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We see photographs of elderly people, representing various professions and different social classes. All this is straight photography, without any computer working or printing ploys. The fashionable media nuance is unrequired; the task here is something quite different. It is cardinally important that there should be nothing started; nothing “stagey”. There is also the ethical problem regarding the manipulation of old men and women and making them pose. Yet the artist does not make them do this. If they themselves want to pose, regarding the situation of self-demonstration and self-presentation as same way of manifesting their own identity, they are welcome to do so. The social aspect? This is also present in the series. It is impossible to live society and be free of society, according to Vladimir Lenin, the creator of the very society in which the heroes and heroines spent most of their lives.

It is indeed much is Soviet and much that is social here – in the outer appearance of heroes and heroines, in the patterns of their behavior and in the typical interiors. There are, however, no Conceptual or Art accents, even though the material could have led onto this. One photograph of an interior, for example, dolls co-exist with images of the Madonna and Lenin. The attention is not, however, especially focused on this. As Russian artist Eric Bulatov used to say, this is the “parallel reality” of our existence – and no more. There are also sing of a local cultural continuity. The photographs are all of the Leningraders, who only recently became Peterburgers. While these aspects sometimes attract our attention, they are not the most important things. What is? Why does the artist reject so many attractive – media, staged-playful, social-emblematic – baits, to which both socially advanced and simple viewers are so prone?

Alexander Borovsky

Head of the department of contemporary art State Russian Museum