No Entry – a series of 9 photographs

The transition process between two political and economic systems, which for the so-called “New East” (the former Eastern bloc) began in 1989, is still visible in the urban space. In 2018 I was asked to document 39 public movie theatres in Moscow, most of which were about to be demolished in order to make place for new local commercial/cultural centers. A common feature among many of the depicted movie theatres were the well isolated entrance areas, which made some of them almost look like coffins. These constructions seemed to be stable and well planned, but still they looked like temporary objects, as if someone quickly wanted to shut the gates forever at the dawn of a big disaster. Symbolically, the buildings with all their elements witnessed rapid economic changes for decades, eventually leading to turbo-capitalism and commercialization.

Since my visits, all but three or four have been demolished. In this sense, this series shows details from the last days of these places, which played a huge role in the leisure time of workers, students, citizens of the so-called „bedroom districts“. It emphasizes aesthetic aspects and qualities such as colors, shapes, and textures, which for a trained eye provide insights into the past 30 years of the fate of the movie theatre scene not only in Moscow but in many Eastern European contries and societies in transition. The series „No entry“ derives from the documentation I used for „Moscow Cinema Project“, which consists of a series of 39 drawings, a painting series and a publication.

The series of 9 framed photographs was shown in the group exhibition “The Portal” at VBKOE, Vienna in fall 2021.