In the Moscow Girls series Melanie Manchot examines the relationship between representation and subjectivity through a set of portrait photographs of nine young women and their sound recorded stories. Images and sound are presented independently with the connection between stories and portraits deliberately left open.
These young women have lived through the recent turn in Russian history in the early nineties, the demise of yet another ideology, when they were teenagers. Hence at the time, their personal lives were vulnerable and their identities in turmoil as they were challenged to construct their new life and sense of self. Many of these young women have an intense desire for beauty, their own and that of the material goods they choose to adorn themselves with. By contrast their stories range from shocking accounts of loss and crisis to poignant tales of both dreams and misadventures.
Through the formal strategies of the work, as through the content, Manchot aims to investigate possible conjunctures between photographic portraiture and narratives, shaped equally by personal storytelling and larger historical/political perspectives. At the core of this work is an examination of the space between the documentary and the fictional, the observed and the constructed. Like a film stripped down to its individual components, the work aims to present protagonists, narratives, locations and time. The relationship between these elements is left for the viewer to decide.