I began to shoot the procession in 2012 when the major changes in Russian domestic and foreign policy were happening. In the era of global capitalism I see the rehabilitation of two old opposite political institutions: the church and the Soviet-like ideology.
The Velikoretskiy Sacred Procession is a huge Orthodox pilgrimage, which gathers annualy up to 30000 people from all over Russia and Eastern Europe, from all walks of life. The poorest wrapped in plastic and cloth, the rich go along with them driving expensive cars. People walk for six days, sleeping in tents. Because of the incredible diversity the procession is visually very rich. This is “the new Baroque” with an overabundance of details and colors.
The series also reflects on a mixture of old and new world in modern Russia. The old world comprises rituals and conservative thinking, which denies the western views as being sinful, low, and far from true belief in God. Nevertheless, a lot of the new things they use during the ascetic pilgrimage are material goods of global capitalism. So it’s the point where the new and the archaic collide.
SACRED PROCESSION: Kaliningrad, Russia
16 April - 20 May, 2015 / Baltic Biennial of Photography
Nikita Shokhov gathered material during 3 years of shooting at Velikoretsk sacred procession, the oldest orthodox pilgrimage in Russia. Like in previous projects the artist has not solely documented the reality, but he created a visual experiment by interfering to the natural light with color filters, or sometimes offering a scenario to the heroes. Thus, the author goes from photography as a document to the field of contemporary art. The experiment continues in the exposition. And the concept of the installation was done specifically for the space of Baltic Biennial. It is based on the idea of overcoming the limits of the "frame", and the elongation of the hall referes to the crowd of pilgrims extended for many miles.
Designers: Anna-Maria Kandales-Vorobyeva, Philipp Tretyakov and Julia Kondratyeva. Support: The Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin.