Article on the project « Looking for Lenin », published in National Geographic, 24/02/2017
Did you know Vladimir Illych Lenin was « only » 1,65 meter-tall? Yet a hundred years ago he was shaking the world. Over the course of the 20th century, monuments to his glory would be made outsized and impressive. Until this moment, when they fell down and disappeared.
Now Lenin kind of rises again – in National Geographic! As you know Niels Ackermann and I have been wandering across Ukraine for many months to look for toppled monuments and document their fate. Our « Looking for Lenin » project researches Ukraine’s decommunisation process and its impact. Many thanks to Sarah Stacke to understand it so well in her text!
This publication allows us to announce the upcoming publication of our book on the project: « Looking for Lenin » will be available worldwide this summer. Published by FUEL Design & Publishing and a French language edition by Éditions Noir sur Blanc ! Foreword by Myroslava Hartmond)
As excited as we are, it seems this is only the beginning… More news coming soon. Hence don’t to like and follow our Facebook AfterLenin page (which will soon be renamed Looking for Lenin) to keep updated!
“I’d say on average it’s one week of work for one Lenin,” says photographer Niels Ackermannn of the project, “Looking for Lenin.” Jointly produced with French journalist Sebastien Gobert, the series currently includes images of 70 different statues of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin that were toppled in Ukraine’s quest to rid the landscape of Soviet symbols.
That’s about 490 days that Ackermann and Gobert have dedicated to tracking down and photographing Lenin in places like storage units, dumpsters, car trunks, closets, fields, artist studios, and museums. Each image hides a unique story of the bureaucracy they hurdled and the estimated 6,000 miles traveled in Ukraine to discover what might turn out to be only Lenin’s beard, elbow, or nose. “It’s like an addiction,” says Swiss-born Ackermann of the chase.