Day 315: The Russian Project, by Laresa Kosloff

Laresa Kosloff Russian Project

Day 315: The Russian Project, by Laresa Kosloff

At first glance, Laresa Kosloff’s Chita Monument (2012) appears as a large-scale static photographic image rather than a continuous video. Everything is absolutely still in front of the imposing monument in the centre of an empty civic square. The low angle at which it is shot heightens the feeling of the pathos and significance of this unmistakeable Soviet-era monument, displaying all the vestiges of the Social-Realist art movement favoured by the former Communist regime. The bleakness of the square over which the monument reigns supreme, and the dreary ordinariness of the brutalist-style apartment blocks in the background make the image look so stereotypically “Soviet-era” as if was taken twenty, thirty, or forty years ago.

However, after a while, a girl walks past it; then another; then a mother carrying a child, all dressed in contemporary fashion, in denim, high heels, or sporting fashionable shoulder bags and sun glasses. Their Western-style attire seems almost dystopian against the background sculpture and architecture.

It is in this way that Kosloff carefully weighs into the controversial subject of cultural relevance. While the essence of the monument, which commemorates soldiers and civilians of the City of Chita who died during the Civil War, is as valuable as even the most humble cenotaph in rural Australia, the bombastic Communist propaganda which imbues and overwhelms the statue seems to invalidate its commemorative message. In the former times, a monument like this would have been adorned with fresh flowers and surrounded with beribboned wreaths. Today, those walking past the monument hardly give it a second glance.



[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries.]

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Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

November 2012


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