1990-ongoing by Maria Babikova

Issue 99

“1990-ongoing” is a personal reflection on the dystopian reality of present day humanity. It acts as a road map or a dictionary for my understanding of the human condition.

My work is heavily influenced by my context. I grew up in the Soviet Union, a country that no longer exists.

At a very young age I was pushed into the competitive world of rhythmic gymnastics, where beauty and perfection were the sole goal, and could only be obtained through continuous pain and dedication.

I then found myself plucked out of Siberian obscurity and thrown into the world of high fashion, reinforcing the themes of beauty, fear and rejection, agonizingly underlined by depression and loneliness.

This formed a connection between esthetic beauty and internal pain in my work.

These beliefs were running in parallel with a surreal perception of the world, as I saw it. Deep Soviet memories mixed with disconnected explorations into other realities- Tokyo, Paris, New York, Milan and the extreme contradictions of East and West. My constant motion within these opposing spheres and the place of my birth no longer existing left me with a perpetual search of identity.

Fear and repression are represented in the work- overbearing structures, bright lights, the blank stare of a police officer. This unconsciously seeps through, perhaps a memory informed by my upbringing within oppressive, and often dangerous world of 90’s Russia. This imagery becomes intertwined with the subtle symbolism of perceived ideals and structures created by society.

The work is an attempt to capture the inherent beauty and pain of reality, constructed from the stains of memories left behind.

Maria Babikova lives and works in London, UK.
To view more of Maria's work, please visit her website.