June 22, 2015, 6:36 p.m.
On June 9, 2014 the mercenaries of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” seized the territory of the former plant of insulation materials, on which IZOLYATSIA foundation was based in Donetsk. Since then, the pro-Russian occupants use the territory and the premises of the foundation as a base for militants training, a prison, an execution place, and a warehouse for stolen cars.
Leonid Baranov, head of the special committee of “DPR”, that has been occupying the plant since 2014: "They say that it was an international art center. We had no choice but to occupy it, because the art, which they spread, was not an art at all. On the territory of Donetsk Republic this kind of art will be punished” (this statement referred to the book by Boris Mikhailov, which was found by the looters in one of the seized offices. The book, in particular, contains a photo series titled History of Illness, which illustrates the state of limbo in the post-Soviet period using the example of the lives of Kharkiv homeless people).
Offices, galleries, materials, equipment, library and bookstore of IZOLYATSIA were looted.
The foundation managed to evacuate only a part of its collection.Over the past year IZOLYATSIA team was constantly informed of the consistent destruction of the artworks, which remained on the seized territory, and specifically, the destruction of site-specific installations.
The work of Ukrainian artist Masha Kulikovoskaya was one of the first to be executed. The soap sculpture Homo bulla was used for target training by militants. Exhibit space, which once hosted the project Ce N'est Rien by Kader Attia, is now used to hold and interrogate prisoners.
On June 22, 2015 IZOLYATSIA team received confirmation that the representatives of the "DPR" blew up the installation by Pascale Marthine Tayou, created by the artist during the project Where is the Time in 2012. The work represented a giant lipstick crowning a factory smokestack. Installation Make Up! was dedicated to the women of Donbass and noted their role in the reconstruction of post-war Donetsk.
Pascale Marthine Tayou: "I noticed that, thanks to the courage of the Ukrainian women, Donetsk rose from the ashes after the war and wanted to make some of their own symbols of love and hope, because, from my personal point of view, Donetsk - is not only a city of mines and metal. It is also an island of dreams, ready to share its hidden treasures."
Among the works of art which remained on the occupied territory are installations and large-scale objects by Daniel Buren (France), Cai Guo Qiang (China), Leandro Erlich (Argentina), Kader Attia (France), Pascale Martine Tayou (Cameroon-France), Luba Malikova, Zhanna Kadyrova, APL315, Hamlet Zinkovsky (Ukraine) and other artists.
Many of these art works, which were located on IZOLYATSIA territory in Donetsk, were demolished by the looters and sold as scrap metal, or used in the construction of checkpoints in the city.While the marauders continue to destroy any manifestation of art on the occupied territory, the artists who worked with IZOLYATSIA, help to make up for losses - they recreate their works, or offer new ones instead of destroyed pieces.
Kader Attia on his work Ce N'est Rien: "Tolstoy died on November 20, 1910, and his last words might have been: "It's nothing …" and then he passed away. Several years ago, I left this phrase, made by neon lights in the basement of the space called IZOLYATSIA in Donetsk, Ukraine. Such a silent witness, the message to the future of humanity about the significance of a life’s end"... “This is nothing."IZOLYASTIA fought against ignorance, fought for education and awareness, and, unlike the others, began its struggle from scratch. A factory that has entirely ceased operating... Every brick of this artistic institution is hiding an incredible energy that is just waiting to get out. Sooner or later it will happen there, or here, or anywhere else, when fascism, obscurantism and anti-semitism that grovel at our feet, try to get up and straighten up next to us ... The world has lost stability, and life means nothing, but iit is still worth more than all the gold in the world!”