Nominated by Rafal Milach (Polish visual artist; Nominee member of Magnum Photos)
In my artistic practice, I refer a lot to Belarus’ contemporary context and focus on eccentricities and paradoxes of everyday life in my country. My research is also aimed at reframing the Soviet past, exploring the ambivalence of the Soviet system and my relationship with the legacy of the USSR as a person who was raised after its collapse.
Each of my work, whether it’s a single piece or it’s part of a series, consists of many layers, patterns, ornaments, details and slices of reality, taken from the pictures photographed by me and transformed then into complex multi-layered narratives reflecting contradictions, inconsistencies and ambiguities inherent to modern Belarus. By combining elements of different historical and aesthetic traditions, I strive to reveal and convey a reality with a lot of different sides and facets, the relations that arise in this reality between objects belonging to different orders.
To realize my ideas, I often use photomontage techniques. For me, creating collage is not a mechanical gluing of random heterogeneous elements, as if accidentally combined with each other, but a way to tell a story or to glue/rebuild an existing story anew. As materials for my work I use my own photographs as well as archival images found in Soviet print media. I carefully collect and select iconic images of the Soviet era, especially those that are important historical artifacts, cultural symbols of that time and significant elements of collective memory.
Finding a new visual style and new aesthetic within the montage method is as essential to me as building a critical message and overcoming stereotypical thinking, preconceptions and predictability of reactions, providing an opportunity for wider interpretations without limiting the viewer.
By mixing seemingly incompatible pieces and fragments, I emphasize the strange and elusive nature of many things that I encounter in everyday life and observe in political, social and cultural environments. Through my works I express my confusion and controversial feelings about the past and the current situation in my country.