Information on the life of Leningraders during the blockade is often partial or out of reach. It is known that it was forbidden to speak and write about many things. We know that there was almost no food in the city for two and a half years. But what exactly does this fact mean? There were almost no materials for studying the various stages of starvation of Leningraders or the mechanisms of their survival. Nevertheless, the diary of I.I.Zhilinsky has survived to this day, where the author carefully wrote down everything that made up his existence, from reflections on the war to small everyday details.
The author of these notes did everything in his power to save himself and his family, while avoiding a descent into a life of crime. However, in spite of a very competent strategy (from a nutritional point of view, in conditions of severe hunger), his wife and mother still died.
Anastasia Kizilova’s installation – presented in the form of a calendar, the dates of which correlate with the dates of the diary of I.I.Zhilinsky, and with the exact number of food items consumed by one family member per day – is a white rectangular monolith almost four meters long. From a distance, it resembles a modestly set table with several elements of the meal – a samovar, kitchen tiles, kitchen scales. Coming closer, you can see small marks at the edge of the table with exact dates, which continue in scanty crumbs: bread, millet, dried orange peels, wood glue, sawdust … The installation is accompanied by the audio sound of the diary.
“The Kitchen of Hunger” was shown in St. Petersburg and Krasnoyarsk at the exhibition “Quiet Voices” (curated by Lyudmila Belova) and in Hamburg at the 900 UND ETWA 26000 TAGE exhibition, Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany (Curators: Lyudmila Belova, Haim Sokol, Mikhaela Meilan).