October 23 – November 13, 2015



Letters to the Mayor: Mariupol is part of the international project resulting from the Letters to the Mayor exhibition, organized by Storefront for Art and Architecture in April 2014. Letters to the Mayor invited architects from more than 20 global cities to write to their respective mayors.


The city of Mariupol was chosen as the site for the project immediately in advance of its elections. It is one of several cities in Ukraine facing the challenges of rebuilding and reimagining itself while facing intense and ongoing conflict due to its strategic location. IZOLYATSIA’s temporary “Office of the Mayor” is symbolically located near the City Hall building that was destroyed during conflict involving separatists.


The components of the exhibition are: 


The Office of the Mayor: The mayor’s office is designed to reflect the organizer’s perspectives of the plushness and privilege of city bureaucracy in Mariupol, with a salon chair for the mayor and furry chairs and a desk for industry lobbyists and oligarchs.


The Architect’s Desk: This simple and unadorned small wooden desk is located in the corner of the room, physically and symbolically outside the field of influence of political power. It position represents the state of architecture in the city, with only five official architects registered in Mariupol.


The Wallpaper: Designed by Marina Samokhina, a visual and graphic artist born in Horlivka who now resides in Kyiv, the wallpaper is created in “Old Soviet Style,” and features imagery of the heavy industry that pollutes the city, along with nautical motif that refer to its position on the sea. The symbol of buoys represents a gesture to save a drowning city, plagued by the loss of business, identity, hope, and a significant portion of its population.



Letters to the Mayor is part of Storefront for Art and Architecture’s initiative Architecture Conflicts, a project which purpose is to identify pressing issues, ongoing conflicts, and design solutions in relation with the most important urban problems today. Architecture Conflicts is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.