• Iveta Feldmane Art academy of Latvia, Latvia



Affect theory, trauma, painting, Maria Zenkova


The war in Ukraine has dramatically altered the fate of many people, forcing them to make difficult decisions or even leaving them down a blind alley. The only choice for Ukrainian artist Maria Zenkova (1992) to escape the war was to leave her home, her job and sane environment in Kiev. Now Maria is a refugee and her new home is in Riga. The aim of the article is to find out how the anxiety of war affects the artist’s life. How does disturbing news from her homeland affect her art? The representation of traumatic and affective experience in artwork is an issue where Affect theory can be used as a theoretical tool. The author interprets Maria Zenkova’s artistic practice, highlighting some of the recent artworks. The interpretation of the artworks, along with the artist’s own commentary, is based on the Affect theory, where an affect is viewed as an intense force that affects the body at the biological and emotional level. The article concludes that, despite the apparent denial, the theme of war appears in Maria Zenkova’s art in the form of affective figures. The artist’s active involvement in practices of collective support shows that in crisis situations such actions are even more important than the exhibition as an art event.

Supporting Agencies
The article presents the research carried out within the ESF project “Development of academic staff – approbation of doctoral grant approach and attraction of foreign academic staff at the Latvian Academy of Culture, the Art Academy of Latvia and Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music” (No.


Download data is not yet available.


Bennett, J. (2005). Empathic Vision: affect, trauma, and contemporary art. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.

Deleuze, G., Guattari, F. (1994). What Is philosophy? NY: Columbia University Press, p. 175.

Deleuze, G. (2003). Francis Bacon: the logic of sensation. London, NY: Continuum.

Groys, B. (2008). Art power. London: The MIT Press, p. 120.

Pollock, G. (2013). After-affects/After-images: Trauma and aesthetic transformation in the virtual feminism museum. Manchester: Manchester, UP, pp. 4–5.

Ott, B. (2017). Affect in Critical Studies. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communica­tion, pp. 1–26. ( (viewed 22.03.2021)