Come Wander With Me
In Come Wander With Me, Anna Manankina juxtaposes two tragic scenes: the mythological story of the rape of Lucretia, a Roman noblewoman who stabbed herself in front of her husband after being threatened and raped by prince Sextus Tarquinius; and the actual story of Liudmyla Tatarchenko, a 17-year-old Ukrainian girl who was killed in Passionaria [Klochkivskyi] descent, a dangerous area of Kharkiv, in 1995. The former draws its imagery from art historical depictions of the episode, while the latter draws from a small memorial sign at the site of the crime. Manankina’s practice often deals with topics of women’s safety, violence, bullying, and victim blaming. In addition to directly addressing such violence, the stories chosen by the artist foreground the problematic pressure placed on women to assume responsibility for potential threats of violence.
While Manankina’s piece predates the current hostilities facing civilian populations in Ukraine, the work’s palpable sense of fear and its exploration of the complex feelings of cuplability that accompany threats of sexual violence have never been more poignant. As the Russian invasion grinds on, more and more terror, rape, and subsequent killings of women and girls, as well as men and boys, have been reported, often graphically evidenced by the recovery of their brutally mutilated bodies in the deoccupied cities. In Roman mythology, Lucretia’s mutilated body became a galvanizing symbol against tyranny and injustice that ultimately paved the way to political revolution. In today’s Ukraine, while the nation’s democratic body politic is under threat more violently than any time in its independent history, foriegn politicians and media continue to claim that Ukraine’s independence, its freely chosen geopolitical associations, and its agency as a nation state are provocations that can in some way excuse Russian aggression.
Published 10 October 2022
Anna Manankina is an interdisciplinary media artist from Kharkiv, Ukraine. She works with video, VR and AR, installation, sound, 3D-animation, and printing. She investigates the topics of posthumanism and feminism, power structures, violence and gender identity. She is a finalist of the program EXTER, fellow of the Gaude Polonia program, artist in residence of REMAIN Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau in Dresden, and a finalist of NonStopMedia, biennale for young artists in Kharkiv. Her projects have been exhibited in Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine