VASILISA FORBES & NICK ILOTT 'A STATE OF UNCERTAINTY' 2021

October 8th - 10th


A State of Uncertainty’ installation by Nick Ilott and Vasilisa Forbes recreates the essence of a Soviet family apartment at the cusp of Soviet-era collapse.

Nostalgic B&W and colour film portraits shot by Nick Ilott and stylised by Vasilisa tell the story of a family across the later years of the Soviet Union, inspired by memories of Vasilisa’s childhood and her parent’s childhood. Stylised to resemble moments from the 70s, 80s and 90s, the framed photographs mimic a short period of time in the family’s life; motherhood, school years, prom, and a potential gaze into the future - the hope of travel and escape as the narrative approaches 1991.

The details of the room echo Vasilisa’s grandmother’s house, where framed school portraits hung against damask wallpaper, an ingrained memory of archetypal Soviet aspiration and design. Authentic Soviet details can be found in the photographs such as the white Pioneer’s cap, and the famous 1960s character toy Cheburashka - a highly sought after and popular children’s toy both in that period and as a symbol of Soviet-era nostalgia today.

The photographs have an uncanniness about them as they were shot within rural Suffolk, thus creating a strange connection between the two worlds. The parallels between the landscape of Suffolk and Russia are apparent within the nature, such as birch and pine trees, and the Soviet industrial landscape of concrete architecture as seen within the Bentwaters base and surrounding area.

Additional Credits:

Cast - Felicity and Isobel Mitchell

Make Up - Leanna Sangster