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Sasha Rudensky October 10, 2013

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.

From the project ‘Brightness’. Kiev, Ukraine 2010

Sasha Rudensky (b. 1979, Russia) studied Studio Art and Russian Literature at Wesleyan University where she received a BA in 2001. She received her MFA in photography from Yale University in 2008. Her work has been featured in American Photo and PDN and exhibited at Aperture Gallery, Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland and Les Rencontres d’Arles, France. Sasha is currently an Assistant Professor of Photography at Wesleyan University. She resides in Brooklyn.

About the Photograph:

“This is an image that is part of a four year project called Brightness. I was visiting my friends’ hip new store called Пюре, which in Russian means mashed potatoes. They were being interviewed by a journalist and had no idea I set up my camera and tripod. I couldn’t decide what I loved more the gummy bear linoleum or the amazing royal blue curtains. Instinctively I assumed the bust to be Lenin, only to marvel at the fact that it was a plaster Hannibal Lecter, making it the perfect post-Soviet set. That kind of theatricality found in every day life is what I gravitate towards consistently, which perhaps explains my ongoing love affair with the East.”

“The East’s yearning for Brightness has an extensive aesthetic cultural history, but its Post-Soviet manifestation is set apart by its own brand of showiness, depravity, garishness, and melancholy. It is as if that Brightness can reverse the historic dislocation and atone for frustrated expectations and unfulfilled claims, the very materiality of fabrics, objects, gold providing security of tangible progress. If you can’t draw well, draw richly is an old Russian saying, a quip denoting deep awareness of the tactics of self-staging and delusion.  The subject of these photographs is an orphan generation of Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians that came of age in a social vacuum, having disowned their past but lacking any means of orientation within the present. They are part archetype, part invention, as much a projection of their own fantasy as they are of mine.”