Investigation of Love



What says ‘I love you’ better than a photography book? Only a book that was made under the pressure of proving your feelings towards another person to the authorities. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, do not panic. Better, follow the advise of Russian-born artist Lilia Luganskaia (b. 1990). In order to stay in the Netherlands, the country of her lover, she needed to physically prove such an abstract notion as love to an anonymous immigration officer. That is when she came up with the idea of Investigation of Love (2018). Almost in the same way as a family photo album, the book uncovers old and new photographs of memorabilia and discloses nostalgic yet formal letters from friends and relatives.

"‘We fell in love and lived happily ever after wasn't a satisfying answer for the grave looking officers at the Immigration Department", Luganskaia told GUP. "They said: if you love him, you better prove it", she added. The procedure suggested by them involved presenting intimate photographs of the couple, their holiday souvenirs and snippets of daily life.

The book consists of 514 personal objects, like furniture purchased together, romantic postcards, and even a dog, all photographed in a cleanenvironment. After turning the last page of this intriguing love story, some questions will still linger in the air. Can a photographic image representlove? Is it possible to depict an emotional bond with photography? What other objects can prove love as well as the book does?