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An elegant, svelte businessman crawls across the floor in archetypal clothing: he wears a grey suit and smart, polished shoes; the kind of person you’ll find vaping on a Starbucks break outside a millennial office block; resplendent in luxurious anonymity against a backdrop of glistening blue glass. Workwear. Tailoring. Camouflage print. Patterns, shapes and prints undeniably cover and shape our personalities. Over the last century, many artists, designers and writers have highlighted the synonymous relationship between identity and clothing. Among popular and academic circles the idea of ‘performativity’ – that we express ourselves (our gender, sexualities etc.) through our appearance – has become an ominously tedious buzzword. But what about when garments are used to conceal and assimilate us? When we – quite literally – hide behind the socio-economic permeations of the corporate look? When capitalism and hetero-normative patriarchy are so entwined you can use a suit-and-tie to dissolve and conceal queerness? 

     This photograph is part of a larger collaborative project published on online at Re-Edition Magazine. The editorial aimed to address and explore ideas of ‘social camouflage’: raising these kinds of questions through the clothing, set design and ultimately the images. The piece is inspired by the work of artists such as Hans Eijkelboom, whose superfluous, candid photographs of strangers wearing matching brands, motifs, cuts and shades, reveal and critique contemporary society. Recurring outfits purchased from a particular high street store, for example, darkly alludes  to the continuing dominance of big businesses within the twenty-first century. The clothing also references, simultaneously, the flowing tailoring of Maison Martin Margiela or the kinds of everyday fabrics we all use and wear, such as tired, faded denim. Although the photograph elucidates the ordinary – the model is also dressed in a viscous, oil-like BDSM cat suit. This further exemplifies the fetishization of hiding or escaping through our outfits in our oppressive present. By capitalising on the ‘prosaic’ or the ‘normal’ in this image the opposite political and social message reverberates: offering the same conclusions as say, a gender theorist, but while also collapsing – or perhaps, gently ‘trolling’ – their own ubiquity.

Text: Gabriella Pounds

An elegant, svelte businessman crawls across the floor in archetypal clothing: he wears a grey suit and smart, polished shoes; the kind of person you’ll find vaping on a Starbucks break outside a millennial office block; resplendent in luxurious anonymity against a backdrop of glistening blue glass. Workwear. Tailoring. Camouflage print. Patterns, shapes and prints undeniably cover and shape our personalities. Over the last century, many artists, designers and writers have highlighted the synonymous relationship between identity and clothing. Among popular and academic circles the idea of ‘performativity’ – that we express ourselves (our gender, sexualities etc.) through our appearance – has become an ominously tedious buzzword. But what about when garments are used to conceal and assimilate us? When we – quite literally – hide behind the socio-economic permeations of the corporate look? When capitalism and hetero-normative patriarchy are so entwined you can use a suit-and-tie to dissolve and conceal queerness? 

     This photograph is part of a larger collaborative project published on online at Re-Edition Magazine. The editorial aimed to address and explore ideas of ‘social camouflage’: raising these kinds of questions through the clothing, set design and ultimately the images. The piece is inspired by the work of artists such as Hans Eijkelboom, whose superfluous, candid photographs of strangers wearing matching brands, motifs, cuts and shades, reveal and critique contemporary society. Recurring outfits purchased from a particular high street store, for example, darkly alludes  to the continuing dominance of big businesses within the twenty-first century. The clothing also references, simultaneously, the flowing tailoring of Maison Martin Margiela or the kinds of everyday fabrics we all use and wear, such as tired, faded denim. Although the photograph elucidates the ordinary – the model is also dressed in a viscous, oil-like BDSM cat suit. This further exemplifies the fetishization of hiding or escaping through our outfits in our oppressive present. By capitalising on the ‘prosaic’ or the ‘normal’ in this image the opposite political and social message reverberates: offering the same conclusions as say, a gender theorist, but while also collapsing – or perhaps, gently ‘trolling’ – their own ubiquity.

Text: Gabriella Pounds

info



Web design and development by Mathilde Ganancia
Text in French Betttina Maillard-Moriceau
Translation Vasilisa Ganakova
Texts ''Hidden'' and ''D'Heygere'' Gabriella Pounds

The photos and images presented on this website are protected by copyright.
They may not be published without consent of Vadim Kovriga

bio

     Vadim Kovriga, french artist of Russian origin, has lived and worked in France since 2009. The main subject of his work are “non-places” where he captures traces of an enduring present. Born in Ekaterinburg, Vadim grew up in time of “perestroika”. From these years of soviet regime’s dissolution, of fading ideology and a lost generation, of which he became a part, Vadim Kovriga brings the idea that things hide themselves, things run away from our sight. This historical context influenced both Vadim’s personal life and work.
 
     Kovriga first studies law in the Ural Law Academy in Ekaterinburg, to follow his family’s professional path. At the same time he develops a taste for art and image. He soon moves to Moscow to work for Condé Nast as an editorial journalist. He deepens his knowledge of the image, more precisely photography. As he participates in the numerous projects of the editorial house, he meets Nan Goldin, who inspires him to chose the path of a fine art photographer. 

     His work documents the western society and culture through depicting deserted spaces, scenes that are suspended in an undetermined space and time. Vadim highlights the abstract side of objects. 
     
     Today he explores the visual from various angles. He shows interest in fashion iconography, as well as various images transformed by modern technologies. He studies photographs taken by NASA and modifies them in order to create abstract landscapes that we are only able to see through his eye.
     
     For him, Russia is not about a political regime, but a poetic space, common images, landscapes, emotions. He retrieves objects from his history. They are the main part of his photographs, like totems, traces of the past, of his memories. To be a Russian for Vadim is to posses a “Slavic soul”, a form of a painful intensity, nostalgia. Vadim’s relation to the world is not conceptual, but empiric. He watches to understand, to assimilate. 

     When Vadim arrives to France, he photographs to communicate his thoughts. He searches for images that remind him of his past. He photographs  this feeling of a “non-space”. These pictures communicate Vadim’s emotions, they speak of his story. His work is sentimental. He shares his memories emerged through images. He does not manipulate, he witnesses. Vadim’s images are solitary suspended in space and time. They isolate the viewer from the reality and invite them into a world of dreams. Vadim presents deserted spaces, uninhabited sites, forgotten plants, reduced to their decorative function in a hall or on a highway. 

     He develops a taste for brutalism, coming from a post-soviet industrial city. Brutal architecture is characterized by large volumes, economic materials like concrete, and a direct approach to the notion of “building”. Vadim likes spaces that are not too polished. In his images the isolation takes over, wind blows, skies are covered in grey, curtains are closed. What is far approches us; what is close seems to move away. Landscapes are not attached to a certain place. Objects have lost their purpose (like the series with the old mattresses, left in the street, a public space), human beings are reduced to graphic forms (homeless people photographed by Vadim have become masses of fabric). Everything becomes sculpture. Statues are covered, plants are still.
            
There is a certain kind of tenderness in Vadim’s vision, that observes humanity try to appropriate spaces that surround it. Beings and objects dissolve in the immensity of the world. In the end, everything disappears with time, or reappears somewhere else. Kovriga speaks about the solitary world that becomes poetry if we stop on our way and observe it.