” brings together the practices of writing and visual poetry of Mystkina from the beginning of the full-scale invasion to the present day. Each series of works represents the experience of experiencing strong emotions caused by the war in different circumstances – being in a bomb shelter during the shelling of Kharkiv in the first months, going abroad and returning home – and using different means – curses, prayers, affirmations.   

Belief in the magical power of words, which can influence the situation, has long existed in Ukrainian culture. It is not surprising that in difficult times, various orders, oaths, prayers and curses are constantly gaining popularity. On the one hand, they serve as a kind of verbal magic and perform a therapeutic function. After all, speaking and verbalization are physical processes that everyone can do to help themselves cope with emotions, as well as to join in this way in the common struggle. On the other hand, spreading true information and talking about what is happening now is an important component and a powerful weapon against the enemy in the information war.    

Oleksandra Shovkun

Curator: Oleksandra Shovkun
Design: Alla Sorochan

WHEN: October 13 , 2023 — January 13, 2024 WHERE: Artsvit gallery, Dnipro, Krutohirny Uzviz 21a. Entrance through the central door from the side of Krutohirny Uzvoz FREE ENTRY 

Olya Fedorova is a multidisciplinary conceptual artist working with performance, video photography and visual poetry. She was born in 1994 in Kharkiv.  

In her practice, Olya Fedorova works with meanings and meanings, studying the mechanics and problems of their formation and transformation using the methods of performative intervention, observation and writing. With the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, she is also engaged in art activism and journalism with the aim of promoting Ukrainian culture abroad and raising the awareness of foreign audiences about the crimes of the Russian Federation and the resistance of the Ukrainian people. From the summer of 2022, he temporarily resides and continues his artistic practice in the city of Graz, Austria.

Laureate of the contemporary art festival “Non Stop Media VIII” (Kharkiv, 2016); the winner of the modern visual art competition named after Natan Altman (Vinnytsia, 2017); finalist of the competition of young artists MUHI 2017 (Kyiv); finalist of the Second Biennale of Young Art of Ukraine (Kharkiv, 2019). 

Small personal exhibitions in Kharkiv, Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odesa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Turin (Italy) and Graz (Austria). Participates in residencies and collective exhibitions and projects in Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Spain, Norway, Argentina, Japan, Republic of Korea, USA, etc.