Roman Liubun

Roman Ljubuň, Ukraine

*1999, Ukraine
education: archaeology at Comenius University in Bratislava and University of Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra; Masaryk University in Brno, Department of Archaeology and Museology
lives and works in Czechia

Investigative archaeologist, researching cultural landscapes of prehistoric and medieval communities in the Carpathian region, the impact of war on the cultural heritage of Ukraine, GIS in archaeology, statistical methods and models, photogrammetry and 3D documentation of immovable monuments.

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.