Representing Class – Maria Chehonadskih

Sergey Bratkov. Searching for Horizon, 2007

How to represent class relations in post-Soviet society? How to imagine post-Soviet social totality? Is there in the faceless everyday appearance of the social body (on a street or at work) some specific characteristics? It seems that the face of the society is the main interest for the circle of post-conceptual artists in the region. For this reason, the genre of the photography plays an important role here. Below you can see series of the artworks, which undertakes to present what I call here the “face of society”. In this face you can find the sign of melancholy of the declassed and disoriented post-Soviet majority, frozen in waiting.

Sergey Bratkov. Searching for Horizon, 2007:

 

Olga chernysheva. High Road #8, 2007:

 

Text of the artist for the project High Road: “Photos were made on Route 8 right next to the MKAD, Moscow's beltway, one of the places where migrant workers gather for informal hire by the hour or the day. Migrant labor is an necessary part of life in Moscow. But at the same time, this place at the city limits is a blind spot or an eyesore that does not “fit in” to the city’s formal self-image. The group in these photos has a strange unity; its plasticity and outer appearance is monolithic and restrained, tense and expectant. Astoundingly, there are no tools, no instruments, no worker's clothes; all of these are supplied by the employee. You can tell that most of these people have not left behind cities, but their native soil, which they seem to carry around where-ever they go. Maybe this is why they seem to gravitate to the ground, squatting down on their haunches in every free minute, only to jump and flush like birds at the sight of the approaching militia or a stopping car. Then, they sit down again. This territory belongs to them fully, a small patch of earth on the highway's  shoulder...”1

Anton Kuryshev. Bus Stops, 2009:

  • 1. Text and photos are from the artist website: http://www.olgachernysheva.ru/node/59