Les Utopies Rouges, 2019
„Red Utopias is a collection of three books that bring together the photographs and texts of a dozen European authors and photographers around the theme of political utopias in Europe in a post post-soviet era.
In the wake of the centenary of the October revolution, we have been reminded that communism is and only has been possible through the unreality of literature and theory. Throughout history, the application of socialist theories of Marx, Lenin and Stalin proved to have a propensity for totalitarianism. Everywhere,the influence of the USSR was so strong that it remainsin memory as a kind of hope, an inaccessible dream necessary to maintain. As if it were a political plan still possible, it sees itself unevenly commemorated between societies.
The idea that commemoration is sometimes utopianis reflected in the historiography of the Euromaidanin 2014. The revolution that preceeded the war.The national pride of the uprising, embodied by the decommunisation, has produced disillusionment. To remedy this, inhabitants, intellectuals, writers, artists and photographers are seeking to reinvent life in society. On the other side, in the separatist zone of Donbass, the glorious moments of the USSR are celebrated, and the inhabitants, caught up in the war, try to live in this microcosm, relying on socialist hope.
Entering this year, we have seen through numerous publications and societies -Western but also
the farthest – a need to talk about dreams to escape.
It is a question of collecting the testimonies of a particular utopia. An utopia that envisages the revival of another utopia: The Communist utopia.
Is there any sense in talking about replicating this utopia? Is it not more a kind of restoration if it is
the elites who call it their wishes? Or is it not a kind of reactionary thought on the part of the popular circles that won nothing at the fall of the Berlin wall?
It would then be a curious reaction since it wouldre-establish an ideology that specifically deniesany value to the past. What is the object of the nostalgia of Communism: This is what we want
to discover, we who first grasp it as a mortifying ideology? Are we blinded by Western propaganda and by a more biased teaching than we would like to believe?
Red Utopias are collective memories, spaces and people. We interrogate architectures and places of memory through testimony and theory.
Red Utopias are an assembly of large format books that gives as much space to images as it does texts, without relegating one or the other to a secondary plan. Connected together by small notches, Red Utopias are a construction that readers can manipulate, clip, detach, reattach, assemble.
The trilogy Red Utopias brings the resultant content to life through individual launchings, a meeting and a series of lectures in the presence of photo-graphers and authors across France, the UK andmore. It gives readers the opportunity to be able to share their thoughts, to exchange, to question, the books become a meeting space.“
From the Press Kit, Essarter Editions
1/3 – FROM L’EXIL
Larisa Pelle &
2/3 – THE RECONCILIATION OF SPACES
3/3 – WITH THE PEOPLE
Right : picture on the left © Karol Palka, on the right © Claire Laude