The first stage of the multimedia project "Impersonal" 2020-2023
Project location: Group exhibitions "My Home Somewhere " 2024, Vantaa Art Museum ARTSI, Vantaa, Finland
Project location: Exhibition "Cannibals, Kings and Gifts" 2022, CISTERNA DI PALAZZO ACQUAVIVA – ATRI, Pescara, Italy

My name is Spartak Khachanov. I am a multimedia artist from Ukraine.I am a political refugee and artist in exile. I have lived at the Vantaa refugee centre since January 27, 2020 (1 year 9 months). After an exhibition during my study time at the Kiev Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in December 2018 - January 2019, I was faced with growing threats to my art, life and well-being from far-right forces in Ukraine. Starting with threats from a professor at the Academy, nationalist groups, in particular the notorious group C14, threatened my life. Artists at Risk (AR) intervened, and brought me to Helsinki, where I was a MOBILE Resident at HIAP until January 2020 in the frame of the AR - Safe Haven Helsinki project.

I was born in 1984 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Because of the growing aggressive attitude of the local population towards the Armenian population in Azerbaijan, I had to leave for Armenia with my parents. When I was 7 years old, due to the deterioration of the economic situation and the beginning of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, I moved with my parents to Snizhne, Ukraine. The town Snizhne is located in the Donetsk Oblast, which has been in war since 2014. The themes of war and immigration have been close to me since my birth, and they still haunt me like my shadow. Also the theme of identity - of who I am and where I come from - can be seen in my work.

While living in the refugee centre, I am exploring its inner and outer spaces. I visually touch the space and analyse it. I document it in the form of photographs, video and sound sketches. I analyse the refugee centre in the context of its space, and through the angle of an advertising designer. I am working on the development and creation of the visual identity of a refugee centre. The work touches upon many aspects of refugee life such as activities, environment, nutrition and food, everyday life, as well as interaction with the environment outside the centre.

When I was still living in Ukraine, I had no idea what a refugee centre was and who lived there. Suddenly, because of the threats and persecution, I had to leave my country. The reason for the persecution was my art. I ended up in the refugee centre, and I experienced the charm of this place myself. A refugee centre is like a black hole in the urban space or in the place it is located. There is no sense of time in the centre. Every day is repeated and everything is the same. The place is slowly killing everything inside you. From the place where you were born and where you lived, they took you away like trash. And the new society where you arrived is in no hurry to accept or even to notice you. The refugees are stuck between the past and the future, being somewhere in the middle, in a strange position. They cannot return to their homeland, and their future is vague.

The importance of 'Impersonal' lies in the fact that it aims to draw the curtain and show up close to the Finnish society what the refugee centre is, and what problems people are faced with there.
Photo installation
During my stay in the refugee centre, I've been taking photographs using an iPhone 7. I stick the photos that suit me to the middle of a paper plate, which I take from the centre's canteen. I create decorative plates hung on walls with images of residents from the refugee centre, the centre's interiors, photographs of the outdoor environment, and everyday objects surrounding the refugees.

Photograph: Spartak Khachanov
Installation 'Menu Board'
For a year, I daily photographed the food that is provided at the refugee centre. For this installation, I turn to painting. I draw either from "live" food or from the photographs I took to depict what refugees eat in the canteen. The canvases will also contain my thoughts about the dishes in the menu, "a food review".
Video work
The video introduces the viewer to the place. It shows the location of the refugee centre, its surroundings, the interior (corridors, restrooms, showers and rooms, where refugees stay), aspects of everyday life, entertainment, recreation, food, etc.
There is a construction site around the refugee centre. It is visible from the window of my room. I watch cranes, excavators, and tractors daily. For the sculptures, I use plastic cutlery from the centre's canteen. With the help of glue, I connect the cutlery to each other, creating machines that are used in the construction site such as cranes, tractors, excavators, and various other objects.
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