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A Ukranian man named Oleg Mitasov lived here, a man who suffers from a hyper-obsessive personality disorder which causes him to compulsively cover every surface in his house with layers of inscriptions.

A Ukranian man named Oleg Mitasov lived here, a man who suffers from a hyper-obsessive personality disorder which causes him to compulsively cover every surface in his house with layers of inscriptions. Inside Mitasov?s apartment. It has since been cleaned, remodelled, and turned into an office. Photo: Pavel Makov

Oleg Mitasov Texts

A Ukrainian man named Oleg Mitasov lived here, a man who suffered from a disorder. He was university educated in economics and managed a store, but he also had something called horror vacui?? ?fear of blank or empty spaces? ? a hyper-obsessive personality disorder strain causing him to scrawl his walls, his fridge, his piano. He also did street art. He had to.

He could not help himself but etch his bizarre graffiti into everything-the fridge, walls, piano, doors, even the ceilings are covered by Mitasov’s strange inscriptions.
However, some of his inscriptions are not so strange, like his sadly inspiring street art that can still be seen in Ukraine-“Happiness! I’m waiting for you here!”

Mitasov was an educated man, a Master of economics. The rumour is that his illness developed after he had left the manuscript of his PhD thesis behind in a streetcar, thus never becoming a PhD. Mitasov covered all his flat and furniture in creepy inscriptions. Some of them are legible, some are just a set of letters. “Mitasov” and “VAK” (???, the State Commission for Academic Degrees and Titles, where he was supposed to bring his manuscript) are common words he wrote.

Here?s a glimpse at his body of work. One man?s torturous compulsion, another man?s art.

It is known that Oleg Mitasov was born in 1953, lived in the city centre of Kharkov, and died in late 1999 from tuberculosis in one of the psychiatric hospitals in the same city.

According to the legend, he got cranky when he left his thesis on the tram on the way to the Higher Attestation Commission and this was the reason why he didn?t get his PhD. The numerous references to the word VAK (Cyrillic based acronym for Higher Attestation Commission) in his inscriptions prove this fact.

According to the second version at the time of writing a dissertation on Mitasova was enlightened, he went to work and asked for a bucket of paint. He was given a bucket of white paint, and the next day all the walls (including the fourth floor) were covered with its inscriptions.

A third version Mitasov ill due to family problems. Be that as it may, the patio, which has its label, remains a place of pilgrimage for caring people to draw inspiration from the author of the messages.

He became famous in the mid-80s when he covered numerous fences, buildings, porches and even his own apartment with weird inscriptions.

Some of his phrases can still be seen on some buildings in Kharkov. All pieces from his flat have now been destroyed. Now there?s just an office in the way.

His works started to appear on the streets and then someone saw him doing it. He was drawings were everywhere, even now we can find some pieces on Kharkov?s walls. He was studying economics most of his life and was a director of a store before his illness and never represented himself as an artist. He?s started obsessively drawing in the mid 80s after he got cranky and was did it until the end of his life.

oleg-mitasov-shkaf

Oleg with his parents and sister, Olga. Image Source: David Rabinovitch ? ??, ????? ? ??????? ????? ?????

Oleg with his parents and sister, Olga. Image Source: David Rabinovitch ?

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After his and his mother?s death the flat was sold. They say it?s been renovated and there?s an office there now.

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?You have never been the soil, and you never can be?

Mitasov was an educated Kharkivite who was profoundly affected either by the developments of the late 1980s ? the political and social collapse around him ? or by the loss of his doctoral dissertation in economics, which he allegedly left in a tram on the way to submitting it.?Explanations are several, but the result was one: acute schizophrenia,?which poured itself out into endless writing on all available surfaces. Mitasov covered every centimetre of his huge 7-room apartment with words, often in several layers. He also wrote on all surrounding buildings. Most of that writing is now lost, but some has been preserved.

Scratchiti inside the apartment. Image Source: Ronnie Arias

Scratchiti inside the apartment. Image Source: Ronnie Arias

An unidentified man has his portrait taken in the hall of the building. Above the doorway: ?MITASOV ? WHERE ? ON ? EARTH.? To the left, it can be translated as: ?RAMBLINGS? or ?DELIRIUM? thought to be the reactions of his neighbors. Image Source: ??? ? ???? ?????? ??????????: ?????????? ?????????, ??????????, ??????, ????????????, ????????.

