Elena Anosova’s artistic practice focuses on visual sociology, exploring themes of isolation, boundaries, and closed communities. It blend of various media, including photography, installation, and archival research.
Anosova spent her childhood in the wilderness of Siberia and her teenage years in a closed boarding school, an experience that focused the artist’s attention on social and personal boundaries. The topic of borders is interpreted by Anosova broadly and includes both geopolitical and natural (hard-to-reach isolated territories) in the context of closed communities.
In her project Section, Anosova explores social boundaries and the deformation of human personality in women’s prisons, while her series Polite Fish and Archipelago of Doubt examine geopolitical boundaries and Russia’s interactions with China, Japan, and Korea.
Her current project, the game and book Atlas of the First Snow, is a deeply personal exploration of her family’s history in the Far North, raising questions about heritage and survival in extreme natural conditions. Through the sociology of nutrition, the topics of climate change and isolation due to natural boundaries are raised. These problems are shown through the illustrated autofiction about the Russian-Tunguska community of hunters.
The new series of portraits and graphics Locker Room, on which Elena continues to work, captures the violation of personal boundaries and the formation of the psychology of submissiveness, so familiar to Russian society since childhood. Locker Room delves into the uncomfortable reality of being forced to expose oneself to others in situations such as medical exams, and military enlistment offices. Drawing from her own experiences growing up in Russia where still there are no doors or locks in shclools bathroom stalls, Anosova explores the trauma and shame associated with these experiences. Through her work, she highlights the lack of agency and disregard for dignity that individuals, especially children, face in these situations. Anosova’s project is a reflection on vulnerability, nurturing submissiveness and how social directives can harm the individual.
In 2021, Anosova opened an art-residence on Lake Baikal, where she is currently exploring the industrial monotown of Baikalsk. Through her work, Anosova sheds light on the struggles faced by residents who were left without work after the city-forming enterprise, the Baikal Pulp Mill, was closed. Her research raises important questions about environmental hazards and questionable promises made by the state to turn Baikalsk into a garden city.