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Maryna Semenkova – Paragraph 24 – Performance at SomoS
September 30 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm CESTFree
Saturday, September 30, at 7 pm, SomoS Arts presents the “Paragraph 24” performance by multidisciplinary Ukrainian artist Maryna Semenkova, elaborating on the ambivalence of living in exile.
SomoS is honored to unveil the performance, “Paragraph 24” by Ukrainian multimedia artist Maryna Semenkova, presented in the SomoS exhibition space on September 30, 7 pm. Delving deep into the tribulations of exile, the complexities of personal and collective trauma, and the uncertainties that lie ahead, Semenkova crafts a performance that is emblematic of the universal immigrant experience.
For many refugees in Germany, Paragraph 24 of the Residence Act serves as a beacon of solace, marking the legal foundation of their stay in Germany. Since the early days of 2022, it has simultaneously embodied a sense of refuge for Ukrainian immigrants while also revealing the notoriously Kafkaesque intricacies of navigating the German bureaucratic maze.
Semenkova’s performance bears the hallmark of introspection and collective resonance connected to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that has become synonymous with her recent oeuvre. Through “Paragraph 24,” she not only narrates her eight-month experience as a refugee in Germany but adeptly shifts from the personal to the universal. In her own words, Semenkova reflects, “I felt like a tree that had been uprooted. While my roots yearned for familiar nourishment, I grappled with a foreign terrain.” This sentiment, intensified by her own background as a lawyer, accentuates the emotional undertones of her refugee experience.
Enriching her already profound collection of works, “Paragraph 24” specifically comments on the harrowing effects of war and the fervent endeavor to preserve culture and dignity. This seminal piece transcends her previous narratives centered around past traumas and instead situates itself in the immediate present, contemplating exile as a potentially enduring reality.
Semenkova poetically articulates her journey, stating: “Upon setting foot in Germany, I was beset with a profound realization — the war may not cease soon, and my return home might remain elusive. This epiphany ushered in feelings of loss and frustration, sentiments that accompanied me as I endeavored to find my footing amidst unfamiliar traditions, a different mentality, and a sea of paperwork.”
Berlin, with its rich history as a nexus of migration from Eastern Europe, offers the perfect backdrop for “Paragraph 24”, echoing experiences that resonate with many of its residents.
About Maryna Semenkova
Originating from Odesa, Ukraine, Maryna Semenkova is an acclaimed multidisciplinary artist. Her practice, marked by the utilization of photography and performance, often addresses eco-feminism, the legacy of collective memory, and feminism’s evolving role in the post-Soviet milieu. Embracing a collage methodology, Semenkova fragments reality, frequently positioning herself at the heart of her art. Following her departure from Ukraine in late February 2022 due to the Russian Federation’s invasion, she has graced multiple residencies and exhibitions, including notable venues like Nelimarkka-Museo in Finland and Art Space K85 in Greece. Since February 2023, she has been enriching the SomoS Artist Residency community, taking part in its Artist at Risk support initiative.