Maria Kapajeva

Estonia/United Kingdom


The series Interiors is a selection of vernacular photographs found on the Internet and digitally manipulated afterwards by Maria Kapajeva. The final collages demonstrate a collision of two cultures: Russian women in their domestic interiors in poses which they borrow from Western mass media to project female sexuality. Being photographed in home interiors these women share their intimate moment with a viewer/a photographer for whom they pose. The postures are easily recognisable by all of us despite the obliteration of the women’s nudity with domestic patterns Maria borrowed from each image. The series looks at assimilation of cultures of post-Soviet territories with Western values, it aims to question the  effect these processes have on women’s role in contemporary society given the transformation wrought on us by globalisation: greater and cheaper mobility, the spread of Westernisation, and easy access to information.

In her work Maria Kapajeva focuses on women’s issues in contemporary society: cultural and social stereotypes, and women’s representation in mass media. Maria’s inspiration draws on  her own experience and stories of people she meets. She has various approaches in her work: using her own photography, archival material, and found images.

Maria is a Russian artist from Estonia based in London. She received the British Council PMI2 Award twice to produce new work in India. She was commissioned by The Photographers’ Gallery for The World in London in 2012 and shortlisted for the Title Art Prize in 2013. Her work has been exhibited internationally including the recent show at Harn Art Museum (USA).  Together with her practice, Maria teaches at the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham and is involved in research on women in photography, which will culminate in a conference at Tate Modern.