Fedya Ili, being a Russian cosmopolite, tries to discover each city in which he lives and find its soul. In 2015 he presented ‘Naked Petersburg’ – the first city in this series of Souls. After Paris, Berlin, and ‘Naked Tel Aviv’ – portraits and interviews of local guys. Each person tells the story of his relationship with the city, posing undressed on the streets – revealing the soul and beauty of their personal connection.
In 2015 Fedya Ili published the catalogue ‘Naked Petersburg’, containing both intimate photographs and statements of the people portrayed, which mirrors the contemporary social environments in St. Petersburg, Russia. In the new catalogue, ‘Naked Berlin’ is following the same concept. The statements aren’t that different from those of the Russian men. Obviously the treacherous security of one of Europe’s gay capitals, Berlin, is about to abscond. The dystopia of the gay mens community is noticeable. The artist threw a cast shadow of a random situation at the present. And he had chosen men, who are usually not in the focus of glitter and glamour of todays lifestyle mags and portals.
The artist’s sensibility, a rarely found instrument of today artists, grants these portraits a reliability, not only in terms of the artistry. The artist becomes a chronicler of social environments.
This project will be continued: In the second half of 2016 there will be published the 3rd catalogue, this time with portraits of men living in the French capital. ‘Naked Paris’ will be the next impressive testimony of Fedya Ili.
A master of portraits, Fedya Ili beautifully pairs the sights
of the city of St. Petersburg with a revealing look at it’s men, while offering us a glimpse of their outlook and the issues they face as gay men in Russia today.
Billy Mecca, Founder & Creative Director, Summer Diary Project
Falling in love with your hometown. But the question is: are you part of the town or is the town part of you?
Sandro Kortekaas, Co-owner, Mooiman Art Gallery