Clown - clown from English “mutt, snapper, clown” from the Latin. colōnus “peasant, boor”.
Dictionary of Russian language by M.R. Fasmer (1964-1973)

During the period of the USSR the word “Clown” had a negative pattern. At that time it was impossible to be unique and out of the crowd. You should be the same as thousands of others. You should be a small part of this giant communist system.  Those who didn’t want to be in the system hid in the shelters. It calls to go underground. Analyzing our Soviet past I want to break a cliché in our minds that to be a clown is something shameful.

I found a lot of Soviet photographs walking through different flea markets in the post-Soviet countries. It is hard to find any funny or ridiculous faces in most of these photos. All of us should be serious, formal, important and significant even if we were not so. In these photos it was easy to recognize our social masks but there were no souls. A fear of being silly and weird, not like everyone else, suppressed our desire and ability to show our real face in public. We have become a perfect reflection of our closed countries. Political idea of equality almost erased the individuality and uniqueness of every Soviet citizen. We were all similar. We were equally closed to each other. The slightest attempt at sincerity, love and joy foiled the social standard of equality. This ruthless erasing of the identity of individuals has led us to the fact that even today we can hardly imagine ourselves in a silly situation. For instance, when you are in the middle of the busy street in a clown costume. Because the formula “I am the same as you” doesn’t work anymore. And it is impossible to hide behind the social mask.

The concept of clowning therapy is very underestimated in many countries especially post-Soviet countries. I participated in Patch Adams (a founder of clowning therapy in the USA) clown trip during the last two years. And I have seen how it works with my own eyes. This is a unique social tool. It is not only to laugh but also to help people. Clowning is a great opportunity to share your love with other people.

If you look around it is easy to notice that our post-Soviet countries are dominated by grey and dark colors. These colors have become a part of us. Perhaps this is a reason why bright-multicolored clowns don't fit into the framework of our everyday life and attract so much attention.

One of the clowns from the Netherlands, her name Marlene, once looked at herself in the mirror in the Children’s Hospital where we came for clowning. She screamed – “It is me!” At that moment she saw the real herself. She saw her identity, that was much more important.

This project is an attempt to rethink our Soviet past. I try to find real souls in these old Soviet photographs and erase their social masks. I try to look at these people again but from another perspective. Maybe even from the perspective they have never seen. And in response I smile and open myself to these people.​ This project is a subjective reflection on our past and present. Sometimes I even think that we can stop any war and forgive each other anything if we could all become clowns at least for one day.