“Under the hypnotic grimaces of official pacification, a war is being waged. A war that can no longer be called simply economic, social, or humanitarian, because it is total. And though each of us senses that our existence has become a battlefield where neuroses, phobias, somatizations, depression, and anguish are but a kind of defeated retreat, no one can grasp the trajectory of the battle or understand what’s at stake in it.”
— Tiqqun, 2001
The Pain of Others is an intervention that consists of photos, collages, posters, and banners which at first sight resemble memorial sites spontaneously arising in public space following accidents, terrorist attacks, disasters, or other tragic events. Sasha Kurmaz uses this form deliberately in order to reflect the problems he is addressing in the most accurate and expressive way. Such spontaneous objects are always anonymous and do not have a specific author or ‘artistic value’.
This intervention is the space of political manifestation and memory at the same time. One of the important aspects of this project is its place. The place that the artist chose for this work is a crossroads, on the one side of which there are local authorities, and on the other refugees waiting for their official status to be confirmed.
While working on this project, Sasha pursued the goal of creating a permanent place of memory for people who suffered from terrorist attacks, military conflicts, or other tragedies, regardless of where these events took place or their nationality: a universal place of memory where everyone can complement this work at any time. The intervention aimed to remind local residents and local authorities what war is and what are its consequences; how it affects a human being and the way it perceives the world and, most importantly, the reason why people on the opposite side of the street ended up in this city.
This intervention was implemented with the support of the Bien Urbain festival in 2017. The work was created in cooperation with and for local refugees in Besançon.
Sasha Kurmaz is an interdisciplinary artist, born in 1986 in Kyiv. He graduated from the Design Department at the National Academy of Culture and Arts Management in Kyiv. Currently lives and works in Kyiv, Ukraine. In his artistic practice, he uses photography, video, and public interventions, through which he studies social interrelationships that address themes both poetic and political. In most of his works, he plays a game of de-powering power structures, explores the changing relationship between human beings and the modern world and examines the existing tension between the citizen and the state.