The latest offering from Ukrainian artist Daria Marchenko is a 2m-high portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin on canvas – created from 5,000 bullet cartridges brought direct from the frontline in eastern Ukraine.
Marchenko uses a handheld light to bring life to her piece, with shadows dancing and elongating across the Russian premier's face. The artist says she intended for the piece — entitled Face of War — to show Putin peering down at observers, as well as reflecting the energy of war.
"For me the face of war is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, because he gives out these orders and these lies. But with the help of this picture I would like to show that in any case everyone sees everything and to show not only to him, but to all of society as well that war means lives," Marchenko said in Kiev.
The artist says her piece can portray a series of emotions, including evil, regret and pride. She says the work continues to surprise her with new faces, despite spending nearly six months working on it.
Marchenko adds that the particular stories that come with the tools she uses for her work can have a heavy effect on her creative process.
"I understood that if I get too involved I would think too deeply whether for example this shell murdered a man or did not murder, whether it killed a man or not — it is clear that I had this thought — but I cannot think about this and at the same time think about how to create the facial expression of the tyrant more ambiguous, or create the composition in the way that it should be."
All the casings used for her work have been sourced from areas that were under the control of the Ukrainian government. The portrait consists of at least eight different types of bullet cartridges, in a variety of colours, with some corroded and others looking gold. The artist says she worked hard to preserve the colours of the cartridges as they were received by her.
Face of War was shared over 4,000 times on Facebook on the first day that Marchenko revealed it. It is the first piece in a series of five works that will be presented to the public. The series will also include pieces entitled Brain of War, Heart of War, Spirit of War and another item to be announced at the end of Marchenko's project. The creative works will use parts of bombs, grenades, grad shells and other weapons that have been used on the frontline.