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In a Former Home

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The signs of Soviet Epoque for thirty years have been living in the regions, towns, families and other corners of modern Russia. Nostalgia becomes a compromise between people's fear of the present and anxiety about the future. Material and non-material "totems" are commonly associated with positive effects, bringing a sense of stability, without actual one, while negative aspects people are likely to neglect.

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Feeling injustice at the moment some worry if tomorrow brings any good, and having nothing good - they sweetly reminiscence about their past. Rarely reappraising it, they do not see any connection between unpleasant life pages to the current life, "broadcasting" their own stale views to offspring. Many idolise the utopia and dismiss the most fast-flying and changing essence - time, which makes such ideas fake. Misleading statements represent social life as a result of outward decisions, not own responsibilities or real actions. Any change makes humans build new skills, and adapt through hard work, meanwhile, the rituals of reviving the past and myth creation bring the feeling of relief.

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Worshipping the past "mascots" people try to make it living, whereas the most reasonable would be to accept it, take the lessons and build a new reality, without reconstructing the remains.

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Like following the ready-made cross-stitch patterns, they follow the given "diagram", without deviating from the inherited order, which is treasurable for some and spiritual penury and limitations for others. Over the past ten years, I gathered a collection of photographs taken in places where I experienced true Soviet influence. Watching them, I feel like breathing the "stale air" or reading a message with useless pieces of advice. In all this, I sense and see the unwillingness of people to change their life or change themselves.

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The photographs captured the signs of soviet “totems” which still live their life in our time. I set the prints into the old frames for diapositives, which were popular among soviet people in the last decades of the XX century. Such frames I see as an allegory of multiple limits (frames) inherited from the Soviet Era. The piece of used waxed paper in the background (a well-recognised Soviet wrap) is an allusion to the "recycled" experience, its stains and wrinkles keep the history, although such paper serves quite an inappropriate background to apply it today.

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Cross-stitching was widely popular among many Soviet women. The patterns were simple, naive and limited in colour. I have never thought it to be an emotionally rewarding technique, and use rare, however, find it "eloquent" for the current purpose.

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The embroidered “totems” are symbols. They are material things associated with some families and memories. They are the events, non-material mind patterns and hard-to-escape scenarios, which continue their living in heads and rooms. Being odd, ridiculous and questionable, in someone, "totems" awake an inherited fear - the worst that a human can inherit and this symbolism is “stitched” to every piece with the strings for manipulations - each has its individual colour. They remind us about emotional stagnation and constraints, inherited submissiveness, and helplessness - the lives set in the cage.

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