Olena Subach was born in Chervonohrad, Lviv region, Ukraine. She obtained Master’s degree in Economics in Volyn State University (Lutsk, Ukraine). Soon she moves to Kyiv and starts to work as a textile designer. Olena comes to photography in 2011, living in Lviv and joining 5×5/Dzyga art community. She works with topics of small cities, religion, mythology and identity. She uses photography as a tool for playing with facts and beliefs, mixing documentary, staging, computer editing and handcrafting into her unique and emotional visual language.
Projects “Retablos de Galicia” and «Sacrifice» were dedicated to revival of religion in western Ukraine after 40 years of being forbidden in Soviet state. Her projects “Superheroes” and “Meteority Berdychev” speaks about small Ukrainian cities, like the one she grew up in. Provincial, poor and abandoned, looking for a hero or waiting for an Armageddon. Elena is a winner of New East Photo Bigmag Special Prize 2016. She took part in several group art projects and exhibitions in Georgia, Germany, France, UK, Poland and Ukraine. Now based in Lviv, Ukraine.
Elena was born in Chervonohrad, a coal-mining town in western Ukraine.
A small Galician city of Krystynopil was “transferred” from soviet Poland to soviet Ukraine in 1951 to exploit its newly discovered coal deposits and renamed Chervonohrad — “The Red City”. In spite of that, due to its location on the border, Chervonohrad had access to Polish radio and TV, which were much more open than any media available in most of Ukraine.
A great impact on Elena had her grandfather who was a painter and were making icons for local churches and a library of her father.
Elena obtained Master’s degree in Economics in Volyn State University. Later she spent some time working as a textile designer in Kyiv and Lviv.
Elena comes to photography around 2012, joining “5×5 / Dzyga” art community. Since then, she participated in dozens of exhibitions, projects and residencies around Europe.
In 2019 Elena starts to do a curatorial work at Lviv National Art Gallery.
Selected Exhibitions oder Awards
2020 — Posters on walls of Hamburg, Galerie 21 im Künstlerhaus Vorwerkstift
2019 — Heroic Trip, Szara gallery (Katowice, Poland)
2019 — City of Gardens, EEP Berlin
2018 — Subach / Poliakov, The Naked Room gallery (Kyiv)
2022 — Death and the Maiden – Der Tod und das Mädchen, Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien
2022 — Tell them about battles, meteors and eggplant caviar, Simultania (Strasbourg, FR)
2022 — “In Ukraine” at the Gallery at Dobbin Mews (New York)
2022 — ”Slava Ukraini” at Czwartek gallery (Warsaw)
2022 — Unfolding landscapes at Art Centre Silkeborg Bad (Denmark)
2021 — “Sensitivity. Contemporary Ukrainian photography” at Mystetskyi Arsenal (Kyiv)
2022 — Secondary Archive by Katarzyna Kozyra Foundation
2021 — Odesa Photo Days festival, main exhibition “Who is next to you?”, Museum of Odesa Modern Art
2020 — Staged Realities, Outdoor Exhibition by OSTLOOK+EEP Berlin. Part of “POSTWEST \\ guess where” at Transcultural Festival, Volksbühne Berlin
2019 — Woven Matter at Unseen (Amsterdam)
2019 — Between Fire and Fire: Ukrainian Art Now. By Ukrainian Institute at Semperdepot (Wien)