Born in a republic of the former USSR, young Ukrainian photographer Sergiy Lebedynskyy uses his perspective to explore the tension between cultural nostalgia and political shift. Lebedynskyy is a founding member of the Shilo photo group, known for its critical view on the social processes in the former-USSR.
In his recent project, "Arabat Spit / Healing Muds," Lebedynskyy used a Soviet-made panoramic camera and outdated Soviet film and paper to document a traditional basic spa as a metaphor for the current state of his country, which he describes as "stuck between a certain nostalgia for the previous system and looking with apprehension toward an uncertain future."
The Arabat Spit is a narrow strip of land that separates a large, shallow, and salty system of lagoons from the Sea of Azov. Located between the Henichesk Strait to the north, and the north-eastern shores of Crimea to the south, the spit was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but is now used as a health resort and beach by Ukrainian and Russian lower-middle classes.
"With the emergence of deep financial discrepancies between people, some find refuge in old myths and recipes," Lebedeynskyy says. "They resort to the timeless usage of mineral mud baths to heal their physical and possibly psychological ailments."
"Arabat Spit / Healing Muds" is currently on view at Spectrum Gallery (Lumiere Photo, 100 College Avenue). The show remains on view through January 31. Spectrum Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 461-4447 or visit spectrumgalleryroc.com.