«Contemporary Russian youth culture is an area of artistic experimentation – an exciting new quest for identity. It is, forgive this tautology, very young, and dates back only as far as 1990s. Russia didn’t have its own Larry Clark or Raf Simons with his The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes: today emerging photographers and artists have to make up for it with the help of their eyes and intuition. Sonya Kydeeva is one of them.

Born in Moscow in 1988, Kydeeva belongs to the generation whose juvenile years coincided with the collapse of the Soviet system, and the total makeover of visual and cultural environment. The country was suddenly filled with new, alien but enchanting fruits of the West: films, music, advertising and imagery. Having absorbed all they could, young artists now use the Western artistic tools to try and capture the essence of being young in Russia, in search for the new national identity. Kydeeva’s artistic practice is universal – her boys could easily be cousins of Hedi Slimane’s surfers – but also deeply rooted in her Russian background. “I do my projects in Russia because my inspiration is here,” she says. “Everything is important: language, history and culture, my vision of space and people in it.”

Kydeeva’s main subjects are boys and young men. Not just an observer, she’s their friend, and as one of their kin she captures not just faces and bodies, but the very flow of their lives in big unwelcoming cities, beside high-rises and in amongst the wastelands, with their tattoos, scars, bruises, skateboards and mates. She is interested in the brief moment of formation; fragile and hardly visible processes occuring during one’s coming of age. Kydeeva also redefines the idea of masculinity, as Russia has always been and remains the land of hyper-masculinity and strong heroic men: she liberates her boys from gender conventions, allowing them to be young and sensual, free and open to everything.» ©DAZED



CONTACT
kydeeva@gmail.com

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