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War. Numerous conflicts accompany the history of humanity. It may even seem that the existential need of humanity is a conflict. War is one way of waging these conflicts, with its laws and rules that are even sacred to some nationalities.
Nevertheless, no matter how religion assures us of the "sanctity" of this action, war is far from a manifestation of the sacred or "divine revelation." The war brings ruin and numerous casualties. Both material and physical
Project "The Cost" Vilnius, Lithuania. 2022
This project is about physical losses. About losses that my state, Ukraine, has suffered. Losses during the Russian-Ukrainian war in the eastern regions of Ukraine.
This war took away the best sons and daughters of Ukraine. This war left children without parents and parents without children. Every person who dies is a potential. The potential for state development. Potential that turned into pain and tears. The pain of numerical losses. Ukraine greeted its fallen heroes by bending its knees. Each of them. Unfortunately, there are far more than 4,470 casualties in this war. However, this is the most complete archive I have been able to find, with information available to mortals.
Therefore, even with all its scale, the project is incomplete. It is not complete. Since the war is not over, which in my opinion will be eternal. I was afraid that the memory of people who gave their lives and are still dying for their country is going to dissolve through time. Depreciation of things like this happening because we as humans are just getting used to it. Getting used to the fact that people die.
Somebody could say that people die every day, and it’s in our nature to die. But not because of the bombs. Not because of the other people. Normalizing it will put humanity at the lowest level in the food chain. It’s just a degradation.
Humanity adapts to everything. That is why we have evolved into what we are now. The adaptation is reflected in the perception of information. We get used to anything, even the war. And it's not good, it's not bad, that's a fact. Think about how you perceived the first losses of the enemy and how you perceive them now. In 2014 - with the start of the war, we perceived every death because of the pain inside us. Then, with each passing day, month, and year - the pain subsided. Our brain has adapted - turned these losses into statistics. Now we perceive these numbers in a completely different way.
One of my main goals in this project is of course to show differences in the perception and reflection of our ego to such things. Reflection is a very important thing for me. In addition to visualization, the project "The Cost" is also a reflection on the number of victims of the Russian-Ukrainian war in the eastern territories of Ukraine. Reflection on the fact that I just can't imagine all these people, I can't systematize them. I can't imagine 4470 corpses in one room. To understand this, you have to go through every death. This is what I do when I paint these portraits. I touch each of them. Even with a brush, I'm still analyzing. I need to preserve the character of each portrait, to preserve individuality. The silhouette of each is important. After all, the first thing we perceive when confronted with the living or not alive is the silhouette. These silhouettes on one canvas create a vibration of color that irritates the viewer's eye. Thus drawing attention to the picture itself. Fragmentation in its entirety. The structure turns into something like a fractal system. Combining the canvases into a single composition, we can observe how the unit turns into the plural. Everything big is created from small. One person is a small life, but when people unite, it is a force. Everyone contributes to something more.
Hundreds of people die every day. Raising the count of casualties. Raising the count in my paintings. Raising the cost of freedom not only for Ukrainians but for the whole world. However not every country in the world realized the fact that the Russian-Ukrainian War is not only a war between two countries. It’s a war between two worlds - democracy and autocracy. I hope that the moment of enlightenment in the consciousness of rulers of the democracies in the world will be soon.
Hope it will not be too late…
ANTON PEDOS "The Cost" project. Vilnius, Lithuania 2022.