The grain in Ukrainian granaries has become a global symbol in the struggle for survival of millions of people. Besides daily bread, how important is spiritual and intellectual nourishment in sustaining human beings in existential distress and war?
How do humans perceive the quiet tones of poetry and literature when bombs are falling?
WAR BREAD is the title of a series of videos recorded during the war months by Ukrainian students of Taras Shevchenko University in Kiev, mostly with their cell phones.
The protagonists read an excerpt from their favorite literature and then provide insight into why a particular story or poem is of such great significance to them.
The videos served as the basis for a discursive exchange with Maryna Bielinska, a lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Taras Shevchenko University until 2022, about the impact of literature and art in times of war. Maryna Bielinska is co-initiator of the series WAR BREAD.
Shell splinters, panzer cookies and Liegnitz bombs – the wartime baked goods can still be found today in the displays of pastry shops, and the commissary bread continues to refer to its original purpose as army supplies.
The kitchen table at home becomes a battlefield on which maneuvers can be simulated with homemade butter cookies: Depending on the battle situation, the Puma crumbles the Marder or the T72 breaks the Leopard.
Even beyond military conflicts, we use our language to drop bombs and rush through everyday life in the heat of the moment: On all fronts, we fight against the evils of an existence that is intrinsically peaceful. What reality is created by a language that speaks of war in peace? How can linguistic disarmament succeed?
In the attic of the Museum of Bread and Art in Ulm, Germany, the videos of students from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv were on display in ammunition boxes between bales of straw from July to September 2022. This was accompanied by spike bread, shell cookies, war confectionery and commissary bread.
The installation KRIEGSBÄCKEREI -WARBREAD was realized in collaboration with the ladies HLAIBA Lana Svirezheva, Claudia Snow, Elke Wiese, Larissa Soroko, Liudmyla Dybka, Manuela Ammon, Oksana Moskovchenko, Oksana Ostapchenko, Svitlana Svoboda Zinchenko, Vasileva Elmuradova