Six woman in traditional slavic dress sit on a darkened stage, looking out towards the auditorium.
Still from The Theatre of War, Stanislava Pinchuk, 2024

The Mordant Family Commission for Young Australian Artists

Stanislava Pinchuk: The Theatre of War

World Premiere



Mon 19 Feb – Sun 9 Jun 2024

10am – 5pm daily

Homer’s ancient war poem The Iliad reverberates in today’s world of unrelenting armed conflict.

A Ukrainian soldier trains to defend his country. A choir sings in a Sarajevo theatre once used to stage defiant performances during the Bosnian War. Youths gather at the tomb of Homer on the island of Ios in the Mediterranean, through which asylum seekers make their treacherous journeys. Three performances reframe the opening lines of Homer's epic tale of rage, where victory intertwines with grief and loss.

The Iliad, one of the earliest and most significant texts in Western literature, is set nine years into the Trojan war, and describes how the Greek warrior Achilles refuses to join the battle, due to his wrath at a slight by fellow Greek warrior Agamemnon. Achilles relents only when his closest friend is killed. Stanislava Pinchuk sets her work nine years into the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. She weaves together three charged performances which draw on the oral and folk traditions from which The Iliad evolved. Just as the poem contains many gruesome descriptions of death on the battlefield, so do these performers focus our attention on both the lifeforce and vulnerability of bodies in contemporary 'theatres of war'.

Stanislava Pinchuk is the 2019 recipient of the Mordant Family Moving Image Commission for Young Australian Artists.

The Mordant Family Moving Image Commission for Young Australian Artists is created in partnership with Professor Cav. Simon Mordant AO and Catriona Mordant AM, the City of Melbourne, John Allsopp from Web Directions, and ACMI.

Commission partners


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Gallery 3, Ground Floor
ACMI, Fed Square

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Content warning

The Theatre of War includes simulated battle scenes, loud noises and coarse language.


Three-channel video work

Achilles didn't go to Heaven

The notion of a "glorious death" has been used to justify war for centuries – and it echoes throughout good vs evil stories in popular culture.

Read the essay by Alexandra Gaidovskaia
social - achilles didn't go to heaven by Alexandra Gaidovskaia

Read more about the work

Stanislava Pinchuk - photograph by James Hartley

About Stanislava Pinchuk

Stanislava Pinchuk is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses drawing, data mapping, video and installation to explore war and conflict zones. Through topography – the detailed study and description of the physical features of a landscape – her work surveys how place holds memory and bears testament to political events. Pinchuk also creates tattoos by hand. Recent exhibition highlights include Manifesta 14, Prishtina, and The 2022 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art.

Born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Pinchuk moved to Australia at age 10 and currently lives in Sarajevo.

Juanitas - Zanny Begg - The Beehive

About ACMI Commissions

We support the creation of new works by providing artists with the time and resources to nurture and develop ideas, to pursue cross-disciplinary collaborations and to work at a scale that would not otherwise be possible.

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