Lab ROME’23
Inga Ponomarenko Lithuania Painting

Artwork title : Toys. Kindergarten. Pripet

Toys. Kindergarten. Pripet

100×80 cm, oil on canvas. 


The title of the work is somewhat leading us to the main thought, it is the contents found in one of the rooms of the kindergarten building (located in the city of Pripetė) - old toys neatly arranged on a bench. If the viewer's gaze quickly passes through the picture, it seems like there is nothing unusual, but when the viewer's gaze is focused on a black figure that stands out - a bear whose muzzle is hidden under a gas mask, you start to "get involved" in the content of the picture, willy-nilly, and slowly notice other details... on the right side of the bear. the placed doll, more precisely, what is left of it... the doll no longer has a head, one leg... and it is not clear if there is an arm? or just a part of it... the gaze jumps to the left side of the picture: the whole "parade" of sitting toys also begins with the figure of the doll. She is also not "complete" - a shoe is lost somewhere, part of the arm is missing... and there is no skirt.... The surface of the bench on which the toys are sitting seems to merge with the old, crumbling wall, it is no longer clear where the wall parts are and where the bench structures are. The line between them is very thin. Looking at it, you don't even know if it's a wall or a skyscape.... The lower part - the dirty, dusty floor and the fragments of the bench leg - add "weight" to the structure of the painting. The latter seem to divide the picture into two parts: "before" and "after", "here" and "there". This picture is a "Chernobyl postcard" that gives every viewer a hint of what was and how it is today... 

These toys, "forgotten" in the course of time, are like individual stories of crippled people glued together into a whole... a "parade of the disabled" or a paradox that reflects the absurdity of the events at the time, recalling the attitude of the Soviet Union politicians at the time to the common man, to him as a "value", as a "biorobot" , as a "resource" belonging to the "Motherland", which can be exploited until its last breath, and later, as "garbage", as an old broken part, thrown somewhere in a landfill, in a burial ground... and those that are still left, but already are no longer suitable for "exploitation" quietly and quickly "scattered" in the depths of the vast homeland, so as not to "poke eyes", so as not to remind about unsuccessful experiments.... so as not to show the facts that the infallible government machine makes mistakes and those mistakes cost the highest possible price in life - human life ...