An unidentified man has his portrait taken in the hall of the building. Above the doorway: ?MITASOV ? WHERE ? ON ? EARTH.? To the left, it can be translated as: ?RAMBLINGS? or ?DELIRIUM? thought to be the reactions of his neighbours.

On the day that Oleg Mitasov was to receive his Doctor of Philosophy in Economics, he had his dissertation typed up and in hand, Mitasov headed out to give his defense at the university in Kharkov, Ukraine. Mitasov hopped on a tram to the university, but when he arrived, his dissertation was not with him.

By the time Mitasov realized he had left his paper on the tram, it was too late. Mitasov would now never have the honour of being called a ?doctor.? According to local legend, it was at this moment that Mitasov experienced a mental breakdown, and one which would give way to a number of bizarre writings and drawings that Mitasov soon produced in his Kharkov apartment.

The paint on the stairs reads: ?VAK ? NOT ? TO WORK.? Image Source: Unknown Journal

The paint on the stairs reads: ?VAK ? NOT ? TO WORK.? Image Source: Unknown Journal

Sometime in the 1980s, living alone in a seven-room communal apartment in the Kharkov city center, Mitasov took to writing in a small notebook. When he had filled every line of every page with text, he proceeded to scribble on the living room walls, even stretching to the double overhead ceilings.

His imaginary canvas then expanded to the kitchen, where he carved into the steel refrigerator and the bathroom, working his way outward, as if in concentric circles. Mitasov wrote in the?pod?ezd?(the stairwell entryway to the apartments), and even on the stairs themselves. Finally reaching the property boundary, Mitasov started to write on the brick walls of his neighbours? houses.

He became famous in the mid-80s when he covered numerous fences, buildings, porches and even his own apartment with these weird inscriptions:

?????.??.???????.????
AT.ONCE.NARROWING.OF.MIND

???.???
THE AGE.VAK

????.?.?????.??.?????
PEOPLE.AND.LENIN.RIGHT.THERE

???.??.?????
WHERE.ON.THE EARTH

??.??????.????.?.?????.????.?????.??????.??.??????

DO.NOT.LOSE.FAITH.IN.PEOPLE.TO?EVERYONE.TO?EVERYTHING.ALIVE.AND.LIFELESS

????.???????
MOTHER.MITASOV

?????.?.????.??.???????
NO.PLUCKING.STARS.FROM.THE SKY

???????.???????.????.?.??.???????????
STUDYING.RUSSIAN.NOT.?ASSUMING.IT

?????.??????.????.????.?.??????.???.??.?????

LENIN.GAVE.AN?INJECTION.IN?THE HEAD.WHERE.ON THE EARTH

Portrait of Oleg Mitasov.

Portrait of Oleg Mitasov.

Using multicoloured paint, Mitasov filled every inch of his surroundings with incomprehensible phrases and etchings that expressed whatever ran through his head at the time. As his sister, Olga, would say to explain such behavior, ?In moments of enlightenment (remission) he kept his hands busy so that he wouldn?t have to think with his head.? Because of his mental illness and artistic capabilities, locals came to know him as the modern Van Gogh.

His writings appear all around the neighborhood. Image Source: Dima Silich

His writings appear all around the neighbourhood. Image Source: Dima Silich

Besides what appears in his writings, little is known about Oleg Mitasov?s life. A rough biographical sketch is possible, though. In 1953, Mitasov was born in Czechoslovakia. His father was a mining engineer and his mother was a doctor at the Soviet embassy. When the family returned to Kharkov, then part of the Soviet Union, they were interrogated under the suspicion that they had made connections with agents of bourgeois capitalist countries, and had become spies against the Motherland.

Writing something on a wall does not make any place significant in itself; its importance is formulated when others make it a site of visits. I doubt that this unfortunate human being?s suffering and collapse into insanity necessarily make him a prophet he is sometimes proclaimed to be. But it has made him a beloved dark legend of the city.?In a way, the phenomenon of Mitasov is a diary ? perhaps the most honest, if not entirely comprehensible, diary of all.

A piano sits in the living room etched with mostly indecipherable writing. Image Source: ??? ???????

A piano sits in the living room etched with mostly indecipherable writing.

