I can’t wait to watch you get older
I can’t wait to meet that first boy that breaks your life
I can’t wait till you realize the family, you’ve been born into
I can’t wait to watch you turn from good to bad
Xiu Xiu, Nieces Pieces
I clearly remember, how I was absent from school for the first time. We studied Turgenev’s Mumu. My parents made me read it to be ready for the class and my mother lied to me, saying that it was fiction. But I knew how it would end and that it was real, so I told my teacher I had a stomach ache, and that the class was cancelled to my mother and spent the rest of the day crying in my room, though I was not caught lying.
It is virtually impossible to try to describe a nation, or the times one is living in or even one’s generation in such a huge country as Russia. I can only talk about tendencies, subjective interpretation of the things happening around and about personal experience of observation. At some point I had an idea of aspiring investigation on the question why we don’t want anything. I read the forums, dedicated to the punishment of children in religious families, forms of sexual activity connected to s&m, the analysis done by foreign experts of Russian literature and of totalitarian art in the 20th century.
And the way people write it, they way they think, reminds me of the image of a prostitute, a beautiful and sinful woman, being romanticized in French art, where she is more than anybody other open to the true love, but should die by her own hand or of the senseless act of violence due to the rules of a genre. Often I think that people know some laws of harmony, that no one will tell me about, that every bit of suffering is accounted for a bit of supernatural beauty. That an everyday portion of anger is the key to the everlasting and ravishing love. That suffering will teach you to love God, parents and a person that is close to you. Rage, aimed at oneself, at one’s body and own mind, allows refusing any active steps.
But what if we have misunderstood everything and in reality it’s the same as with the proof of wisdom being found in the doubt in words as opposed to the fierce argumentation. Maybe this is all a desire to run away from one’s body, as from a senseless shell and to turn into an eternal image. Maybe the Russian phrase “If a man beats you, it means he loves you” can be understood as “If a man beats you, it means he lets you feel the unreality and the futility of occurring life”?
Margo Ovcharenko (b. 1989, Krasnodar, Russia) graduated from The Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia in 2011 and currently is enrolled in MFA program at Hunter college, NY. Gender roles in contemporary Russia are at the forefront of her work and her photographs deal with beauty standards, intimacy and hidden despair. Ovcharenko had solo exhibitions in Paris, Copenhagen, Moscow and St.Petersburg.