Shadowboxing Hitler


Kseniya Simonova is an artist from the Ukraine who specializes in fingerpainting (yes, she’s an adult). On the television show Ukraine’s Got Talent, Simonova “performed” a live painting by spreading sand across a glass table, illuminated from beneath by a light. The resulting images are projected on a movie screen. Creating one portrait out of sand, and then turning it into another, and another–while the audience watches her work–Simonova tells the story of her country’s invasion by the Nazi army during World War II.

The pictures are at once simple and complicated, tender and shocking. In the first scene Simonova creates, a couple sits on a bench outside the parliament building, and they see airplanes appearing in the sky, and soldiers marching. Then the image is wiped out, replaced by a woman screaming. Later, Simonova throws fistfuls of sand in the air and we watch it filter down to the screen, looking like a huge cloud of smoke, with civilians being taken away, a woman crying, and a city on fire. The nine-minute performance is a chilling adaptation of the invasion, and one that must be watched to be fully appreciated.

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