The Borders of Russia is a documentary photographic study of the Russian border. The project, however, is not simply an outcome of a geographic journey along the border, but also the result of an intellectual journey exploring the connection between the disturbance of territorial boundaries, identities and collective memory.
A complicated Soviet past coupled with an uncertain future and the vast geography of Russia has made these territories a problematic area politically, physically and ethically. The borders and the surrounding areas bear witness to the historical events that once took place and the consequences – political, social and cultural. These are the territories where the past meets the present, cultures mix, identities are put at risk. The disturbance of boundaries, whether due to the process of unification or disintegration have always been connected with the issue of self-loss, threat to identity.
The project does not simply document the physical border and its constantly changing nature, but serves as a study of cultural symbols associated with the collective identity and landscape as its metaphorical representation.
Maria Gruzdeva (1989) is a Russian-born photographer based in London. She graduated from Central Saint Martins School of Art in Design and continued her studies at London College of Communication, receiving a Masters Degree in Photography. She is a recipient of the Ideastap & Magnum Photos Photographic Award, winner of the Magenta Flash Forward Emerging Photographer 2012 and Fresh Faced Wild Eyed. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with group and solo shows in Russia, UK, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Malaysia.