Masha Svyatogor
Everybody Dance!

(2018–2020)
PRAFOTA 2020 Art Photography Grand Prix
The story of my Everybody Dance!project started with the kind of bag that is normally used to carry potatoes. It was in such a bag that I received from an ex-photojournalist over 150 issues of theSovyetskoye Foto (the Soviet Photography)magazine. For him, it was actually a heap of waste paper he wanted to get rid of as soon as possible. For my part, I was keen on exploring the visual content presented in that once popular Soviet periodical. The gradually accumulating material became the basis for the photographic series. I did not take a single photo for this particular project. In my work, I use pictures found in the Sovyetskoye Fotomagazine. I create new images by hand using fragments of other people’s photographs, various geometric figures, ornaments and elements cut out from coloured paper. It was important for me to find an approach that would guarantee me a maximum amount of freedom in using fragments of what I had discovered. In my opinion, constructing and deconstructing the Soviet era’s iconic historical and cultural symbols and images allows me to reveal and demonstrate the system’s inconsistencies and paradoxes. On the one hand, my knowledge of the Soviet era is objectively insufficient. On the other hand, I am one of the generation that grew up after the collapse of the USSR — and this is what gives me a completely new, different perspective in exploring the Soviet and the post-Soviet reality. In my work, I often focus on the Soviet system’s paradoxical nature. I have always been keen on finding the line where the rational, logical and rational transitions into the irrational and insane — which does not lend itself to linear, unambiguous interpretations. The space represented in many of my works is that of carnivals, chaos, absurdity and wild festivities, where all the elements and layers intermingle.
Short-list 2020: