On 6 October 2018, 30-year-old television journalist Victoria Marinova was brutally raped and murdered in the Bulgarian city of Ruse. Her violent death threw a harsh spotlight not only on widespread corruption, but also on the unsafe working conditions for journalists dedicated to the subject. The debate abruptly died down after only 48 hours when Severin K., a 21-year-old man of Roma descent, was arrested as the perpetrator. The Vienna-based photographer Eugenia Maximova uses a photo-documentary approach to oppose this comfortable silence and establishes a larger socio-political context in the book. Furthermore, she deals with the emotional impact, because Maximova is also personally affected: The murdered journalist had been her sister-in-law and friend.
Maximova explicitly opposes the portrayal of violence in the mainstream media. Instead, she captures elegiac views of the city of Ruse, empty spaces, many of which are in a desolate state, yet not without beauty. The project creates a subjective topography of the murder by following not one but two paths: that of Victoria Marinova and that of her suspected murderer Severin K., as they both move through the post-communist cityscape until their paths cross on the banks of the Danube. In the process, a third trail emerges: that of the artist herself.
Eugenia Maximova, * in Ruse, Bulgaria. Lives and works in Vienna.