This work shows collective social image of a certain category of people through a general portrait of a contemporary “man in a case”. He is an average office worker always wearing business suit, doing routine work every day, suspecting and some times realising that he lives a grey, sad and dull live of a small screw in the system.
The main character in “The Man in a Case” by Anton Chekhov «…displayed a constant and insurmountable impulse to wrap himself in a covering, to make himself, so to speak, a case which would isolate him and protect him from external influences.» In contrast to Chekhov my Belikov is not afraid of innovation, he is not afraid of deeds unauthorized by superiors and he is not afraid of actual reality. But he is afraid “to burn” at work or to “lose his spirit” without comprehending the meaning of his life. That’s why I gave him the colored smoke and put him into pastoral city landscape. This smoke is used in entertainment industry, causes associations linked to revolutionary sentiments.
Smoke is the Fire Index, a symbol of countless attempts to “take fire” or a fact of combustion. According to the funeral rituals of some peoples by the smoke of a grave fire we can judge about the life of the deceased in another world. The smoke that goes directly up tells us that the gods gave the dead eternal bliss. Continuing the theme of existential I give the “will” to my heroes and place the Man in a peaceful natural landscape and reconcile Man and nature. Through the smoke I show the transition from portrait to landscape, from person to nature, from body to spirit.
Julia Abzaltdinova, born 1984, lives and works in Moscow, Russia. Julia’s main themes are national identity representation and traces of human influence on the natural landscape. Studying at the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia, Julia began her first project “The Big Game” (2010-2016) – a six-year visual study. In this project, the territory of Greater Sochi (Russia) is shown as a space of global changes during the preparation for the XXII Olympic Winter Games. Delving deeper into the topic, Julia touches such problems as mythology of place and time, quasi-patriotism, archeology of modern society and traces of human activity. “The Big Game” has been exhibited in 7 Russian cities (2017-2018) including the prominent festival of modern photography Presence (St. Petersburg, 2017) and the Baltic Biennial of the photo (Kaliningrad, 2017). Expanding on the theme of national identity representation, Julia proceeded to the problems of self-identification of a modern office person in her project “Chad” (2018). Also, in the project “Invisible life of plants” (2014) Julia observes the biotic and abiotic factors in the formation of urban life in Krasnoyarsk, delving into the theme of traces of human influence on the natural landscape. Although primarily based in Moscow, Julia also works in Sochi and the Urals.