Yury Toroptsov

1974 - , France
The House of Baba Yaga, 2008
“The House of Baba Yaga” depicts the reality and daily life of the photographer’s family house in Grodekovo, a typical village of some three hundred people, north of Vladivostok in the Far Eastern Russia. Exploring the notion of home, the artist offers to viewers two visions: daylight portraits of family members currently occupying the house and night photos of the house exterior. For the night photos, Yury Toroptsov uses the visual codes of Russian traditional fairy tale illustrations. Dark shadows, saturated colours create a feeling of another reality.
The photo series Fairyland was produced during Yury Toroptsov’s international photographic residency on the British Channel island of Jersey in 2014.

“Island” as a general notion possesses powerful imagery stemming from myths and legends deeply anchored in the collective unconscious. Jersey with its unique geographical location and history owns a fair share of those mythologies. A closed space, a place of exile, un lieu de passage, a microcosm of society, independence and neutrality, presence of sea and other elements, a promised land, etc. With Fairyland Yury Toroptsov explores how these and other themes manifest themselves in present day Jersey.

The resulting series is composed of island’s landscapes (dolmens, seaside, and nature) and portraits of its inhabitants (both set up and spontaneous). The title Fairyland was borrowed from travel literature about Jersey in which numerous allusions are made that Jersey is in fact Fairyland. Inspired by this discovery the photographer went on a journey to uncover and document the traces or remnants of what is referred as Fairyland or the land of fairies. In his final selection the photographer makes references to Jersey Norman folklore which has a special place for fairies, described as entities which only visible to few and invisible for most people.

After the six month residency on the island Toroptsov noted that the island though not vast in terms of its size had a feel of a rather discreet place that wasn’t immediately open for a stranger to witness and photograph, just like fairy folks who choose to reveal themselves only to those they choose.

Fairyland was showed for the first time in an exhibition at Jersey Arts Centre in September 2014.
Marilyn and I, 2005-2011
'In 1999 I had a chance to attend as a spectator "The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe” auction at Christie’s in New York. I was intrigued by a masterfully orchestrated ritual in a room filled with people determined to shell out thousands of dollars for the right to own a piece of Hollywood’s most iconic woman. It is at Christie’s that I first started wondering about the elements of the exceptional longevity and modernity of Monroe’s myth.' Yury Toroptsov