The USSR was not only a vast closed territory with extensive geographical boundaries that stretched from Europe through Asia but is also a huge well of memory or dis-memory - a utopian vision that became a dystopian nightmare lasting nearly a century. The story of Communism is the story of the 20th century. For many, the Soviet Union existed, like their childhood, as a fairy tale where many of the realities of life were hidden from plain view. When the Berlin Wall finally fell so too did the illusion of that utopia. But time changes memory. The ex-Soviets confused the memory of their innocent youth for their nation's utopian vision, unable to confront its history and thus creating nostalgia for tragedy. This book tries to seek and portray the socialist dream, the nightmare of the USSR beneath the veneer and the reality that emerged after the fall. And like all fairy tales try to teach us: the hard lessons of self-reliance.
Jason Eskenazi is an award winning New York born photographer. His book, Wonderland: A Fairy Tale of the Soviet Monolith, was the winner of Best Photography Book 2008 by Pictures of the Year International. His awards include a Fulbright Scholarship, 2004, Guggenheim Fellowship, 1999; The Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize, 1999, and The Alicia Patterson Foundation Grant, 1996. While working as a security guard at the MET museum he created By the Glow of the Jukebox: The Americans List about Robert Frank's The Americans. Eskenazi is also a co-founded of Red Hook Editions, which empowers photographers in the making of their books. He also co-creator of the foto fanzine Dog Food.
Read CBC's curator notes on Wonderland: A Fairy Tale of the Soviet Monolith here