Mader documents Romain’s trip to Ekaterina, where he seeks his future wife. This imaginary city in Ukraine is mysteriously populated only by women, all named Ekaterina, each hoping to find a rich western husband. In an utterly naive narration by Romain about his search for the one and only Ekaterina, a series of stereotypes take the stage, from Mader performing as an oblivious western sex tourist, to interchangeable Ukrainian brides, up to the “typical” Soviet backdrop of the whole quest for love. The gap between preconceived ideas about a place like Ukraine and its reality is what is constantly exploited to the point of absurdity in Mader’s work. In a photographic language that perfectly employs the conventions of documentary photography, the confusion between what is fictitious and what’s real – or what seems real – ultimately arises as a goal in itself.

Text by Mirjam Kooiman (Curator at Foam)