Skip to main content

Long live archive or the adventures of Iryna Pap’s oeuvre

09_An envelope titled Stay in Kyiv of the King and Queen of Nepal_1958_Iryna Pap Estate_foto Valery Miloserdov
Tuesday, April 25, 2023, 5:40 pm – 7:20 pm

The body of photographic work produced by Iryna Pap (1917–1985), for Izvestia newspaper which documents life in the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic in 1957–72 may well represent a visual canon of the epoch. Pap’s archive forgotten at the Izvestia editorial office in Kyiv after her death in 1985, was discovered by a photo correspondent Valery Miloserdov in 1991. Already in 1992, he took the first attempts to make it public, although it attracted professionals and general audience attention only in mid 2010s. Therefore, the trajectory of Pap’s archive, that consists of numbered and dated envelopes containing some 1,200 negatives, mirrors the transformations of public interest in the Soviet past that have been taking place in the Ukrainian society since Independence (1991). Total indifference in the 90s, limited interest in the following decade or attempts to commercialize the past and a rediscovery fueled by “archival impulse” in 2010s, followed by decolonial struggle synthesizes the ongoing transformations of collective memory in Ukraine. 

Kateryna Filyuk is a curator and PhD student at the University of Palermo. Between 2017 and 2021 she served as a Chief Curator at Izolyatsia, A Platform for Cultural Initiatives (Kyiv). The co-founder of the publishing house 89books in Palermo, she has participated in curatorial programs at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin, 2017), De Appel (Amsterdam, 2015–16), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Seoul, 2014); and the Gwangju Biennale (2012). She holds a master’s degree in philosophy from Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University.