New East Digital Archive

A home from home: traces of a shared past in post-Soviet interiors

Bulgarian photographer Eugenia Maximova captures kitschy post-Soviet decor

12 June 2015

For her photo series Of Time and Memory, Bulgarian photographer Eugenia Maximova documented homes in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova that still encompass a Soviet style. In these rooms we encounter clocks, calendars and personal archives — various marks of time — but it is her own memories that Maximova projects onto these interiors. “While I was taking pictures for my project, a lot of memories from my childhood resurfaced,” says Maximova. Although the photographer grew up in Bulgaria, she recognised the kitschy household items that were mass produced in the Soviet Union as copies of western luxury goods but were common elsewhere in the world. “At home we had many low-value objects, cutlery, glasses, and ornaments that we handled with great care.” Soviet memorabilia that characterises these rooms reveals a nostalgia for the past. Yet Maximova presents it as a collective memory, not only shared by former Soviet countries. Rather than estrange the viewer, these images make you feel at home. This is why kitsch, although sometimes strange, is timeless and appealing.