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Yevheniia Laptii, Deti, 2023
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A G E N D A Project 1: Yevheniia Laptii

12 March – 11 June 2024

We are pleased to announce A G E N D A, a new series of artist projects that respond to global events and address pressing issues of our time. The series aims to show how a single work of art can offer insight and understanding beyond the 24-hour news cycle.

The first project displays the photograph ‘Deti’ (2023) by Ukrainian artist Yevheniia Laptii (b. 1992, Kharkiv) on the second floor of Kettle’s Yard, outside the Research Space.

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At the time of the Russian invasion, Laptii was living in a village near Kharkiv, which became Russian occupied territory. Travelling via Moscow, the artist eventually returned to Ukraine in the autumn of 2022, by which time the Ukrainian army had reclaimed most of the territory east of Kharkiv. ‘Deti’ responds to this moment in the artist’s life, inspired by a photograph she took on her return to the ‘deoccupied’ territories.

The catalyst for Laptii’s display is an article by James Meek in the London Review of Books (Vol. 45 No. 16).

Yevheniia Laptii’s photograph of a village house in Eastern Ukraine is […] cut in half from top to bottom. In the foreground of the left-hand panel is a bare tree suffused with a foggy crimson light; the tree’s redness seems to seep back over the house and the snow, as if one were viewing the scene just after receiving a blow to the back of the head. The word deti – ‘children’ in Russian – has been daubed on the gate to the yard, meaning something like ‘Children live here, and for this reason, spare us.’ Laptii’s cut runs through the word deti, so that the words de and ti appear on separate panels; the phrase de ti means ‘Where are you?’ in Ukrainian. Thousands of Ukrainian children have been illegally taken to Russia since the war began. In its early months, Laptii found herself in Russian-occupied territory. Her family was a few miles away, on the other side of the front line, but the only way she could get there was by making a journey of three thousand miles, through Russia and four other countries.

James Meek, ‘Every Field, Every Yard’, London Review of Books, August 2023

At the very beginning of the occupation, Russian soldiers told us to write ‘People’ or ‘Children’ on the gate so that it would be clear where people live. Inscriptions began to appear on the gates throughout the village, indicating that there was someone in the house, that the house was alive. We saw some sacred meaning in these inscriptions, as if by writing ‘Children’ on the gate you cast a spell that can protect you from death. But in fact, no, when the Russian soldiers needed to enter the house, the ‘Children’ did not stop them.

Yevheniia Laptii

Yevheniia Laptii, Deti, 2023


Selection of photographic images by Yevheniia Laptii created between 2017 – 2024. The artist has used digital editing techniques to ‘colour’ some of the images. All images copyright of the artist.

15 Kilometers / 274 Days

About A G E N D A

A G E N D A is a new series of artist projects at Kettle’s Yard that respond to global events and address pressing issues of our time. Launching on 12 March 2024, the series aims to show how a single work of art can offer insight and understanding beyond the 24-hour news cycle.

From October 2024 – February 2025 a second artwork by Laptii will be displayed as part of A G E N D A.

Project curated by Megan Breckell, Andrew Nairne and Naomi Polonsky.

About Yevheniia Laptii

I don’t perceive reality, I generate it.

Yevheniia Laptii (b. 1992, Kharkiv, Ukraine) studied at the Kharkiv Art Academy of Design and Arts specialising in art history. She began her career making digitally altered photographic images in 2016. She has participated in various group and solo exhibitions in Ukraine, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Poland and Austria. She is a laureate of the 2018 NonStopMedia contest. She lives and works in Kharkiv.

Her project at Kettle’s Yard is the artist’s first presentation of her work in the UK.