Kiew, Gogolstraße 32. Vernissage von Evgenia Belorusets.

Galerie auf der Pawlatsche
AAKH, Spitalgasse 2-4/Hof 3
C/O Institut für Slawistik
Wien, Austria

Vernissage am 23. März 2011 um 18:00 Uhr.

Exhibition „32, Gogol Street“

It is dedicated to everyday life of residents of a dilapidated house in the historic center of Kyiv, and received a prestigious award of the Royal photographic society and “The Guardian” in September this year. Photographer and writer Yevgenia Belorusets spent more than three years taking photographs in this house and interviewing its residents, to capture their everyday life, their chores and recrea…tion, interior of their dwellings.

In the historic centre of Kyiv – on 32, Gogol Street – there is a run-down house where people are forced to live for more than two decades even though it was declared by the city authorities as “unfit for living”. The house is too worn out to be reconstructed and must be torn down. In such a situation, according to the Ukrainian housing code, residents should be evacuated and given flats of equivalent size in other buildings within the city limits. This is just one of the numerous cases of violation of a basic human right to housing and adequate living conditions. Some of the people managed to leave the house, but those who do not have any financial means to find housing elsewhere remain. They regularly write letters to city authorities, initiate court trials and protest events, but their demands for decent housing remain unanswered.

All communal services (electricity, water, gas, heating) in the house are out of order, ceilings, floors and walls are cracked and rotten and may fall apart any moment, several families live in communal flats in conditions of overcrowding. These images and interview extracts may also be used as an illustration of inadequate living conditions of millions of other post-soviet citizens. In Ukraine over 40% of the population has to survive the cold without any centralized heating and one in ten was living with room temperature below appropriate level, 23% with frequent absence of electricity, 16% without tap water (almost half without hot water), with cracks in the walls and leaking ceilings (over 16%), one in ten shares a room with two or more other people. In Kyiv alone as of 2006 there were more than one hundred apartment buildings that were officially declared “unfit for living”, but were still inhabited.

Living in dilapidated housing means that even most basic chores are often a challenge: a shower is taken quickly with fear that water will be turned off any moment, water for laundry must be heated in pails on a stove. After a woman was injured by pieces of ceiling falling on her when she was sleeping, residents built hand-made “roofs” over their beds and put poles to hold up the ceiling in places where it risks falling. The main heroine of the photographic project died from dire housing conditions. Other residents are still hoping for change.

The exhibition in Kiev lasted from November 26 until December 26 in the framework of the project “Court experiment” organized by the Visual Culture Research Centre in Kiev in cooperation with curatorial association HUDRADA and supported by and Erste Stiftung. The exhibition was complemented by sociological research conducted by Anastasiya Ryabchuk.

  • Adresse: Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Wien

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