Special exhibition

The story of Valentin S.

A "Poster Novel" on the Fate of a Ukrainian Forced Labourer by Ihor Tvoronovych

4 August - 23 September 2022

The posters tell the story of Valentin S., who was a Nazi forced labourer during the Second World War. Each image motif reflects a moment in Valentin S.'s story. The posters can be read as a coherent story, they are like a novel in pictures. The works were supplemented by historical illustrations. Today, many victims of Nazi tyranny are again experiencing war in Ukraine. The exhibition is an expression of solidarity.

The story of Valentin S. was passed down in two ways in the family: on a postcard and orally from his sister: Valentin S. was deported from Kyiv to the transit camp Genthin near Berlin. Afterwards he worked with his sister on a farm in the Berlin area. After an argument with the farmer, Valentin was sent to a Westphalian mine as punishment. He fled from there because of the very hard work and hid from the authorities for some time. The last reference to Valentin S. can be found in the lists of the Dachau concentration camp: His name is noted with the date of death 1944. The background to his death is unclear.

Valentin S. was the artist's great uncle. For Ihor Tvoronovych, the poster series is a study of family history. He wants to use it to make certain key moments in history emotionally comprehensible. To do this, he uses methods of product advertising: here, the story of a person is told in order to create an emotional connection to the "consumer". Ihor Tvoronovych uses this principle to enhance the empathetic effect. At the same time, he breaks many motifs ironically and adds modern elements to them. In this way, the artist offers a completely new approach to understanding history - with the help of the new form "poster novella".

The life story of Valentin S. has many points of contact with the fate of other forced labourers - and at the same time is a unique example of the struggle of an oppressed individual against an authoritarian system. The forced labourer Valentin S. was a victim of the Nazi dictatorship. However, he repeatedly rebelled against the regime until his death and demonstrated his own will to act. This is also shown in the exhibition by Ihor Tvoronovych.

About the artist:

Ihor Tvoronovych is a 26-year-old artist, graphic designer and political activist from Kyiv. He led the organisation "Free Education Space". Before the outbreak of war, he taught and did his doctorate at the Faculty of Architecture of the National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture in Kyiv. At the same time, Ihor Tvoronovych gave a course on universal design, volunteers with Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (ASF) and is involved in social projects. His areas of interest include social and political issues of life in Europe, human rights and universal design. Ihor continues to be in Ukraine, due to an illness he has not been drafted into the military. He continues to engage socially with his fellow citizens and draws what he sees.

Opening hours

Tue - Sun 10 - 18 h

Barrack 5

Free admission, wheelchair accessible


Press contact:

Fabian Vögtle

Photos for media