Danila Tkachenko. Recreation complex «Dagomys», (Russia). DROWNED series
Born in 1989 in Moscow, Russia. Lives and works in Moscow. In 2014, Danila Tkachenko graduated from the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia, department of documentary photography (supervisor Valeriy Nistratov). In the same year, he won the World Press Photo 2014 competition with the project Escape, which he worked on for three years.
In March 2015, he finished the project "Restricted Areas," which has already received several international awards, including the European Publishers Award for Photography, Burn Magazine grant, and he was one of the Dutch magazine Foam Talents. The series was published in magazines like BBC Culture, The Guardian, IMA Magazine, GUP Magazine, the British Journal of Photography. At the moment, Danila Tkachenko is working on two projects which are being shot over a large part of Russian territory and several neighboring countries.
About the Artist
For the «Drowned» project I traveled through the countries of the former socialist bloc in search of the architecture of Soviet modernism filming it with my camera. The resulting photographs were printed and rolled onto a rigid base after which the architecture depicted in the photographs was cut out in separate fragments which I installed on the shoals of the Aral Sea. The architecture of Soviet modernism was an image of the communist future. Over time political utopias collapsed leaving behind the architecture of a failed future.
Traditionally Russia has always been an agrarian country. Before the Russian revolution in 1917 more than 75% of the population lived in villages as part of peasant communities. The advent of the Bolsheviks to power was followed by the deliberate destruction of peasant culture, right up to its almost complete disappearance.
Today Russia is a country with vast unpopulated territories, there are more than 350,000 abandoned and empty villages. A large number of country roads, bridges and deserted population centres are ownerless. With every passing year more than a thousand former population centres are disappearing from the map of Russia, the neglected items rapidly disappear, merging with the natural landscape without any traces of mankind’s presence.
In the Motherland project I record the demise of the Russian traditional village as the bearer of peasant culture and experience of generations. It is already impossible to revive it after one hundred years of methodical destruction. However, this problem translates in public consciousness into imaginary pains, melancholy over social systems that no longer function in the modern world, and fear of the future that is currently blurred and unclear – unlike the old utopic paradigms that promised world justice within the framework of a clearly defined horizon of reality. In my project I pay my last respects to constructions long dead and metaphorically clear the path for future developments.
The project was filmed in territories located far from population centres and woodland. All manner of precautions were taken to prevent the spread of fire. The debris from constructed decorations were dismantled and taken away, while the used decrepit non-functional and destroyed structures were doomed to complete the process of physical disappearance within several years.