Claudio Gobbi


Neither Europe nor Asia is a project born from repeated journeys in the Ural Region in Russia, historically considered to be the geographical border between Europe and Asia. As in the majority of my projects the exploration of territorial boundaries has the intention of facing recurrent topics I’m interested in: identity and cultural belonging, the encounter between East and West, transnationality. All of these features go together with an investigation of photography as medium itself, its historical ambiguity and growing fluidity.
The starting point of Neither Europe nor Asia is the biography of the author Dimitry N. Mamin-Sibiryak (1852 – 1912), one of the main writers of the region and considered to be the epic poet of the Urals. His fairytales and indelible poetic narration of the Ural landscape shaped the imagery of the lands where he spent his entire life. His portraits, emblematic of a cultural border for his variable somatic traits, question photography as a means of representation in a period far removed from digital manipulation. 
Produced in different sets of images, Neither Europe nor Asia points out diverse photographic genres, gathering pictures from multiple sources and with different formats, both analogue and digital. Archival research and personal photographs are combined to portray a territory relatively unknown to Europe, reflecting at the same time on the notion of cultural connotation and on the relativity of geographical belonging.

Thanks to Dmitry N. Mamin-Sibiryak Literary-Memorial House-Museum, Yekaterinburg, Russia