Katya Lesiv I love you 8.3.–7.4.2024

Hippolyte Studio

One day I bought an unbloomed white peony from an older woman at the market. As it blossomed, it became remarkably showy and beautiful. Then, on May 24th, I bought another unbloomed peony from the same woman and put them in two glasses of water side by side. The first one kept unfurling its petals with each passing hour, while the second had just begun unfolding its petals. The next day, they were equally showy and beautiful. Two days later, the first peony withered while the second remained showy and beautiful.

– Katya Lesiv

I love you,
a photographic project by artist Katya Lesiv, is about stages of maturity and about appreciating their natural manifestations. It serves as a documentary account, illustrating how the rhythms of life overlap for two particular peonies. By exploring the cyclical nature of every living being, death emerges as an inevitable and uncontrollable aspect. Through examining the completion of this cycle, it became evident to Lesiv that none of the different stages of life have ever been under human control.

The original medium of I love you is an art book published in 2020, a collaboration with IST Publishing in Ukraine. The book allows the project to find intimate contact with individuals, finding its place in every unique space where it is situated. For the first time, I love you is presented as an exhibition in Hippolyte Studio with black and white photographic works and text. The documentation of peony flowering is complemented by an imaginary dialogue between two fictional characters.

Katya Lesiv
(b. 1993, Ukraine) is a visual artist and photographer from Ukraine, currently living and working in Finland. In 2017, Lesiv graduated with an MA from the National Academy of Fine Art and Architecture in Kyiv. Lesiv works with the topics of cyclicality, physicality, emotional and sensitive experience, and motherhood. She works in various mediums such as art books, photography, objects, installations, graphics, and moving images. She is particularly interested in the presentation of a book as an object within a physical space. Her book, Lullaby 1, was featured in How We See: Photobooks by Women, a compilation of 100 photography books by female photographers published by 10×10 Photobooks in New York. In 2022, Lesiv’s art book I love you was shortlisted by Aperture PhotoBook Awards.

The artists’ work has been supported by the Ukrainian Solidarity Residency program and the Helsinki International Artist Program (HIAP).



Katya Lesiv
I love you
Hippolyte Studio


image: Katya Lesiv, I love you, 2020