Inaugurating its collaboration, Triangle gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Fyodor Savintsev (b. 1982, lives and works in Moscow).
Before the 1940s, owning a dacha was a sign of belonging to the Soviet elite. Ordinary citizens could not acquire a private dacha until after the World War II when the government set out to fight the food crisis by giving out plots of land to families, where they could indulge in private gardening and horticulture. They had little in common with enormous manor houses sitting on vast plots of land, which were granted to high ranking officials. For a common Soviet citizen, the dacha had become a place where he went to work tirelessly throughout the summer and collect fresh produce in the fall. There were strict regulations imposed by the so-called «garden partnerships» - organizations, responsible for the utilization and distribution of land among their employees - on what was allowed to cultivate, as well legal size restrictions for land plots, which couldn't exceed 0,06 hectare. Commonly known as a «six hundred,» these plots of land had to consist of a single-story plywood house without permanent heating, a vegetable lot, a greenhouse and flower beds.
These regulations were loosened during the 1970s, so people became very inventive in modernizing their toy houses. They rebuilt their attics into second floors, added glazed verandas and boldly experimented with decor. And although there wasn't much money or access to proper building supplies, they went far and beyond in their architectural fantasies by appropriating the most unexpected materials in their construction process.
For a Soviet citizen, his «six hundred» dacha was a whole little world in the midst of nothingness, where his flights of fancy were his way of mental escape from the times that imposed the uniformity of thought. These curious personal accounts shed new light on the course of life of Soviet people, whithout them it will soon get lost in history along with its odd plywood houses and whimsical gardens.
«I am fascinated by these stories and intend to collect and convey them as a part of my ongoing research for this project. I'd like to further investigate how it was possible that with limited financial resources and lack of visual information or aesthetic education, ordinary people found their unique ways of creative expression and went to great lengths in their ingenuity», the artist said.
Fyodor Savintsev is a photographer with an extensive background in photojournalism, including reports for Agence France Press, Associated Press, TIME, the New York Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Forbes, Newsweek, GEO Russia, Russian Reporter, Esquire and others. Since 2011 he has focused on realizing personal photography projects.