– I don’t know what it is but for some reason I have been in love with projects about Russia lately. Rob Hornstra’s 101 Billionaires and Simon Robert’s Motherland are two of my favorite books that I’ve bought recently and I was just sent the work of Anastasia Khoroshilova who’s work is incredible.
“Russians” (Russkie) are not a nationality, a country, a way of life, a religion, or a community. They are a vector of history and science that was studied by the artist both before and after Perestroika and then completed by an insight into Russia from Europe and, in the last two years, several special trips in the European part of the country, the Urals, and the Russian North.
Khoroshilova hasn’t been searching for her “Russians”, nor has she identified them; rather, she recognized them somehow and accepted them as they are. Russians always gaze straight into our eyes, but the looks on their faces are never directed by the artist. The characters are not part of some mythology – they are shown just as they would have presented themselves.
Among multiple identities of each of the characters, there is probably one period that, in one way or another, has set the destiny of almost all of us – this is the trace of the USSR. This is “the point of construction” or, more precisely, the point of development and the inner conceptual ground of the “Russians” series as a whole. A couple of years before the artist was born, a new idea was proclaimed in the report of the 24th reunion of the Communist Party: the unified Soviet nation was considered to be the result of the strong social, political and ideological unity of all classes and strata, all nations and ethnic groups that populated one-sixth of the Earth surface. The Russian language was accepted as the common language, which testified to “the part that the Russians played in the brotherhood of the nations of the USSR”.
However, it is not the Russian language that links Khoroshilova’s “Russians” together. The photographic language expresses the connection between the two tendencies, the chronicle of the artist’s meetings with his sitters and the summing up (or, rather, the synergetic union) of the signs of their common being in history and modernity.
© Anastasia Khoroshilova
See more work here.