Anna Khodkova 
*1990, Ukraine
education: National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture, Kyiv
lives and works in Berlin

Kristina Yarosh
*1994, Ukraine
education: National Technical University of Ukraine, Kyiv
lives and works in Berlin

Anna Khodkova and Kristina Yarosh founded EtchingRoom1 in 2016 in Kyiv as a printmaking studio specializing in graphic techniques such as etching, engraving, monotype, screen printing, and the production of art books. Currently, besides their interest in graphic techniques, they also engage in drawing, mosaic, embroidery, and installations. In their visual language, the cultural heritage from the Soviet era intermingles with futuristic and dystopian images. Their personal experiences from a country with a pronounced post-Soviet past allow them to reflect on contemporary society and environment, as well as oversee what future this historical burden offers.

By heart (2024)

The artist duo Etchingroom1 (Anna Khodkova & Kristina Yarosh) has prepared a two-part project, By heart, for the Triennial, responding to the long-term research of Ukrainian archaeologist Roman Liubun. For the Triennial, Liubun updated his detailed documentation of the loss of heritage and cultural assets occurring in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. The research shows that by the end of May 2024, up to 1062 cultural monuments had been destroyed and damaged in Ukraine, particularly in border areas and major cities like Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Odesa.

The work of Anna Khodkova and Kristina Yarosh, who recently moved from Kyiv to Berlin, is characterised by processing their own cultural history and present. Through stylised drawings of architecture, art objects from museum collections, or depictions of explosions and destruction, they illustrate the story of their occupied and devastated homeland.

Etchingroom1 uses drawing not only for stylised illustrations of real architecture but also simplifies it into simple symbols capable of capturing a complex whole. Additionally, they incorporate the medium of paper itself – crumpled and dirty paper gives the symbol additional emotional significance. The work narrates a situation where the main function of heritage care shifts from damage control to doom control, and where active protection slowly turns into passive waiting for the next random or deliberately aimed strike.

The project intentionally highlights monuments – buildings and cultural heritage – they, however, always serve as symbols of people’s fates. Each building represents its inhabitants, visitors, and users, and each cultural heritage item represents its creator – artist or craftswoman – and their lives influenced by political or social decisions. Etchingroom1 uses stylisation and abstraction to convey universal emotions. Combined with the visualised data from Roman Liubun’s research, they precisely depict the destruction currently occurring just a few hundred kilometres beyond our borders, but also figuratively at every moment in every place.