At the beginning of the year, the Château d’Eau, in Toulouse, presented on the space exploration theme, the very personal and nostalgic work of the young Russian artist Ivan Mikhailov.
When I was a child, I dreamed of being an astronaut. There was a rocket-shaped slide near my house. I often perched on it at night, gazed at stars, thought of distant planets and space adventures. My city is like a huge cosmodrome, where nearly 40 rockets are stored in many children playgrounds. Most of them dates back to the 1950’s in the soviet Union. There were times when they were the symbols of human achievement and of people’s space exploration wishes. At that time the first Earth satellite was launched, the first man was sent into space, people dreamed of building cities on the surface of the Moon, on Mars… Time passed and space is still just a dream of humanity. The rockets in children playgrounds became heaps of rusting ruins. By day there are kids still playing nearby, by night there are drug addicts and alcoholics. These rockets are the nostalgic story from my childhood, maybe an attempt to run away from reality into the world of wishful thinking. Making this project I spent many hours during the night in the playgrounds. I still gazed at stars and thought of distant planets. But this time they seemed significantly more distant.
Ivan Mikhailov was born on January 15th, 1981 in Novocheboksarsk, Russia. Playground is a series of photographs taken between 2009 and 2010 of vacant rocket ship style playgrounds built in Russia during the Space Race.