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View of “Anna Jermolaewa,” 2016. Foreground: Leninopad, 2015–16. Background: Five Year Plan, 1996–. Photo: Stefan Lux.

Anna Jermolaewa

Kerstin Engholm Galerie

View of “Anna Jermolaewa,” 2016. Foreground: Leninopad, 2015–16. Background: Five Year Plan, 1996–. Photo: Stefan Lux.

Is it possible to preserve the collective memories of Communism in Russia after its transition to turbocapitalism? And what about in a conflict-ridden Ukraine caught between allegiances to East and West? While Anna Jermolaewa is not alone in posing such questions about the former Soviet Union and its satellite states, her most compelling work brings to the fore the role that monuments—both heroic and commonplace—play in constructing and safeguarding a sociohistorical and cultural public sphere that has been rapidly disappearing since the 1990s.

Jermolaewa’s recent installation Leninopad (Russian for “Leninfall”), 2015–16, centered around a gilded statue of Lenin, deposed with its decapitated head nearby. The artist found this vandalized epoxy resin effigy in storage in the Ukrainian village of Kashperivka while crisscrossing the country in the summer of 2015 to record

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