Word play: Ksenia Yurkova turns Murmansk’s cityscape into a game of associations
Ksenia Yurkova began her artistic career as a street photographer, responding to her deep curiosity about other people’s lives. This fascination led her to investigate everyday life at one of Russia's last remaining closed cities, Zarechny, and dig up personal family archives in an effort to learn more about her mother’s relationships. Though Yurkova’s curiosity remains the catalyst for her work, her visual style has evolved from traditional black and white photography to a fusion of different medias. 4 Stairs, taken in Murmansk in northwest Russia in May 2016, takes its name from the city’s multilevel urban plan. “The town is spread out over hills that descend into the sea,” the Russian artist explains. Showing us Murmansk’s surroundings, from the seaport to Khrushchev-era apartment blocks and portraits of locals, the series has its roots in street photography. Yet Yurkova was as much concerned with the conceptual links between the images as much as their content. “The last of my projects have been closely related to language, the possibility and impossibility of interchanging the visual and the verbal. Thinking of Jung’s associative method, I asked people I met on the street to take his test in response to where they spent their life. The text, left out of the project, was used as a prompt for shooting and determined its final form.” Choosing not to include her interviews, the artist in turn incites our own curiosity about the images.