From the great North’s snows to the Bering Strait, the Russian territory’s borders blend in with the continent’s. Numerous Russian provinces are hard to reach. In those harsh environments, geographical isolation amounts to being culturally and socially on the fringe. Elena Anosova is a photographer from a remote village at the border with Mongolia. Her geographical origin resonates deeply with her work—centered on the question of isolation. Then we discover Sakhalin Island—on the eastern edge of Russia—with Oleg Klimov; the island embodies multiple fringes of Russian society. In 1890, Anton Chekhov spent three months there and wrote “Sakhalin Island”—a literary account of the exiles’ lives in which he details their horrid living conditions. As for Dmitri Markov, he attempts to put faces on today’s exiles by going to poor suburbs and forgotten provinces—which are as many places of exclusion and isolation. Then we meet Igor Moukhin in a large abandoned factory which doubles as a bohemian and decadent workshop squatted by contemporary artists. After the festive enthusiasm of the post-Soviet era, the country seems to be closing up again: repression, censorship, and self-censorship symbolically re-erect an opaque curtain at the Russian borders. Will today’s young artists be able to crack it like their elders did?
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