- collage:paper, glue, cotton thread, 2018–2021 oraz / and 2022
The collages are from a series that the artist began to realize after the outbreak of war in her country in 2015. The eastern territories of Ukraine were then invaded by the Russian military. With no decisive response to this act of Russian aggression, one of Europe’s largest refugee crises began. In her works, Viktoriia Tofan attempts to capture these events through the prism of indifference to the prob- lems of the other. The characters enter the urban fabric, disrupting its static landscape. Scenes of violence and war are no longer happening far away. They take place in the Ukrainian capital and in Wrocław, where she currently lives. Threads stitch people to the city. Using a handicraft technique traditional for Eastern Europe, the artist in a way forcefully stitches people to the architecture. In doing so, she asks the question: if they are here, will you begin to see the war? Will those who have come to seek refuge in other cities or countries cease to be strangers? A sharp tool of creation like a needle can serve as a weapon or be used to set boundaries, dividing space and people into wanted and unwanted. But it can also draw lines of intimacy and memory: opposing the erasure of history from reality and space.
The series is completed by three portraits of women created for the book “Wrocławianki. Książka herstoryczno-artystyczna” [Women from Wrocław. A herstory artistic book] by Ewa Pluta. All of them were Jewish. Two – Alice Rosenstein and Lotte Kaliski – were refugees who had to flee from Germany after 1933 to save their lives. The third one – Lina Morgenstern – fought for the rights of indigent women. In the age of the industrial revolution, she organized social kitchens providing a hot meal to hundreds of thousands of male and female workers, often coming from villages and small towns in search of employment.