"Memories. Memories blur into dreams. Light brings them to truth. Everything unforgiving. Everything becoming hallow. Loneliness consumes and there is no way back. The places you played, the places you called home, the people you thought you loved, all of them, reduced to a memory of another life. A life you never lived. All the yesterdays that came from tomorrow, all the tomorrows that never came from yesterday. A new beginning because forever is never forever." Olafur Arnalds
30 years have passed since the fall of the Soviet Union. For the young generation of the former member states this period of time could seem as long as eternity. But the totalitarian regime of Bolshevism has dictated people’s lives for a long, long time and consequently has left its marks on every aspect of their being. It has changed their culture, their perceptions, their mentality and even their memories. As a result, a new form of human existence has emerged. Today, the remains and consequences of this epoch are still omnipresent.
“Of time and memory” is an ongoing project that investigates how the Soviet rule influenced not only the society at large in abstract terms but also the everyday lives of people in very tangible ways. One might view the series as a subjective and ethnographic study in search of the traces that communism has left in the visual culture of ordinary human beings. A special focus is given to the role and presence of what now would be subsumed under “kitsch”. Rather than dismissing kitsch as an aesthetic no-go, my photographs want to explore the ties between totalitarianism and kitsch, since back in Soviet times, kitsch was the most widespread and oftentimes only affordable form of art.
So on one level the project seeks to explore the psychological and physical spaces of humans in a climate of disbelief and lack of trust. At the same time it is also a very personal body of work. It is a contemplation over my own childhood, an attempt to refresh my recollections and to better understand the meaning and power of an era that has come to shape my early life.
More than merely capturing the persistence of these influences, “Of Time and Memory” also seeks to document the enormous human capacity of resilience or coming to terms with things that happen – how one incorporates and arranges these historical remnants into something new. Step by step, even the harshest memories fade away. Forms and figures disappear to be replaced by new patterns and elements of modern life.