Danila Tkachenko Combines Fact and Fiction in “Monuments” Project

All images by Danila Tkachenko. Used with permission.

What happens when architectural photography meets conceptual and modernist art? Moscow-based photographer and visual artist Danila Tkachenko gives us an idea through a fascinating project called Monuments. This series explores the boundaries of historical memory by combining abandoned orthodox churches and lightweight structures; elements that are real and imagined. If you’re looking for some out-of-the-box photography projects, this might just be one that inspires you.

Most architectural photography places emphasis on the details, style, and grandeur of buildings and other structures. Monuments, meanwhile, proves an interesting exercise in how the genre can be opened up to more experimental approaches. Part modernist art installation and part architectural photography, the series shot on large format film skirts the line between fact and fiction, as Tkachenko transforms the ruins of orthodox churches into contemporary structures. This idea, he said, was inspired by how political movements and idealists “exploit images of the past for the sake of our current needs or future goals.”

Tkachenko couldn’t have picked better subjects for this project, as he also mentioned that the churches were all abandoned at the same time – in 1917 after the Russian revolution. By fitting these remnants with lightweight structures in abstract, modernist shapes, he effectively mirrored the case of repurposing history to demonstrate a more contemporary idea or cause. It’s also interesting how the lightweight materials he used were noticeable enough to alter the scene, but also allowed the churches to retain their character.

“We come up with new interpretations and build additional structures to manipulate images of past history.”

Curious about how Tkachenko put modernist touches on the crumbling, abandoned churches for this project? Watch the equally interesting behind the scenes video for Monuments below:

Don’t forget to visit Danila Tkachenko’s website to see more of his work.