Polite Fish

Elena Anosova

The core of the project is a research into the interplay between the Russian and Asian cultures historically coexisting on the territories of the Russian Far East. The problem of identity for a Russian living in the Primorsky Krai is that the more one emphasizes one’s “Russian-ness”, the more one starts to resemble their Asian neighbor, for whom this Russian is often the first experience of a cultural “Other.”Anosova distills each image down to the single element — a woman practicing martial arts on the embankment, two men posing with their paddles after a dragon boat race. Which is the “other” culture is never clear, instead, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultural tropes exist harmoniously together. Yet, the images, are no less complex for their simplicity. Caught within the fixed frame of her photographs is a world that is familiar but otherworldly all the same. It is this quiet tension, reflected in the unusual name of the series, that lends the photos an air of fantasy.The author identifies the pressure points in the exchanges between the two cultures as well as their mutual influence on one another in moments of an encounter on border territories. The phenomenon of the “polite fish” – a situation of contradictions between two opposite poles, two sides of the same coin, highlighting the difference between an external show of politeness and the internalized wariness inherent to the Asian world.
Part of the project was created in ZARYA Artist-in-Residence 2015

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CCA ZARYA (Vladivostok, Russia, 2015)

Technical Information
Video: 5:45
Characteristics: c-print, video

Dimension: 70X98 cm