On the lower part there is some text with the title in Ukrainian “only love and truth can help to defeat evil and falsehood”. And a text about the sign of the cross.
I have no real knowledge of Ukraine and of what it’s like to live and grow up there [especially at time of publication], and at best a summarial knowledge of its modern history — without a translation I would probably be in trouble on this front. I recognise that, at a glance, Kurmaz’ work might be seen as just another edition in an excessively-published niche: male photographer depicts gritty, sex-rich lifestyle; lots of pictures of naked women; visually or conceptually clever but somewhat morally questionable (think Araki).
It says on spread no.6 — “to the greater extent I’m interested in the inner space of a man (human), its social and psychic manifestations.”
Contrary to that trend, I find Poisonous Berries to come from a warm and in some ways quite loving viewpoint, one full of joy yet tinged with anxiety. From these pages, I read a repudiation to these histories. This is what makes Poisonous Berries work for me, and I am not convinced that experiencing it well depends on knowing the translations; Biblical collage vibes quite consistently across cultures, especially when counterposed against images such as Kurmaz’s.
In that picture above, there is a feeling that ‘the heart’ is not just a romantic metaphor, nor is it the locus of some transcendental spirit. Nor is it like the simple ♥ ideograph we draw in love-letters. It is real flesh, and the emotional and sexual desires that ‘the heart’ are also used to speak of are no less physical, no less something to embrace in the here, and now.
You can mention me just as Doukhneaux. By this “pseudonym” it’s more likely I could be found on the net than by my real name in Russian.
Bronze Age Editions