photo by Yakov Lobkov

Asya Gefter is an artist and researcher working on practice-based approaches to storytelling, memory and history. Since 2020 she lives in Trieste, between Moscow of her childhood and London of her adulthood, a place she chose for its complexities, mountains and sea. Asya’s photographic and video works examine the crossings of the personal and the political across socio-historical and geographical spaces, often pushing the boundaries between narrative and non-narrative forms. Asya’s discovery of darkroom printing at London’s Chats Palace in mid-2000s led her to the building’s attic, where she found a visual archive, under discarded community arts props, which has shaped her work about Hackney’s radical but hidden past of cultural and political resistance going back to the 1970s. Her multimedia project Fragments of Memory began as an investigation into the interwar avant-garde milieu of the Yiddish poet and critic Debora Vogel, and morphed into a searching meditation on historical memory in the contemporary city of Lviv, Ukraine, where Vogel died in the Holocaust. Asya’s ongoing research Stories of Not Asking and Not Telling contemplates lost and elusive family stories, the complications of broken inheritances, the reciprocity between political repression and familial amnesia, and the experiences reflected in the wider history of the 20th century. 

Asya’s work has been displayed in Bosnia, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, and the UK in solo and group shows. London organisations she worked with include Alexandra PalaceBishopsgate Institute, British MuseumChats Palace, Dash ArtsHackney Archives & MuseumHousmansIngeenium, JW3, Open School East, PhotoVoice, RichMixRowan ArtsSOAS, UK Jewish FilmV&A Museum of Childhood.

Selected work shown in public
2020 Paparazzi Contest / FELLINI. La dolce vita e 8 ½, Magazzino delle Idee di Trieste, Italy, Feb 1-17
2019 Obsolete & Discontinued group show, Magazzini Fotografici, Naples, Italy, Sep-Oct
2019 Workshop presenter, Jewish Roots Workshop, Institute for Polish-Jewish Studies, London, Sep 22 
2018 Conference presenter, Urban Jewish Heritage: Presence and Absence, Krakow, Poland, Sep 3 – 7
2018 Participant at the roundtable Echo of Holocaust in Russia, Moscow, August 21
2018 Artist-in-residence, FestivALT, Krakow, Poland, June 25 – July 4
2018 From Pop Art to Community Arts in Hackney and beyond, East End Film Festival, London, April 28
2018 Dash Café: Lviv on the borders of Europe. Part of Eutopia, Rich Mix, London, Jan 24
2017 Lviv-London Double Impact with Asya Gefter and Mark Tokar, Pushkin House, London, Nov 14
2017 Multimedia Exhibition Fragments of Memory/Пазли Пам’ятi, Museum of Ideas, Lviv,  Sep 14 – Oct 8
2017 Catena Art Residency “Roots”, Workshop video, Berlin, July 17 – 27
2017 British Museum/Hackney Museum Partnership Exhibition Warhol to Walker: American prints from pop art to today, London, July 11 – Sep 16
2017 Show and Tell, London Alternative Photography Collective, The Photographers Gallery, London, June 3
2016 ‘Seed to Harvest’ Sukkot live performance, Dublin, Ireland, October 16
2016 ‘Inundation’ group exhibition, The Greenhouse, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norwich, May 13 – June 12
2015 In the footsteps of Hanukkah, an audio-visual performance at Ziferblat arts space, Moscow, Dec 23
2015 24-hour Hackney: A City Symphony & Hackney in Archives showreelOpen Cinema, London, Nov 21
2015 Closing the Circle – Analogica Collettiva, Analogica festival, Auer, Italy, October 1 – 4
2015 Mike Gray – In Black & White photo exhibition, curated as Fragile Archivists, London, June 4 – Sep 13
2015 Enlarged Lives silkscreen posters exhibition, curated as Fragile Archivists, London, March 18 – May 31
2014 One Sunday Over The Lea, ‘My London Film’ competition, East End Film Festival, June 14
2014 Portraits for the Tufnell Park Tales project, Hilldrop Community Centre, London, May 7
2014 Save Lea Marshes group photography exhibition, Waterworks Centre, London, April 9 – 30
2014 ‘Art in the era of assessment’ group show, Riverside Studios, London, Feb 28 – March 27
2014 Sarajevo Exposures solo exhibition, Sarajevo Winter International Festival, Sarajevo, Feb 16-23
2013 Games and toys in Ikakumo: children documenting their community, PICS Festival @ Rich Mix, London
2013 Poster exhibition from the Fragile Archivists @ Chats Palace, London
2012 ‘Making a Bolt for it’, Portraits of Britain Photographic Competition winner, London
2012 Cyanotypes ‘Dreams alone’, EcoTectura International festival, Guslitsa Art-Residency, Russia
2012 Tape Garden – a collaboration with the flautist Maaike van der Linde, Barbican Curious Festival, London
2012 Playing In or Out? multimedia commission, V&A Museum of Childhood, London
2011 ‘On the turn’ winning image in the 2012 Alternative Photography Calendar
2008 Solo exhibition ‘Forgotten Man in the Urban Societies of Cuba and Russia’, Chats Palace, London
2006 Solo photography show ‘Teaching Kurdish’, Haringey/Dalston Kurdish Community Centre, London
2004-2005 Publications in Smoke: a London Peculiar, Issues 4, 5, 6, London