Photographer Nikita Shokhov spent five years observing and documenting Moscow nightlife to create an album of images that offer an insightful social study on human behaviour. He captures a demographically diverse range of Muscovites, from hipsters to strippers, at various stages of their evening — getting ready to go out, on the dance floor, locked in an embrace — and in a variety of settings from foam parties to luxury clubs. In Shokhov’s photographs, all of them resemble carnival revellers, and the way this carnival is depicted appears strongly reminiscent of Bakhtin. Their club antics are like stepping into the square of a medieval town at carnival time, ruled by the ‘base desires’ so familiar to us. In clubs, as in casinos, time no longer exists, commonplace spatial coordinates are disrupted, and people in this state do not dance, relax or converse – their state is most easily described as a trance, an escape from the boundaries of their own body. Observing the debauchery through his sober eyes, Shokhov sketches a picture of the absurd and the comedic, and the seediness and the tenderness that characterise a night out in the Russian capital.
text by the curator Ekaterina Inozemtseva