16 de Febrero  →  20 de Marzo de 2022

About 300 years ago my ancestors founded a small settlement in the Far North. Marked by the severe conditions of an isolated community, of life in exile, with a special attitude towards nature. My family still lives there, about 100 people with DNA from the indigenous minority, the Tungus Nation. Blood relatives, relatives by marriage, by close neighbors. Modern civilization influences the world, but our isolated community retains its identity thanks to isolation and harsh weather. The landscape, unchanged for centuries, makes us think: who are we? Where do we come from and – the most important question for the next generations – where are we going?

The name of our settlement can be translated from the Tungus language as “island”, it is only accessible by a helicopter that travels twice a month from a small town 300 km away. As the years go by, this process becomes more expensive and rare. People are encapsulated within this place in close connection with nature and traditions, as if they were under a bubble. The life of this part of my family, my father's brothers and numerous cousins ​​and nephews, has not changed for centuries in that remote area surrounded by virgin nature.

Modern civilization slowly and fragmentarily penetrates there. Electricity, supplied by a diesel generator, is available only in the morning and at night, temperatures in winter average -45° Celsius. These lands are immersed in the flow of their own vital activity, where the past and the present are surprisingly intertwined.



Elena Asonova is a visual artist and researcher who works with photography, video, archival, documentary and art installations. Originally from the Baikal region (Siberia, Russia) she lives between Moscow, Irkutsk and the Baltic Sea (Kaliningrad).

Her work, which has been acclaimed by critics and institutions around the world, explores themes of isolation and borders. She has been the winner of multiple awards, including the World Press Photo (Daily life, Stories)2nd prize 2017; LensCulture Exposure, 1st prize 2017 and the CENTER prize in Santa Fé México (Project Launch) 2016. She has also been the winner of the Aaron Siskind Foundation scholarship and the scholarship for emerging artists from the Garage Museum in Moscow.



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12:00 → 14:00

Víctor Manuel III, 18
28019 Madrid
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