Bizarre or trending subjects? Catch a break with our curiosity of the week. The Oasis series, by photographer Danila Tkachenko reveals a surrealist Qatar, as archaic as it is modern.

Russian visual artist Danila Tkachenko fell in love with photography in 2009, when he was sharing an apartment with a woman photographer. The medium enables him to create a unique universe, far from the ordinary. “I see myself more as a composer and creator of the new reality”, says the artist, who manipulates notions of time, weather and place to merge different spaces. Fascinated by technological progress and the pursuit of utopia, Danila Tkachenko likes to build strange worlds, where hope and disillusion collide.

Emptiness and progress

His project Oasis was inspired by a series he produced some time ago in Russia, called Experimental Field. “I exhibited ornamental figures from people against the background of sleeping areas”, he tells us. A work presenting society as an artificial social construct. “When I arrived in Qatar I knew I wanted to produce something similar considering the local culture”, he adds. In a deserted landscape, veiled silhouettes, wearing black and white, walk towards fading high buildings, a metaphor for the stupendous economic development of the territory.

“I was struck by the contrast between modernity and the archaic. An ancient society living in the modern world of skyscrapers and new technologies”, the photographer says. Surrealist, the artist’s visual creations echo this dichotomy. The draped figures seem to be on opposite sides, revealing the obvious divergence of the region. Yet, in this divided place marked by emptiness and progress, the silhouettes still move in an organised fashion. An order to maintain. What are they walking towards? Will the promised futuristic paradise erase the antique codes? A series as aesthetically pleasing as it is philosophical.

© Danila Tkachenko