Police trailed the family and harassed Mitasov, according to Mitasov?s sister, Olga. Bearing a substantial amount of stress, Mitasov eventually fought the police with his own hands, ripping the epaulettes straight off their shoulders ? an act that could have easily landed him in jail. In interviews, Mitasova has pointed to persistent police surveillance when explaining her brother?s fragile state. In 1999, 46-year-old Mitasov ? who at that point had been diagnosed as schizophrenic ? died in a psychiatric hospital from tuberculosis.

Other than what remains on the exterior of his old apartment building, most memories of Mitasov?s life have been lost to time. Pained by the darkness and trauma that Mitasov?s writing represented, his family erased the markings within the interior of the apartment and sold the place in an attempt to move on. They did, however, save the refrigerator and piano.

The interior of Oleg MItasov?s apartment in Kharkov, Ukraine.

The interior of Oleg MItasov?s apartment in Kharkov, Ukraine.

Until a few years ago, the common shared apartment in the centre of Kharkov terrorized the whole neighbourhood. The neighbours constantly complained about the strange noise coming from the sealed door. Some saw a strange shadowy figure floating in a staircase.

For their part, local artists have created typefaces that mimic Mitasov?s unique handwriting, with some even offering master classes on Mitasov?s works.

No one is sure of the exact meaning behind Mitasov?s words, but that hasn?t stopped people from trying.

oleg-mitasov-i-hate-women

Witnesses have said that ?Mitasov has released a demon inside his apartment and laughter can be heard and they hear objects moving on their own.

In 1999 Mitasov died in a hospital. But this has not made his home calmer. The people who have rented the apartment said that while shooting photos it seemed as if someone looks at them. The psychic, who came to this place, lost consciousness, and then, coming to, refused any explanation.

Now it is an apartment office and there is a constant turnover of personnel. And despite the fact that the external environment has improved facilities, workers complain about someone’s piercing gaze, as if next to them is something terrible ?

Somewhere inside Mitasov?s apartment. Image Source: Dystopia

Somewhere inside Mitasov?s apartment. Image Source: Dystopia

Mitasov?s apartment has all but assumed a new identity, and his body has long departed from this world. But from the incoherent etchings he left on neighbouring houses and the walls encircling the?Saburova Dacha, the psychiatric hospital where he was treated and saw his final days, Oleg Mitasov lives on as legend.

What these legends cloud, though, is the saturnine story of a man doggedly patrolled by the oppressive eye of the State, a state which may have pushed him to the point of psychological collapse. This story ? unlike Mitasov?s frenzied phrases ? has yet to see much light.

?PEOPLE, AND THEN IMMIDIATELY LENIN VAK IMMIDIATELY A NARROWING OF THE MIND ON EARTH.? Image Source: Dima Silich

?PEOPLE, AND THEN IMMIDIATELY LENIN VAK IMMIDIATELY A NARROWING OF THE MIND ON EARTH.? Image Source: Dima Silich

These days, interior renovations have pushed Mitasov?s dark memory out of the Kharkov building: today, an office sits where Mitasov once resided. Outside, though, Mitasov?s presence perseveres, as the city has refrained from wiping the walls clean. It is not certain how much longer Mitasov?s exterior markings will remain, however; the vanishing effects of time, weather and graffiti have begun to erase Mitasov?s etchings, extending his troubled life even further into mythical status.

Writings of Mitasov remain in the gated-off garage area of his old building. Image Source: Dima Silich

Writings of Mitasov remain in the gated-off garage area of his old building. Image Source: Dima Silich

?INDESTRUCTIBLE UNION?THERE ARE NO FREE REPUBLICS ON EARTH.? Image Source: Nibler.ru ? ??? ????????? ?????? ??????

?INDESTRUCTIBLE UNION?THERE ARE NO FREE REPUBLICS ON EARTH.?

In 1999 Oleg Mitasov died of tuberculosis in one of the city?s psychiatric clinics. But these imprints of his illness have become a pilgrimage site ? a partially preserved recording of troubled times which, almost inexplicably, continues to draw viewers and sympathizers. Many people perceive the inscriptions in different ways, many consider him a cult figure, almost a prophet from what they read or understand from his texts.?Touching someone else’s madness many find irresistible.

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