Eighteen artists: eleven photographers and seven filmmakers create the fullness of this exhibition, curated by Marie Tomanova and Thomas Beachdel. Each presentation invites a different perspective on life influenced by totalitarian rule. Eastern Europe – represented by the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Ukraine – alongside Russia commune, and retreat to the West with an artistic strategy to express a voice previously suppressed by their society. Their aim subsists as a political statement communicated through art. The showcase compensates with explicit content for a right of expression that has been previously repressed.
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The blaring DJ booth was merely a bass drop to the voices of eager, angsty and engaged young creatives attentive to the Baby I like it raw exhibition at its Thursday, March 2 Opening. Perhaps these are their stories to tell. The mingle among friends and respect for the vignettes that circulate the exhibition created a noise in the quiet, high class notions of the Upper East Side. The contradiction of its location deems appropriate when considering its initiative at the Czech Center New York within this conservative neighborhood.

Post Eastern Bloc photography marks its anthem. This style of photo journalism combats definitions instituted by the autocratic dictum. Unified by a collective responds to the nature of restraints with portraits and images of what freedom means for those who experienced or feel the aftermath of the political rule.

Among Slava Mogutin’s narrative, an erected penis carries a sergeant general’s hat. The Siberian photographer juxtaposes notions of societal dictations with personal desire. The contrast broadcasts between a group portrait of young men in uniform, and another teenage boy dressed in a jock strap wrapping boxing tap around his hands as he prepares to fight. This perspective seen in another image of a young man dressed in a similar fashion photographed in Fighter’s Stance. Mogutin shares his perspective on gender identity and cultural obedience by sharing images of those who proudly non-conform. Between the space of intimate and public space, Slava Mogutin’s presentation aggravates authoritarian ideals of gender by presenting proud images of homosexual implications with notions of young political alliance.
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Dazed expressions of young children, a couple caught in the heat of passion and a group of partying pals goofing off in a car: the varying layers of life end with its tainted reality. Even a young boy enjoying friendship, in one of the stories, carries an unsetteling complexion as his eyes roll away, lost towards the back of his head. In Post-Soviet world, Anya Schiller’s art depicts the strange, and at times, harmful realities of modern day. Purity, innocence and pleasure die young in this world. The collection of ten photos focuses on life from childhood to twenty-somethings caught in a mist of desperation, emptiness and fear. Just as an image of a nude woman staring out a window as the sun sets, she, like her community, hopes for companionship, love and comfort. Schiller suggests her subjects long for beauty in this dark world.

The absence of physical bodies in Pola Ether’s foursome collection of landmarks taken in the Bulgarian Rhodpe region stench of human contact. Could these vacant places reveal where the erotic youth commit their ‘dirty deeds’? Esther catches the purity of these snap shots in marked alley ways and run down convenience shops. Images of an outdated, unrealistic culture juxtapose to the idealistic visions enforced upon society. The artist explains, “they portray certain environment but mostly the energy of people who passed through, [and] left the mark, the sign in time”. Her political statement reflects the abandoned life Post-War, and re “Soul Suckers” the ability to find love onward. Short and sweet – Esther sees more than emptiness in these photos. Rather, she experiences life and the legacy of its passions.
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George Nebieridze carries the torch by exploring story telling a la naturale. A private room love seat shying behind a curtain and a curbside parked car wrecked with unidentified substance are two images penetrated with darkness. Even in their simplicity these photos connote rogue behavior. Their message complements the meaning behind the heated image of group sex – a sly reference to political equality – and a thrusted leotard implicating the desire to be desired. In their varied forms, Nebieridze photographs reveal the purest forms of daily life polluted in this post-war period. Freedom to chase desires once governmentally subdued becomes the meaning of reality. Some understand this rebellion. As privacy standards disband, and shadows cast on sexual images and abstract still life, his lens express a society far from government approval.

For the sake of ingenuity and truth, let us behold reality in all of its facets – whether it be raw and uncensored sexual expression – to shock our systems so that we may come closer to understanding the many different aspects of life. In this art form, the subjects naturally expressing themselves, allowing the camera to catch them in moments of vulnerability for the cause of a revolution. These photo diaries show that society as politics has previously defined, isn’t as it seemed, nor believed. Quite the opposite – violence, riots, promiscuity, heartbreak – defines its future. Individuals are exposed to represent a community, rather than a community defining individuals. 
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Anya Schiller
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Becky Factory
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Daniel King
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George Nebieridze
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Irina Yulieva
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Marie Tomanova
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Martynka Wawrzyniak
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Masha Demianova
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Pola Esther
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Sasha Kurmaz
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Slava Mogutin
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Sonya Kydeeva