LB°24 Participants

Anna Zvyagintseva

Anna Zvyagintseva, The Safest place. The Rule of Two Walls, 2023. Installation view from Havremagasinet länskonsthall Boden. The Luleå Biennial 2024. Foto: LKP

Anna Zvyagintseva (b. 1986, Dnipro, Ukraine) is an artist who lives and works in Kyiv.

Zvyagintseva’s practice investigates unnoticeable aspects of life through topics such as the body, small gestures and the present moment. Her creative process focuses on working without a clear purpose, giving space to hesitation and mistakes and their potential to lead to unexpected encounters and outcomes. Expressing herself in transmedial variations including sculpture, installations, video and painting, Zvyagintseva’s works attempt to examine potential doubts and the movement of one’s thought.

On view on at Havremagasinet, Boden

The Safest place. The Rule of Two Walls, 2023
Metal, fabric, objects from the artist’s archive, drawings on chalk paper, archival photos.

The Safest place. The Rule of Two Walls is an installation representing, on a scale of 1:1, the apartment of the artist's father in Kyiv.

Before the Russian invasion in February 2022, the Ukrainian government communicated several safety and security measures to prepare populations in case of any event of armed attack. Among the list, “The rule of two walls” indicates finding a space in the house that could protect one from a potential bombing. The space is a gap where two walls meet between the street and the person or people: one wall would play as a shield for the projectile and the other would protect from shell splinters.

The installation draws the outlines of the apartment's walls with metallic rods. On a few of them, transparent fabrics and translucent papers are hung from top to bottom, revealing the artist’s drawings, personal archival materials, like a black and white photograph of the artist’s mother and her as a baby, and a few objects including a round transparent plastic box revealing rolled candy wrappers. For the presentation of the work within the biennial, Zvyagintseva has added a selection of new materials, prints of some of the traces from her parents homes including height marks, hand prints, foot measurements of her daughter and prints of ancient graffitis from the St.Sophia cathedral located next to her house.

The full invasion of Ukraine by Russia has tremendously impacted the state of the country. Many territories have been destroyed and are now occupied by Russia, nearly 7 million Ukrainians fleeing the war have been reported in Europe and a number of them have found a second home in Boden. While the country’s legitimacy is threatened to be erased, artists and art institutions fight for its preservation.

The Safest place. The Rule of Two Walls reflects the artist's personal thoughts on the role of art in their life amid unprecedented challenges in their country. While such violence might lead to numbness triggered by fear, artistic practice becomes a way to build collective memory through personal stories.

The lightness and transparency of the metal structures and hung fabrics and papers convey a feeling of fragility and vulnerability. Does this structure allude to the ruins of the house in the event of a bombing? An architectural frame unveiling the beautiful and tender reminiscences of what was witnessed?

Between the two walls lies a refuge of courage and hope, a refuge that knows the weight of history but wants to stand still and refuses to crumble. They embody its inhabitants' love against the forces that seek to divide.

Anna Zvyagintseva holds a degree in fine art from the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv, Ukraine. She was a participant of the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht in the Netherlands. Previous exhibitions include Kazerne Dossin Memorial, BE (2023), Museum de Fundatie, NL (2023), Wuerttemberg Art Association Stuttgart, GE (2023), Albertinum, GE (2023), Pavilion of Ukraine at la Biennale di Venezia, IT (2015), National Art Museum of Art, UA (2012).

Supported by

The artwork was commissioned and acquired by the Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle, the Netherlands, and presented courtesy of the artist.

The photos from Saint Sophia Cathedral, Kyiv, Ukraine, were provided by Anna-Maria Kucherenko.