Project

Golden Den: Rowdy fashion session within the walls of Mezhygorye

Ukrainian photographer Valentin Bo set up a fashion shoot for the Fashion Week Internationale Program inside the former residence of Viktor Yanukovych.

The creators of the Fashion Week Internationale Program (a project of the US publication Vice) arrived in Kiev for the 32nd Ukrainian Fashion Week this spring, in March. The country was still feverish from the events on Maidan. President Viktor Yanukovych was on the run. The abandoned residence in Mezhygorye became open to all who wanted to visit, and street photographer Valentin Bo and the Vice shooting crew took advantage of the opportunity.

Валентин Бо
age 29Valentin Bo,
From Lutsk, graduated from the Architecture Institute of the National University “Lviv Polytechnic”, resides and works in Kiev.
Member of photogroup “4in1” (with Maria Voynova, Ivan Chernichkin and Yury Salabay) and “Ukrainian Photo Alternative” (UPHA), cowrote photo book “Flow”. Valentin’s pieces have been displayed at “Ya Gallery” in Kiev, Gallery KG52 in Stockholm and “Vinzavod” in Moscow.

Idea

At the beginning of May, a week before the “referendum” in Crimea, when the fires of the revolution were still burning, but the preparations for the 32nd Ukrainian Fashion Week already started, I got a phone call from firm Fixer Ukraine and was offered to work with the guys from Vice on the special about the Fashion Week. This material was meant for their program Fashion Week Internationale.

They looked through my works, and were satisfied with what they saw. I’m not familiar with the fashion industry and was rather surprised by such an offer. I think they chose me because Vice is a somewhat mischievous publication, known for their snobbery and black humor. I doubt they would summon me to shoot languishing beauties for Vogue. Another thing that bribed me was the choice of the shooting location. “The dwelling of evil” which, until recently, was well hidden from the public eye, suddenly rolled out the red carpet for the group of common folk from another civilization.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_01.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 1”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_02.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 2”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_03.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 3”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_04.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 4”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_05.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 5”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_06.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 6”
}

Spirit of revolution

Vice set the task of engaging Ukrainian designers, whose collections reflected the revolutionary reality of the country, into the shoot. The difficulties began from here. Over the course of only a few hours we had to convince a designer to agree to participate, select clothing pieces, locate a stylist. We wrapped up all the preparations practically minutes before the shoot, thanks to Olimpia Whitemustache (artistic alias of Olimpia Belous). She actually ended up being our stylist.

I wanted to stir up dissonance within the walls of this temple of tastelessness and corruption. I’m sure that even in his worst nightmare our “leader” couldn’t imagine that a mulatto girl will be riding his fancy crafted side table, or that his bedroom dresser with legs made out of triceratops’s horns will be adorned with Molotov cocktails.

The golden guilt started to melt from all this nonsense. Allegorically speaking, we organized a rave-party while visiting the Pope of Rome.


{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_14_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 14”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_07_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 7”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_08_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 8”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_09_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 9”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_10_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 10”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_11_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 11”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_12_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 12”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/mezhgorie_13_hor.jpg”,
“alt”: “Valentin Bo 13”
}

Result

Out of all the rooms I was going to shoot at we were allowed to use only the large one with a fireplace, so we had to improvise and dance in circles. I can’t say that I’m ecstatic about the work that we did, but overall I’m rarely happy with results. I wouldn’t call it a project in full sense – it was too spontaneous for a project, besides we had no definite goal in mind when we came up with the scenario. It was a decent experiment, and we were the first actors in this theater of absurdity, and that we have the documented proof of.

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