For his latest project, The Other Shore, 22 year-old Russian photographer and multi-media artist Nikita Pirogov has spent three years taking over 100 photographs all over his home country. Taken on their own the photographs capture flashes and moments of Pirogov’s travels and life: from a friend lying in a sunny field to a solemn young policeman standing guard in the Palace Square in St Petersburg. However as a group they make up a mosaic that captures the essence of the country he loves so much. “I never know exactly what I’m looking for,” Pirogov says. “But if you want to find your way, I think you shouldn’t know where it is you're going.” The spirit of exploration is seen in the wide open spaces, the frozen fields and the vast open skies of the pictures, but there are also moments that narrow in on specific people in intimate moments that show how the country is made of the people and vice versa.
Dazed Digital: Tell us a bit about yourself
Nikita Pirogov: My name is Nikita, I am 22 and I don't know what I am going to do tomorrow. From early childhood I was practicing different arts and now I use photography as main media and I try to belong to it as to the tool which is like the projection of the light that gives the possibility to exist to all the elements in the world.
DD: What is The Other Shore About?
Nikita Pirogov: The Other Shore is a multimedia project I have been working on for last three years. There’s a lot of themes there, and also some different medias - video, sound, objects, performance and work with the exhibition space as a part of the exhibition. Photography is the main media which connects all of the different elements. This project is about communication in general, between people as well as between different arts. Honestly, I just wanted to find a form, which is important for me, but I tried be flexible, so, everybody can see anything he wants there.
DD: Is there a running theme?
Nikita Pirogov: Yes, it is connected with the story - a big poem, where you firstly see yourself, then people around you in the city, and then through the city you go far away to the nature.. and after all, you come back home. It's a circle, which is the fate. The title is the main image: when you stay on the one shore you cannot see another, but only the waves, which seem far away. But I know, that on the Other Shore somebody else is also waiting.
DD: How does living in Saint-Petersburg inspire your work?
Nikita Pirogov: Well, Saint-Petersburg is a great place. It inspires me a lot, but when I was small I lived in Southern Russia in Kuban steppe region, so, I can say that memories from my childhood are a very important part of me. Saint-Petersburg gives me fragile sensitivity and my Tree on the South gave me something I cannot explain with words. I can say that Saint - Petersburg because of its location and architecture influences its citizens a lot. Swampy landscape, grey sky, rains, longwinter - all this makes special fog in people's imagination.
DD: What do you love about photography?
Nikita Pirogov: It's like a glue. It's possible to combine a lot of different things there. But the main reason that it's just a work with light, you know. No light, no life, no light - no photography. I love to work digitally, because it's something that doesn't exist. It's like a soul of image. I can say that for me photography is an exploration of tangible things, which I take from their place in nature and make into images with their own associations, just as functional speech lies adjacent to lyrical music in the palette of sound. This process is a manifestation of all the factors of practical experience that affect our perception : climate, race, temperament, education, and many others. This process is aided by structure and composition, as well as by formal elements rooted in our biological experience.
DD: What do you think is the current state of the art scene in Russia? Who are your favourite contemporaries?
Nikita Pirogov: I love Andrey Moguchy in theatre. He's really try to find a new form of Russian theatre. Krymov and Vasiliev are also very strong directors from Moscow. I like Art-Group Voina (War), they are very important for Russian art in a moment.
Actually, there is also quite a strong new wave upcoming but the best artists I know - they are not interested in being "artists". For example, one very good poet-artist-physicist Leva Matyshkin in my opinion one of the best artists I know for a moment because he is doing a lot of different things in his way. He is independent, sincere and very good. I think he will find his way once. I can say that contemporary Russian literature inspires me more than anything else. Faina Grimberg, Alexander Ilianen are like teachers for me.