Saturday, October 13, 2012

Exhibition Notes: Rafal Milach "7 Rooms" at C/O Berlin

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

During my extended stay in Berlin this year I attended the C/O gallery where I was equally impressed and disturbed by the Larry Clark exhibition. Towards the last room of photographs, I noticed a separate exhibition by a Polish photographer named Rafal Milach. His project "7 Rooms" portrays the lives of seven young Russians from Moscow, Yekaterinburg and Krasnoyarsk. Alongside the large scale portraits detailing poetic scenery of Eastern European heaviness - carpets of snow and Stalinist iconography - Milach included interview footage of his subjects whom he visited regularly for six years.

Milach captivated me with his photographs, because they spark certain similarities to the socio-political situation that Romania finds itself in and that I have repeatedly argued in my research on Romanian cinema. The idea that Romanian cinema explores Romania's inability of letting go of the past. A sentiment that is mirrored in the C/O exhibition guide: "...Milach portrays the life of a generation caught between the mentality of the old Soviet regime and the ambitious new Russia of the Putin era."