ROSPHOTO presents an art project Patient History. THE RIGHT TO REST by a well-known Moscow-based artist Katerina Kovaleva. The exhibition includes photographs, readymade objects, paintings, and graphic works, all of them set up in the museum space as conceptual art installations.

The viewer is immersed in the atmosphere of an abandoned Soviet sanatorium in Gagra. Once a luxurious health palace, built according to the canons of Stalin’s Empire style, the sanatorium is situated high above the sea. Over 30 years ago, life was in full swing here. Now, the only evidence of it are medical records scattered in the corridors and on the front stairs and faded pink scrolls of cardiograms, with someone’s heart rhythm embedded forever in them.

An integral part of the project are photographs taken on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus between the 1930s and the 1980s. The pictures from the 1930s depict happy people against the backdrop of palm trees and the sea, under the southern sun. The trains brought shock workers and Stakhanovites to the Black Sea, to Sochi, to Gagra… Meanwhile, other trains carried Soviet citizens away in a different direction, from where there was no return.

In her project, Katerina Kovaleva is trying to approach universal themes — illness and vacation, life and death. The author uncovers cultural layers of memory like an archaeologist, carefully dusting and revealing artifacts of the bygone Soviet era for the viewer.

Current observations. Original photographic print. 40 х 50

Photographs of abandoned sanatoriums, of rooms still warm, testifying of the time lost, the time of the artist’s childhood, are placed in diascope slide projectors, modeled after the old Soviet ones. Looking at these photo slides through a small hole makes one experience an immersive effect.

Cardiogram of the Mountains, a series of drawings and collages on blanks forms from the treatment room, over various charts and medical records, is an attempt to discover the timeless basis of life through the discovery of cultural layers.

The exhibition at ROSPHOTO also includes a series Melody to Remember, or Bone Music. Postcards with memorable vistas or vacationers are placed next to bootlegged gramophone records “on bones”, made from X-ray films, with tunes banned in the USSR.

Large round canvases and drawings support the eternal theme of the circle, which is also present in the objects Ice Cream Balls and Billiard Balls.

Conceptually completing the exhibition are letters and postcards describing an ordinary day of a happy vacationer, as well as objects of the everyday life at the sanatorium — clothing, bathing suits, souvenirs, herbarium and other personal items, gathered together under the title Evidence.

Over 100 works are on display at ROSPHOTO.

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