Intellectuals of the West find it difficult to acknowledge the validity of the ascertained, of implied simplicity received on the brink of war as part of the deal, as it were, rather than developed in a complex thought process. Moreover, calling for freedom and democracy to be defended by force based on solidarity hints at aggressive romanticism, a thing contradicting common sense. The rational mind has a tendency to combine incomparable matters in shared space, weighing ditches full of Ukrainian corpses against heating costs. Aspiring to impartiality, rationality shields humans against their capacity for feeling.

The near-sightedness of rational perception is the admonition of evil in pure form which has descended upon mankind, hazardous in its blinding glare. One may well suppose that the world finds it convenient to close its eyes to crimes committed in the open, dazzling and rational light shed upon them. Is that the kind of light Ukrainians have in mind in their daily prayer, “Light, may you become my weapon!”?

In this day and age, intellectuals of the West find themselves hostage to the double image of the Soviet regime; having once taken immense care to camouflage its crimes, the regime is now committing them in the open many years later, wielding its dream of a better future like a diabolical lure.

In all actuality, mankind has been failing to put its best foot forward ever since the Soviet Union’s downfall; in its perpetual trust that the communist ideal will ultimately become reality, it has been refusing to frankly admit that while condemning Nazism, it has remained oblivious to Soviet crime.

In paraphrasing Adam Zagajewski, it may well be claimed that it was convenient to see some things while occasionally failing to notice them.

The visible may be distant from what it seems to be while overlaying its own boundaries. It is high time that we query the visual arts what is their purpose today, reality swiftly developing along the frontlines. As it were, art’s sensitive mechanism has a capacity for exacerbating the matter of boundaries as a disintegration-preventing structure. War has brought into clear focus that delineating an object in its existence is no guarantee. All in all, artistic accountability translates into political capacity of language, becoming a foundation for expression which, when misrepresented, simply does not occur rather than lose something of its quality. Socialist ideology has been destroying the concept of private property – or, to put things bluntly, assets (defined as material goods and virtue) – as a guarantee of the presence of the human in existence for such an extended period of time that left-wing intellectuals have until this day remained under the spell of the concept of an alternative world, transnational and cross-border in nature. Conversely and in point of fact, reality is singular and irreplaceable, the current war waged for boundaries indeed – to be specific, boundaries of the human.

Vlada Ralko, September 24th 2022, Białystok

*The project was supported by ChervoneChorne Art Group