Once There Was There Wasn't
“Objects, places, and events that occur in separate times and places can coexist psychologically. My work supposed that this coexistence can be reconciled with photographs, which, although normally fixed to particular times, locations, and stories, are nevertheless able to travel, in boxes, or as mind images on overlapping currents.”
Until the age of eight, Svetlana Bailey’s summers were spent at her grandmother’s house in the Russian countryside. It was there she discovered the world on her own and formed her earliest memories. Sixteen years ago her grandmother passed away and now the house stands empty. To create once there was there wasn’t, Bailey returned to her grandmother’s home and constructed installations throughout the abandoned property, using objects found there and photographs depicting her life after leaving Russia to create new images. She followed a similar process at her parents’ home in Germany and in her own home in the United States, constructing photographs that allow disparate times and places to exist together in the mind.
Svetlana Bailey was born in St Petersburg in 1984, and after the fall of the Soviet Union emigrated to Germany with her family. After beginning her studies at FH Dortmund, Bailey moved to Australia to complete her BFA at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney. In 2016 Bailey graduated with an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. Since then she has completed residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine; the NARS Foundation in New York; the Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida; The Bundanon Trust, in Bundanon New South Wales; and the Mountain School of Arts in Los Angeles. She will be in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City in 2018. In 2017 Svetlana was the winner of the Flash Forward Prize presented by The Magenta Foundation and in 2018 she was awarded an Australia Council Career Development Grant.