(Ust-Kut, Moscow, Russia)

Black Shoes





The girls from the dance class were running through the halls, and I knew clearly and could feel how the pins dug into their heads. How tight their hair was, how their stiffly pointed toes went numb, how their whole bodies twisted into a slender spiral, how frantically they danced the same step over and over again—hysterically, audibly, boldly, forcefully.





I remember that beat from my childhood. I know to keep my head up, no matter what happens.


But something happened.


We had been dating for one thousand four hundred and sixty-one days, and no one knew about it. Twenty-three days ago, he texted me that he didn't feel anything anymore. Then I thought to myself, I want to buy black shoes. Stupid black shoes. To dance out all the pain.


Hysterically, audibly, boldly, forcefully.




my photo.jpg


Marina Istomina (b. 1993, Ust-Kut, Irkutsk Oblast, Russia) is an artist whose work deals with memory and trauma, particularly with traumatic experience. As she is from Siberia, her projects are in close dialogue with the local context and relevant issues in Siberia. Her practice often draws on interviews and archives, which are embodied through visual images. In 2015, she graduated from the Higher School of Economics (Moscow), majoring in Cultural Studies, and in 2019, she completed the course Experiences of Contemporary Photography at Docdocdoc School of Contemporary Photography (St. Petersburg).

Istomina is a winner of The Calvert Journal Makers of Siberia Special Jury Prize (2019), the New East Photo Prize (2020), and the Competition Krakow ShowOFF Section at Krakow Photomonth Festival (2021). In 2020, she was a finalist at Blurring the Lines; in 2021, she was nominated for FUTURES Talents. She lives and works between Ust-Kut and Moscow. Exhibitions include In the N apartment, all tricks are taken seriously, ZGA Gallery, St. Petersburg (2019); Young Artists Who Oksana Budulak and Alexander Zakirov Liked This Winter, Ploshchad Mira Museum Center, Krasnoyarsk (2020); Herbarium, PennLab Gallery, Moscow (2021); and Assuming Distance: Speculations, Fakes, and Predictions in the Age of the Coronacene, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2021).