I’m a product of what others have invested in me. The apriority of parents, the automation of high school, being in love with university lecturers. In my parents are their parents in turn, their love, and their blindness. And so on, into the depths – it’s all the same. Every artefact from my ancestral tribe built me up. Each led to the unavoidability of my appearance. Every line of the letters of her lover to my mother crystallized her understanding of my future father. Proof by contradiction. All of it came together in one point – in me. I was deprived of the subjunctive.
Parents are an authority that can only be shaken with a lot of effort. They shine through in phrases and gestures. If you want to offend someone close to you, compare them with their parents. The goal is dissimilarity. You don’t want to be reflected in their eyes. Conclusive liberation comes when they themselves pass on. Then you gain the vision that was taken at birth.
These texts are letters to my mother. From different years, roughly from the 1960s to the 1980s. From friends, parents and lovers. The archive was left to me when she died. In my family, it wasn’t the custom to read letters. Every generation asked the following generation to burn all their correspondence. But for some reason nobody ever did this. The letters were stored in a desk drawer. And I inherited them. Since childhood I’ve been very curious by nature. I’d peek into others’ envelopes. I was told off for doing it. I felt ashamed. I’m still ashamed, but not as often, and not as deeply.
Athens Photo Festival 2015
Ksenia Yurkova (RU)
Letters for Two, and No-One Else
Duration: 3 June – 31 July, 2015
Venue: Benaki Museum, Pireos St. Annex