Rest Behind Curtain
Dates2010 - Ongoing
'Rest Behind Curtain' is a project that has been created over a span of nearly a decade and it documents my journey to the most popular holiday resorts in Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union states.
In 2010 I started a project on Lake Balaton in Hungary. The Hungarian Lake Balaton is the largest in Central Europe. As Hungary is landlocked, the lake is often called the ‘Hungarian Sea’. From the 1960s onwards Balaton became a major destination for ordinary working Hungarians as well as for those from the eastern side of the ‘Iron Curtain’ who were rewarded for their work in building socialism with a permit to travel across the border. Working on this project triggered my interest in the subject of holidaying culture in the states of Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics. In 2016 I collaborated with a few international photographers to create a body of work documenting life of still functioning soviet sanatoriums in the states of former Soviet Union. These old days spas designed for treatments and rehabilitation are still sprinkled across the post-Soviet space in varying states of decay. Their construction began in 1920’s and continued right up until the collapse of the Soviet Union. These magnificent spas were built for the workers who could rest and re-energize there on a pseudo-futuristic health regimen in preparation for the working year ahead. The question of leisure was one that preoccupied Soviet thinkers. Free time and work were not separate but connected and regular sanatorium stays for workers were seen as a way of increasing productivity. Soviet workers were sent to sanatoriums once a year so that they could return refreshed and ready for work. Workers in the toughest industries, such as mining, were prioritised over others. Stays at sanatoriums were overseen by medical crew and even sunbathing was monitored by health professionals. Today, long time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are many of these amazing buildings still functioning. I continued my work on the subject of holiday making in the region ever since and in upcoming months I will be traveling to some other destinations to finish the project.