Hyperboles, Parables, Ellipses

In his famous work The Practice of Everyday Life,  Michel de Certeau distinguishes between two concepts: strategy and tactic. Institutions and constellations of power structures, such as the state, pursue strategies to actualize their own ends in producing environments, such as cities. Individuals, who act within these predetermined spaces, use tactics to modify them in everyday activities. One such tactic comes as pedestrians walk about a city, leaving traces, slowly changing the streets. Although tactics are influenced by strategies, they are not entirely defined by them and have the potential of creative resistance.

untitled, Fine Art Print,  28 x 41 cm, 2018

In the collection of photos and texts gathered together here under the title Hyperboles, Parables, Ellipses, I have explored the western Russian city where I grew up: Samara whose urban architecture mainly consists of soviet prefab concrete buildings. Despite the dissolution of the Soviet Union, these buildings still embody the totalitarian ideologies that created them. At the same time, the brittleness of their facades tells us about thousands of people’s daily activities, which have left a mark, eroding edifices of former dictatorship.

untitled, Fine Art Print, 28 x 41 cm, 2018

Some of these traces were left by my parents, who navigated the twists and turns of power in the city in the last decades of the Soviet Union until their political activism, especially my mother´s, started to endangered them. The photos and texts collected in Hyperboles, Parables, Ellipses brings together the impersonal traces left on the walls and buildings of the city with my own very personal family history.  So many years later, only the trace of their daily activities, seemingly far from politics, like my mother’s collection of candy wrappings or the crosses in my father’s prayerbooks that marked his daily devotions, still illustrate the subversive aspirations of their past.

untitled, Fine Art Print, 28 x 41 cm, 2018.

untitled, Fine Art Print, 28 x 41 cm, 2018

untitled, Fine Art Print, 28 x 41 cm, 2018

Juxtaposing pictures of the city, the candy wrapping and the prayerbooks connects otherwise heterogeneous elements. In my work, I explore the relationship between the pictures and between the political and the personal. In doing so, my interest is not solely focused on my parents’ past but on the current ways power operates in Russia. With the trauma of Soviet history remaining unprocessed, the authoritarian methods of control of the past resurface more and more often, even in new forms. In Hyperboles, Parables, Ellipses, photographs of prefab soviet concrete buildings find affinity with modern skyscrapers, even if these new monoliths of power have not yet been marked by the activities that play out around them. However, no strategy will remain free from tactic. 

untitled, Fine Art Print, 28 x 41 cm, 2018

untitled, Fine Art Print, 28 x 41 cm, 2018

Exhibitions views at HGB Leipzig 

Hyperboles, Parables, Ellipses. Exhibition view at HGB Leipzig, 2018.

Hyperboles, Parables, Ellipses. Exhibition view at HGB Leipzig, 2018.

Hyperboles, Parables, Ellipses. 186 Fine Art Prints, each 28 x 41 cm. Exhibition view at HGB Leipzig, 2018.

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