Ukrainian Folk Costume Through Eternity: Dima Leonenko’s Collages

During blackouts, photographer Dima Leonenko created a series of collages dubbed The End of Eternity in which he put Ukrainians wearing folk costumes in otherworldly, cosmic, and futuristic environments constructed from old book and magazine cut-outs.
Dima Leonenko

A Kyiv-based street photographer.

— I have always been captivated by paper collages. When I came upon a set of postcards, I felt it was an excellent opportunity to take a foray into this kind of art. While at it, I read Isaac Asimov’s novel The End of Eternity of the same name as published in Ukrainian by Dnipro publishing house in 1990. This is where I got the idea for the name of my series.

Meanwhile, my library of photo albums, magazines, and postcards started growing, most dating back to the 1960s–1990s. They provided a lot of material for my work. For instance, I made my first collage with cut-outs from a book about an Indonesian temple Borobudur.

I had worked on this series since summer for about 6 months. At times, I completed a collage and made another one a month later. Other times, only a couple of days passed between the two. It all depended on whatever material I had. When blackouts began in October, my work gathered pace because natural light was enough for making collages.

When blackouts began, my paper collage work gathered pace.

In general, it was an intriguing experience. It made me realize that one can discover so much from books. Sometimes, I felt those things couldn’t be found on the internet. Quite a few photo publications are still undigitized, so you can only see some photos or illustrations if you are holding the actual book in your hands. It makes them incredibly valuable and inspirational.

The collages became a welcome distraction from street photography, letting me shift my overall focus. After all, I shot the streets of Kyiv so much this year, and sometimes it was rather hectic. Collaging, on the other hand, is a meditative process. You just sit peacefully, make cut-outs, leaf through books, and realize a lot of things. I also found it curious that sometimes we create by destroying. They say nothing is constant except change — everything moves and transforms.

science fiction novel about the activities of the “Eternity” organization, which exists outside of time.

Buddhist temple is located in central Java. The monument of Indonesian architecture and sculpture dating from the 8th and 9th centuries.

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