MOSCOW.- The Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography
is presenting an exhibition of works by the young Dutch artist Tamara Stoffers. She boldly experiments with collage technique by combining old book illustrations, postcards and newspaper clippings of the Soviet era. By mixing disparate objects from a common cultural and historical era, she creates new visual connections and semantic situations that are interesting to the viewer. Her work is based on a feeling of nostalgia for a past that she has never experienced.
The Soviet Union left a rich cultural and historical heritage, closely connected with ideology and propaganda. Its visual language is nostalgic for some and still relevant for others. It is particularly interesting how a foreigner understands and interprets the Soviet world, which is fundamentally different from the world in which she lives. "The first time I found an old book about the USSR, I was captivated by the strong visual language and the recognizability and unexpected contrast of the imagery. It was a very surreal and incomprehensible world," says Tamara Stoffers.
She became interested in the heritage of the Soviet Union after visiting the exhibition Soviet Design 1950-1980 (Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 2015-2016). The exhibition consisted of more than 500 items: furniture, textiles, household appliances and utensils, toys, advertising posters and unique archival materials. Tamara was so inspired that she began to collect everything that was associated with the Soviet era: from traditional dolls to painted spoons, campaign cards and figures of Lenin. The first book in the Stoffers collection was the album Portrait of Moscow (London: Paul Hamlyn, 1965). Its illustrations formed the basis of many of Tamara's future collages.
Stoffers likes to break down traditional Soviet images, placing them in a new context inside the collage. She approaches the process of creating her works like a game and, leaving viewers free to make their own interpretations, offers to join in the game herself. In the Netherlands, this type of game would be called "tickling the imagination".