Safronova Mariya


Born in 1979 in Rzhev (Tver Region). Graduated from the Moscow State Academic Art Institute, the Moscow Institute of Contemporary Art and the “Free Workshops” School of Contemporary Art (Moscow). Winner of the Sergey Kuryokhin Award (2015, “Best Visual Art Project”). Lives and works in Moscow.

What If ?

— Do you really believe in fairy tales?
— In the scary ones, I do. The good ones, no.
But the scary ones — yes, absolutely.
From the film “Stalker” (1979)

All contemporary culture can be defined by the term “space of fear”.
Usually, though, we don’t notice how false threats and our justified and unjustified anxieties gradually change our perception of the world, affecting our behaviour.
We might even sense that a threat is imaginary, but still: what if?
The question in the project’s title refers not so much to the urgent problems of terrorism, global cli- mate change, or geopolitical catastrophes but rather to the feeling of anxiety and doubt that has be- come a part of our soul.
The project combines two cycles created in the past few years.
The images of abandoned school classrooms with visual aids placed on desks provide no clear frame of reference. This might be an atomic apocalypse or a slow, ongoing process leading to catastrophic consequences — which is more horrific as an open question.
In the second series, ghostly visions of deserted classrooms are replaced by images of civil defence lessons. Children are diligently putting on gas masks and hazmat suits, learning how to set up tents, and administer first aid. United by the theme of school, these two series create a complex dramatic effect, serving both as a nostalgic metaphor for a bygone childhood and a multidimensional artistic reflection on the modern world.

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