Marry Me Personally, Ekaterina: the whole story Behind Romain Mader’s Controversial Project about Ukraine

Photographer, musician. Examined during the University of Arts & Design Lausanne in Switzerland. More often than not plays the primary character in their tasks. Had solo and group exhibitions in Switzerland, Britain, France Denmark, and Italy. Winner of Foam Paul Huf Award.

Romain Mader first found Ukraine last year with buddies: “We desired to travel in another of the Eastern countries that are european. We selected arbitrarily to attend Ukraine. ” In the right time, Romain got enthusiastic about Soviet architecture and took photos from it in Donetsk and Sevastopol. “We didn’t know a great deal in regards to the nation, we’d the exact same stereotypes as many people in Western Europe. We thought individuals drank vodka, so we always purchased a container of vodka to take in regarding the train, but we never ever had the opportunity to start it, because we didn’t meet those who had been thinking about that. ”

Romain had not been just incorrect concerning the universal love for liquor among Ukrainians. “There is a label in Switzerland that most Ukrainians are always tough and don’t smile, ” the author associated with the task claims. “It was totally not the same as the things I expected — everybody constantly tried to help us, and then we also got invited to a marriage in Donetsk. I love Ukraine, there are numerous reasons why you should think it’s great. ”

Later on, Romain came ultimately back to Ukraine to shoot a project that is new Ekaterina, a fictional tale of a intercourse tourist whom stumbled on Ukraine searching for effortless ladies. Romain played the primary character in the tale that has been totally made by him. Ukraine within the task is really a country that is phantasmagoric populated just by high blondes because of the title of Ekaterina, who will be dreaming of marrying a foreigner. The tale possesses ending that is happy Romain discovers their Ekaterina, takes her to Switzerland, and marries her during the base of the Matterhorn.

In real world, Romain is solitary rather than a sex tourist. He’d the theory to generate a task by having a theme that is women’s he heard bout the Ukrainian movement called Femen, which at that time started a workplace in France. “ we was thinking it had been actually interesting, ” he recalls. “These ladies talked of the important issue, yet not with speeches and posters, but by showing bare breasts. We noticed that the themes of prostitution, intimate exploitation, plus the prejudiced mindset towards females from Eastern Europe are essential, and wished to show my mindset for them upforit with the aid of this task. ”

The show purposely follows the design of documentary photography — here there is the snapshots, right right here you have got random shots from Kyiv’s Independence Square, listed here are photographs of ‘Ekaterinas’ who Romain came across on their method. To confuse the viewers a lot more, Romain blended staged pictures with genuine photographs from beauty pageants and model agencies.

He claims that the storyline which he informs within the task isn’t any more than a stereotype that is exaggerated and its particular primary audience are Europeans that are within the hold of these stereotypes. Numerous elements are delivered to the idea of absurdity: for example, all of the billboards into the town are plastered with photographs of attractive females, and there’s maybe maybe not just a man that is single the road.

Romain acknowledges that the a reaction to the task from European audiences arrived as a shock. “once I reveal Ekaterina in European countries, many people through the audience ask me personally exactly how my partner is performing. I will be astonished I thought that every person is in a position to begin to see the irony. Which they simply take this tale seriously —”

The task ended up being completed in 2012. It absolutely was afterwards posted in Vice and provided at an exhibition that is personal the Tate London. Nonetheless, following the jury of Foam Paul Huf Award announced that Romain had been this year’s champion and certainly will get a money award of €20,000, the dilemmas started — petitions and teams on Twitter appeared, photographers, curators, and experts from around the planet talked resistant to the triumph associated with the task, among them Donald Weber, Margo Ovcharenko, and Nadezhda Sheremetova.

One of several accusations manufactured in regards to the task is the fact that the video, which can be entirely on Romain’s formal site, not just has pictures from Ukraine, but additionally images consumed Belarus. Romain sees no issue along with it: inside the viewpoint, such manipulations are appropriate for fictional tales. “I’m maybe maybe maybe not just a photojournalist, my task Ekaterina is a story that is fictional. We traveled mainly to Ukraine and Belarus and discovered that there’s a gap that is big preconceived tips and truth. We took photos in various places to amplify the exoticism regarding the eastern European city I’m getting back together in the tale, ” Romain says.

But needless to say, the accusation that is main to your task is about the marketing of negative stereotypes about Ukraine and its own ladies. Romain denies totally he aimed to offend females along with his task. He describes that the ladies in the photographs are their buddies, buddies of buddies, and activists. “I didn’t plan to cause debate, but I cannot expect every person to enjoy it, ” Romain claims. “I believe that individuals responding to my tale is great as my intent would be to underline a significant and topic that is universal in place of one just taking place in Ukraine. ”

The organizers of this competition took Romain’s part: “While we accept that Mader’s work isn’t for everybody, we the people of the jury additionally respectfully declare that not absolutely all art needs to be at the mercy of broad opinion. All of the creative art most of us care about invites disagreement, ” they do say. Based on them, Romain Mader In accordance with them, Romain Mader took in a task that is risky investigate the hard topic associated with the exploitation of females in Eastern Europe with satire. And inspite of the debate, the honor will stay their.

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