The exhibition Make Up is composed of a video from the Maskirovka series and a group of photographs from the Golden series.
Maskirovka series was produced in Ukraine between 2016 and 2017, and focuses on the underground techno and queer scene of Kiev. Maskirovka literally means masking and refers to a Russian tactic of military deception based on a complete disinformation and disorientation of the opponent as to the true objective of an army. More recently the term Maskirovka has been used to define some aspects of Russia‘s foreign policy towards Ukraine. The so-called „green men“ who occupied Crimea and helped the pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine were in fact Russian special forces wearing masks to hide their identities and start a hybrid war that was never officially declared. The recent political events, as well as the Russian interference in the internal affairs of the country, can be considered as a sad parody in which everything is possible but nothing seems to be real. All levels of life are engaged in a situation in which there is no longer good or evil.
In addition to the forty-two photographs from the „Maskirovka“ series, Tobias Zielony‘s stay in Kiev resulted in an animated film for which Zielony collected 5,400 individual images from his camera. Images of the club, the street, Maidan and the many news reports about Kiev and the action on the front line, captured on television screens. The film is divided into two visual planes for its entire duration, alternating between them five times per second. By interrupting the memory of the images that have just disappeared with the new ones that press the viewer, the blinking stroboscopic image weaves a nervous web of short-term impressions. It is the culmination of Tobias Zielony‘s contemporary narrative on the multifaceted reality of Ukraine today and the conflicting claims of various actors struggling to occupy the disputed symbolic and political space of the country and dominate its representation. Photos, suggestions, masquerades are an integral part of the war. And, no less important, of peaceful resistance.
In the new Golden series Zielony continues his work on the queer and underground community in post-Soviet societies in the capital of Latvia, Riga. The moment of social and political transformation is reflected in the ritual changes of the body of the protagonists and the surface of the city. Excluded from the institutionalized representations of normative subjectivity, the young protagonists of Zielony use fashion, perforations, tattoos and graffiti to rewrite intimate and common identities. The rituals of public disobedience are simultaneously undermining and reinforcing the limits of an increasingly hedonistic and neoliberal society.