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Elena Vazhenina. 11 Monroes
Date: November 21 — December 16, 2012
Venue: S. T. Konenkov Memorial Museum Studio, 17 Tverskaya

With the development of the 20th century cinema, fashion industry and mass media, the term of the cult celebrity, who influences not only upon the specific art, but also upon the culture in general, has appeared. On the other hand, the project logically continues Elena Vazhenina’s research of gender identity issues. In her works the photographer tries to reflect the essence of being a woman, emphasizing the individuality in rebellious and innocent images. It is no mere chance that Elena Vazhenina has chosen Marilyn Monroe for her research. They share the same birthday on June 1 and even have similar scars. Besides, the photographer is interested in Monroe’s unique image, inimitable synthesis of trappings and features of self-presentation, which have made Marilyn a symbolic figure of mass culture and a symbol of the new stage in the process of gender self-identification of a woman. The exhibition will contain 11 photos, portraying our contemporaries in the image of Monroe. The photos are accompanied with comments from project participants. They are Pavel Smirnov, Galechka Fedotova, Anastasiya Ofaria, Alena Solovieva, Natali Taranenko, Ekaterina Ladatko, Lyubov Gagarinskaya, Yulianna Gordeeva, Karolin Kabakuala (Vikroriya), Natalia Odintsova, Gleb Meshcheryakov. The 11 Monroes project is in the Debut program for support of young art by the MMOMA and the School of Contemporary Art Free Workshops. Vazhenina says, «Why is Monroe? We were born on the same day, June 1. Once I have seen her photo. She had a scar on the right side of her chest. I thought I had the same. I took an interest in her personality rather than in her career. The 11 Monroes project was an experiment. There were 11 participants. All of them got the same look, i. e. false eyelashes, red lips, a false mole and a blonde wig. After 10 minutes each of the partakers transformed into a real Monroe! The first thing that they said was „It is not me!“. They became tender and trembling. They winked, sent kisses and sang songs. After shooting, one of them narrated about a Monroe Barbie doll, the other used to narrow her eyes like Marylin to draw somebody’s attention, another felt sad and lonely like Monroe. There were photographed 15 people, but not all of them became Monroe. Perhaps, those people were more like Greta Garbo or Liza Minnelli, or just more like themselves.»

 
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