Marry Me Personally, Ekaterina: The Tale Behind Romain Mader’s Controversial Project about Ukraine

Photographer, musician. Examined during the University of Arts & Design Lausanne in Switzerland. More often than not plays the character that is main their jobs. Had team and solamente exhibitions in Switzerland, Britain, France Denmark, and Italy. Winner of Foam Paul Huf Award.

Romain Mader first found Ukraine in ’09 with buddies: “We desired to travel in just one of the Eastern countries that are european. We selected arbitrarily to visit Ukraine. ” In the time, Romain got enthusiastic about Soviet architecture and took photos from it in Donetsk and Sevastopol. “We didn’t know a great deal concerning the nation, we’d the exact same stereotypes as a lot of people in Western Europe. We thought individuals drank vodka, therefore we always purchased a container of vodka to take in regarding the train, but we never ever had the opportunity to start it, because we didn’t meet those who had been enthusiastic about that. ”

Romain had not been just incorrect in regards to the universal love for alcohol among Ukrainians. “There is really a label in Switzerland that most Ukrainians are often tough and don’t smile, ” the author associated with the task states. “It was totally not the same as the things I expected — everybody constantly attempted to assist us, and now we also got invited to a marriage in Donetsk. I prefer Ukraine, there are lots of reasons why you should think it’s great. ”

Later on, Romain came ultimately back to Ukraine to shoot a project that is new Ekaterina, a fictional tale of the intercourse tourist whom stumbled on Ukraine searching for simple ladies. Romain played the primary character in the tale that has been totally comprised by him. Ukraine within the task is really a country that is phantasmagoric populated just by high blondes by the title of Ekaterina, who will be dreaming of marrying a foreigner. The storyline features a pleased ending: Romain discovers their Ekaterina, takes her to Switzerland, and marries her in the base of the Matterhorn.

In actual life, Romain is solitary rather than an intercourse tourist. He previously the concept to produce a task having a theme that is women’s he heard bout the Ukrainian movement called Femen, which at that time exposed a workplace in France. “ we thought it had been actually interesting, ” he recalls. “These ladies talked of a vital issue, although not with speeches and posters, but by showing bare breasts. We knew that the themes of prostitution, intimate exploitation, together with prejudiced mindset towards females from Eastern Europe are very important, and wished to show my attitude in their mind by using this task. ”

The show purposely follows the design of documentary photography — here there is the snapshots, right right here you’ve got random shots from Kyiv’s Independence Square, listed here are photographs of ‘Ekaterinas’ who Romain came across on their means. To confuse the viewers a lot more, Romain blended staged pictures with genuine photographs from beauty pageants and model agencies.

He claims that the tale which he informs within the task isn’t any more than a stereotype that is exaggerated as well as its primary audience are Europeans that are within the grip of the stereotypes. Numerous elements are delivered to the purpose of absurdity: by way of example, all of the billboards within the town are plastered with photographs of attractive females, and there’s perhaps perhaps perhaps not a man that is single the road.

Romain acknowledges that the response to the task from European audiences arrived as a shock. “once I reveal Ekaterina in European countries, some individuals through the audience ask me personally just exactly just how my spouse is performing. I will be amazed I thought that everyone else will be in a position to start to see the irony. Which they simply take this tale seriously —”

The task ended up being completed in 2012. It absolutely was later posted in Vice and provided at a individual event in the Tate London. But, following the jury of Foam Paul Huf Award announced that Romain had been this year’s champion and can be given a money reward of €20,000, the nagging dilemmas started — petitions and groups on Twitter appeared, photographers, curators, and experts from around the whole world talked from the victory of this task, among them Donald Weber, Margo Ovcharenko, and Nadezhda Sheremetova.

One of several accusations produced in regards to the task is the fact that movie, which can be entirely on Romain’s formal site, not merely has pictures from Ukraine, but additionally photos drawn in Belarus. Romain sees no issue along with it: in the viewpoint, such manipulations are appropriate for fictional tales. “I’m maybe maybe maybe not a photojournalist, my task Ekaterina is just a story that is fictional. We traveled primarily to Ukraine and Belarus and discovered that there surely is a big space between preconceived tips and truth. We took photos in numerous places to amplify the exoticism associated with eastern European city I’m creating in the tale, ” Romain says.

But needless to say, the accusation that is main into the task is concerning the marketing of negative stereotypes about Ukraine as well as its ladies. Romain denies totally he aimed to offend females together with his task. He describes that the ladies in the photographs are their buddies, friends of buddies, and activists. “I didn’t plan to cause debate, but we cannot expect everyone else to want it, ” Romain says. “I believe that individuals responding to my tale is great as my intent would be to underline a significant and topic that is universal in place of one just taking place in Ukraine. ”

The organizers for the competition took Romain’s part: “While we accept that Mader’s work isn’t for everybody, we the people in the jury additionally respectfully declare that only a few art needs to be susceptible to broad opinion. Almost all of the creative art many of us care about invites disagreement, ” they do say. In accordance with them, Romain Mader In accordance with them, Romain Mader took in a high-risk task — investigate upforit the hard topic for the exploitation of females in Eastern Europe with satire. And inspite of the controversy, the honor shall remain their.