German and English
36 × 29 cm
German artist Johanna Diehl traveled around present-day Ukraine in 2013 and visited former synagogues that had fallen into disrepair or been converted to other uses. Many of them had been destroyed during the German occupation, while others had been used as cinemas, gymnasiums, workshops, factories, and hospitals during the Soviet era. The photographs testify to the expulsion of Jewish communities from their religious spaces. Diehl shows not only how bizarre and disfiguring the new functions of the synagogues are, but also the violence with which they were sometimes imposed. In an art-historical text Bernhard Maaz describes the ambivalent beauty and sadness exuded by photographs devoid of people and in which the literary miniatures by Yuri Andrukhovych resonate like an echo.