Before You, Above the Circle

Mika Sperling

2018 - Ongoing

Norilsk, Krasnoyarskiy, Russia

I was born in Norilsk, a mining city in Northern Siberia where my family worked and lived for 20 years. In 1991, at the age of 7 months my parents and seven older siblings migrated to Germany where I grew up. I have always tried to understand our origins as a family both as a German and a Russian citizen.

At times I have struggled to understand why the eldest members of my family who grew up in that far off land were so different than I. After my father passed away when I was nine, it left me with questions around my parents’ and family’s legacy.

When I returned to my birthplace Norilsk in early 2018 to start my project of Personal History I soon found out to be pregnant with my first child. Suddenly my work and personal life merged together and would lead to a solo exhibition of the project “Before You, Above the Circle” at the Aggregate Space Gallery in Oakland, overlapping with my child’s birth.

In Before
 You, Above the Circle 
I am re-creating past memories through photography and video, sometimes idealizing or deconstructing a place, letting a nation shape what family means for me. Visual images combined with video, objects and text in an installation, guide the viewer through a story on an intimate level to both explore the complexity of my own family history and the larger impact of multiculturalism.

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