Happiness in Charkiv, Ukraine

Happiness, Charkiv 2015

Happiness, Charkiv 2015

Creating happiness in Charkiv by adding some glamour and text.

2015 Hotel Deco Busting

Intervention Against Tasteless Wall Decorations in Hotels and Holiday Apartments. (Part 13)
Intervention gegen geschmacklose Wanddekoration in Hotelzimmern und Ferienwohnungen.

On my recent trip to the Ukraine to prepare an exhibition and workshop I have been staying in Hotel Kharkow (Charkiv) in the centre of town. I am sure this hotel has seen better times, especially the rooms, but still it was a pleasant stay.

The room’s wall decoration (I cannot call it art) was made to match the pillow cases and duvet covers. Or was it the other way around? I do not know. Anyway it was neither particularly pretty nor interesting.

With my hotel deco busting projects I try to add value, to improve on what I find and to add some original touch. I also like to do this in an unobtrusive way and hope that my additions will bring some joy and happiness to those who notice them.

The country and citizens have been through a hard time with the war happening in the eastern Ukraine, only 100km away from Charkiv. Keeping that in mind, I wanted to bring back some of the old glamour which I imagine this hotel and city had. And add a sparkle of happiness.

I found out the Ukrainian spelling of the word Happiness and added these letters to the wall decoration with a gold pen. Looking at the artwork from the front, you almost do not notice the difference, but when you look at it from an angle – for instance as you enter the room –  the golden letters glow beautifully.

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Please click on the images to see a larger view and read the information about them.

Find more similar interventions HERE.

4 thoughts on “Happiness in Charkiv, Ukraine

  1. Ute Osterkamp

      Hallo Imke,


    dein Beitrag zur happiness in Charkiv – wo immer es liegen mag – ist wieder einmal sehr überzeuged. Glück ist sicherlich  ein gutes Mittel gegen alle möglichen Formem der Finsternis. Oder genauer: dein Eingriff wirft unvermeidlich die Frage auf,  was die heile Welt an der Wand mit Glück zu tun hat.


    Ich hänge dir einen Artikel von Rauterberg an, den ich gerade gescannt habe, weil die Gefahren, die er für kiritsche Kunst beschreibt, offensichtlich  auch für kritische Psychologie bestehen . Mal sehen, ob und wie man solche Fallen umgehen kann – ohne gerade mit solchen Versuchen in die nächste Falle zu tappen. 

    Liebe Grüße – Ute




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    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Hallo Ute, den Artikel kann ich hier nicht sehen. Kannst du ihn mir nochmal per Mail schicken bitte?

      Charkiv liegt im Osten der Ukraine, knapp 100km von den Kriegsgebieten entfernt. Es ist die zweitgrößte Stadt in der Ukraine.

      Und ja, ich hoffe das die Antwort auf die Frage was Happiness mit dem Bild oder der Wand, dem Zimmer oder der Stadt zu tun hat, genau mit dieser Intervention beantwortet wird: nämlich Alles. Wir sollen versuchen in allem, selbst im kleinen, das Glück und die Freude zu finden, die überall gegenwärtig ist, wenn wir sie nur erkennen. Bzw uns dazu entscheiden sie zuzulassen. 🙂

  2. Indigo Spider

    Love your sly smile.. we know what you’ve done! 😉

    I have to ask, did you use a ruler or anything to get your lines so straight? Perhaps this is why I’m not an artist, my lines would look all shaky and jagged like a drunk staggering home after 3 days of drinking!

    Overall, how did you find the city holding up during the war? I imagine people walking around in a daze of sorts, trying to get through daily life while still dealing with what is happening to their country.

    1. Imke Rust Post author

      Dear Indigo Spider, thank you. No I had no ruler for the lines, but I did use a folded piece of paper for some guidance… You just have to make a plan. And yes practice also helps for a steady hand…

      Charkiv was interesting as it appears to just be another big city with a normal life. Yet when you start talking a bit more to people, you realise how the war has an effect on everybody, even if the city is a 100km away from the front. People are trying their best to continue as normal as possible. A tense optimism.

      Thank you for your continued interest and exciting comments….! Sending love to you!


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