February 16 - May 14, 2023
Curator: Petr Antonov
In ARCADIA, Anastasia Tsayder explores the metamorphoses of the post-Soviet urban space: uniform buildings and districts are engulfed by unruly bushes and trees, which seem to be hoping to return to their natural state that people cannot control. "A garden city," a utopian idea once championed by Soviet Socialism, is gradually turning into a forest of a city.
The plants are both the result and the illustration of the transformations that followed in the wake of economic upheavals and also an integral part of those changes. Just like the plants in Arcadia that are no longer restrained by people, the spaces occupied by the trees and bushes create voids, "non-places" in the fabric of urban districts that help us feel free, if only for a while, from the social pressure and control.
As the world changed, the vision of the legendary province of Arcadia, where people live a simple life in harmony with nature, has also been ever-changing since the times of ancient Greece - coming from the embodiment of the lost "golden age" to a reminder that even the idyllic Arcadia is not exempt from decay and death. Using photography, videos and installations, Anastasia Tsayder discovers new images of post-Soviet Arcadia, where natural landscapes and man-made objects, an idyll and decay are fused in a paradoxical coexistence.
The exhibition at the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation is the culmination of the five years Anastasia Tsayder has spent working on her project. The geography of the project includes cities such as Apatity, Bishkek, Vladivostok, Kursk, Minsk, Moscow, Osh, Riga, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Tashkent, and Togliatti.
Anastasia Tsayder is an artist and curator who works with documental photography, videos and installations. In her projects, Tsayder explores the cultural and visual transformation of post-Soviet society. She took part in the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art (2019) and co-curated the exhibition New Landscape which dealt with present-day Russian scenery. She was shortlisted for the Innovation Contemporary Art Prize (2019), the Kandinsky Prize (2015), and the Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards. In 2021, Anastasia Tsayder's book Arcadia. Gardens In Common was published by Orbita. Anastasia's works are owned by the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art; the Breus Foundation and private art collectors.