Folder 93
Part of the Image Diplomacy project
Photographic installation
15 framed black and white photographs, 30 x 40 cm each, 2015


During the Cold War, the Soviet exhibitionary complex sent abroad thousands of folders containing pre-fabricated, ready-to-install photographic exhibitions, with the aim of disseminating a positive and controlled image of Socialist modernity. After the dissolution of the USSR, the networks of cultural diplomacy that had been established with the countries of the First, Second and Third Worlds collapsed. The archives of these exhibitions are nowadays scattered around the world, oftentimes neglected and abandoned.

The black and white prints are taken from a folder with the original exhibition arranged in a pre-defined display, and present landscapes of wilderness, open horizons destined for the gaze of the explorer, and a great diversity of natural conditions, rendering the Soviet Union as a natural reserve of planetary significance. Unlike the direct expressions of political posters, this exhibition does not contain forthright political visual symbols but constructs a pictorial seduction precisely in proportion to the indirectness of the images and their seeming indifference to the beholder.
The installation is a non-literal re-enactment of the exhibition Landscapes of USSR, sent to Italy in 1958 and is concerned with the question of how the fusion of photography and exhibition strategies renders the landscape as a political medium.