Around the Bend, in the Depths
The story unfolds around a large settlement in Nizhny Novgorod region, a closed administrative-territorial entity – the city best known as Sarov.
For a long time the settlement, which took its name from a swampy river, was associated with a place of Orthodox pilgrimage. In the late 1940s the name Sarov disappeared from the maps of the Soviet Union. Enough distant from major population centers, but at the same time located close to Moscow, hidden from prying eyes by dense forests, Sarov was chosen as the location for the unfolding Soviet nuclear project.
In the decades that followed, the city changed its name, status, and direction of development, taking shape in the context of the nuclear weapons program, Soviet ideology, Orthodox myths and legends. The boundary between fact and fiction becomes less and less visible.
I focus on comparing the image of a closed city, Christian holy place and personal family history, combining pictures from the archive of my grandfather (an employee of a secret institute), photographs taken by me on the territory of Sarov and constructed images created outside of closed locations.