Ukraine – Cent visages cachés / Ukraine – A Hundred Hidden Faces

“Some have taken up arms, some are making camouflage nets or Molotov cocktails, others are working on logistics or helping the injured… They are the Ukrainian civil resistance, those who gave up their past life to fight.

These are the people you see in these pictures, these are their hopes, their fears… their faces will remain invisible… for the moment. To protect them while many will certainly be led to continue the struggle in hiding. 

But one day these faces will appear to the eyes of all, these faces that I have photographed for later. These faces will appear on the day Ukraine regains its sovereignty. That will be the day when the resistance wins.”

The exhibition brings together one hundred portraits taken in March 2022 by Emeric Lhuisset. If no faces are visible, it is because the people photographed all belong to the Ukrainian civil resistance and are now fighting clandestinely. The series echoes the project Maydan – Hundred Portraits carried out in Kyiv in September 2014. There, Lhuisset took photographs of 100 demonstrators who became revolutionaries on Maydan Square, the famous independence square in the heart of the Ukrainian capital. Lhuisset photographed 100 people there as a tribute to the 100 who died during the Mayan revolution – the large-scale, severely repressed protest movement that led to the overthrow of the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014. This violent revolution, caused by the Ukrainian president’s refusal to sign an association agreement with Europe, was seen by the Russian government as a betrayal of the Ukrainian people. Putin then annexed Crimea and supported pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. The war that had been going on since 2014 escalated on Thursday 24 February 2022, with a massive Russian invasion of the entire Ukraine. On 13 March 2022, Lhuisset returned to Ukraine to take another 100 photographs, this time of Ukrainian resistance fighters. In 2014, the photographer had asked his subjects two questions: “What do you hope will happen next?”, “What do you think will happen?”. Eight years later, Lhuisset asks the same questions to the members of the Ukrainian civil resistance. Their answers are as moving and disturbing as before.

A project realized with the support of Paradox and André Frère Editions.

Emeric Lhuisset (France, 1983) graduated from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris and the Ecole Normale Supérieure Ulm – Centre de géostratégie / Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. In parallel to his artistic practice, he teaches contemporary art and geopolitics at Sciences Po. Exhibited and collected in many museums, Lhuisset has won various awards, including the British Journal of Photography International Photography Award 2020, the BMW Residency for Photography 2018, and the Grand Prix Images Vevey – Leica Prize 2017. He is the author of four books. His portraits of Ukrainian resistance fighters are published in 2022 by André Frère Editions and Paradox (Ydoc) and follow the book Maydan – Hundred portraits, released by the same publishers in 2014.