13 December 2023 > 13 January 2024 Kindly invited to the mini online exhibition "Bloody Quilt, War and Death" by e_________, as a part of Unfamiliar Area project.
A woollen Ukrainian tablecloth or bedspread, which can easily be imagined as a wall decoration, is printed with typography; the artist's own digital signature. The work can be interpreted as a typographic grave, a tribute to the victims of the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The Cyrillic inscription in a bright red colour that shines stingingly on the trim – Кровью цветёт яблонный сад – translated as Apple orchard blooms with blood, is designed according to the principle of the typographic marking system of old Soviet military uniforms. Added value to the letters is the indented shape that resembles the apple seed; the inscription of the trim is a verse from a well-known Russian war poem, which talks about soldiers' pockets in which they deliberately carry apple seeds. If the inevitable happens, they are fertilised with the blood of fallen soldiers, and an apple tree is planted with the victim at the place of the slaughter.
The apple tree and its fruit carry a lot of symbolism. In the territory of the former Soviet Union, especially on Ukrainian soil, the apple tree is also considered a mark of a mass grave – the regime during the Holodomor, a planned mass killing in the 1930s, did not allow the placement of tombstones, so mourners, in memory of the dead, planted apple trees instead of graves. Its fruit, the apple, is at the same time a symbol of death and birth, a symbol of a fallen man, a symbol of immortality and rebirth.
The inscription The apple orchard blooms with blood like a fence hems flower beds; types of names and surnames, which are separated each time by an apple – a landmark and simultaneously a monument to the deceased. Names are handwritten; deliberately and carefully, and collected through personal losses, testimonies and as a response from the artist's relatives, acquaintances and war migrants.
With its deviation, one of the edges of the quilt provides room for planting or stitching the surface, which indicates the incompleteness of enumeration, the possibility of continuing to plough the fields and grow the orchard. The textile work offers us a tactile confrontation with death and at the same time a warm shelter. By writing names on a portable monument, the artist permanently plants a memory, whereas recognisable apples are born from the budding internalisation.
Bloody Quilt, War and Death, 190 cm × 170 cm, 2023, photography by: Hana Podvršič