“I Dreamt of summer” is a series by Oleksandr Ivanchenko, which he photographed whilst visiting Ukraine in the summer months of 2015. The images take the viewer to a place, filled with fun, joy and happiness. A place, free of troubles and worries, where one is surrounded by love and care and unburdened by the hardness of the outside world – the place of Oleksandr’s childhood.
Leaving the village at the age of 20 and spending 16 years away, didn’t erase Oleksandr’s memory of the place. The opposite – his memories of long hot summer days by the river or the lake, fishing in the early hours of dawn, riding a bike or playing endlessly outdoors with friends, remained and kept drawing him back to his birthplace for many years.
Using the camera as a tool to investigate his past, Oleksandr returned to his childhood place and immersed himself into familiar surroundings, revisiting the memories and reliving the moments from the time when he was a boy. Driven by the desire to understand his past and to identify its role in the formation of his identity, he summoned his family, friends, neighbors and random people as models, placing them within the scenes of his own memories and dreams.
The title of the series alludes to the author’s wish to experience his childhood again, which he attempted through the medium of its physical location; he wanted to taste that ‘hint of summer’ once again. But when Oleksandr returned to the streets he had roamed as a boy, they were different. They felt different. Time hadn’t stood still throughout the years and everything had changed.
Although, he felt there at home and was overwhelmed by the force of his memories, the artist was met with an inevitable dislocation. He saw himself as a visitor now. As someone who had left that place long ago. A stranger that isn’t a stranger. The one, who would return there again and again, evoked by longing and nostalgia, but now he is an outsider. An outsider, who can only find ‘the summer’ in his dreams and memories – while the same streets, lakes and meadows, he once inhabited, would serve as someone else’s playground for the making of their own memories. olivanchenko.com