Exhibition / 1 May – 31 Jul 2020

Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear - Maria Kapajeva


As a result of the pandemic, this exhibition is presented online. See the full presentation here.

Developed between 2014 and 2017 in Maria's hometown Narva, Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear is a collection of work focuses on the social legacy of the textile mill Kreenholm, which was closed down in 2010 after 150 years of existence. The mill closure marked the end of an era for local people and left a traumatic experience. Working closely with former mill workers, Maria sourced her work on interviews and family archives including, photo albums, diaries, and memorabilia she collected.

With this exhibition, Kapajeva showcases the wider story of this region, where a rapid change from late socialism to harsh capitalism wiped out entire industries and their supply, production and other formal and informal networks.

Kapajeva spent her childhood visiting the factory where both of her parents worked, drawing fabric patterns and dreaming about someday having the same job as her mother. This body of work interweaves her mother’s work, and the artist’s childhood dreams and failures with the workers’ collective story to underline the division between personal and collective memories that together form our shared historical narratives.

The title of the exhibition is taken from March of Enthusiasts, written for the Soviet film The Bright Way (1940), starring Lubov Orlova in the role of a female weaver who makes her ‘Cinderella’ journey from peasant to Stakhanovite, a heroic worker. The song was a hit during the Stalinist era, although the line used as a title of this exhibition was censored and changed due to the suggestion of doubt in the word ‘unclear’. The idea of a wonderful dream is intended as a common thread throughout the exhibition but so too is the lack of clarity that characterises our memories of the past.

Gallery of Photography Ireland is delighted to premiere a newly commissioned video piece for the online presentation of Maria Kapajeva's Dream is Wonderful, Yet Unclear: