“The more I tried to understand Russia, the more lost I became. Russia is like a planet of its own.” Rafał Milach
Gala, Lena, Stas, Mira, Vasya, Sasha, and Nastya live in the suburbs of Moscow, Yekaterinburg, and Krasnoyarsk. These young Russians can still remember Perestroika and Glasnost and the day when Boris Yeltsin stormed the White House in Moscow with tanks. When Russian troops marched into Georgia, they sympathized. They dream of Bashkiria. They want to be free and travel abroad, but can’t afford to buy an apartment. They are proud, neither rich nor poor. They are stuck in the phase of transition. In his series of intimate portraits, Polish photographer Rafał Milach portrays the life of a generation caught between the mentality of the old Soviet regime and the ambitious new Russia of the Putin era. With a gaze that is both tender and curious—whether directed at families, young women, or transvestites—he presents seven young people in their everyday lives.
Rafał Milach visited his protagonists regularly for six years. In his photographs, he not only gives a glimpse into private rooms and public spaces that are both dismal and beautiful; he also compassionately documents the mood of present-day Russia—torn between the desire for a sense of community from times gone by and the modern world of turbo-capitalism, with the mental overload of myriad new freedoms. His visual voyage presents a picture of Russia that goes far beyond the familiar stereotypes of poverty, alcohol abuse, and obscene displays of wealth. Rafał Milach’s protagonists are average citizens who, despite their strange, bleak surroundings, have needs, experiences, and thoughts astonishingly familiar to the viewer. C/O Berlin will be presenting the series “7 Rooms” with 58 color photographs by Rafał Milach for the first time in Germany. A catalog accompanying the exhibition with texts by Svietlana Alexievich has been published by Kehrer Verlag.