ISBN: Not available
‘Shvilishvili’ is Georgian for ‘grandchild’, literally it could be translated as ‘a child of a child’. In this project, presented as a handmade photography book object, the author questions the value of family ties in modern society through the blood line that connects and separates her relatives who live both in Russia and Georgia. The family is divided between two countries, and the problems of it’s members on both sides of the border arise from the postwar political situation as well as the tragic story of a murder committed inside the family.
In the first part of the project the representatives of Romanova’s family pose for group portraits to form a chain of images where each relative always appears in two photographs: the previous and the next. The chain of photographs starts in Georgia, goes though several villages and cities and ends in Russia, reconstructing the idea of the straight relative connection between people, despite of political and geographical borders. The second part of the book is a reconstruction of artist’s grandmother Keto life through the archive photographs that she sent to her relatives in Georgia while she lived in Russia. Failed to understand anything about her biography out of the images, Romanova puts portraits of her grandmother back into the old plastic bags as her relatives kept them many years and rephotographs as a new shape and also an evidence. Keto used to be a “bridge” between the borders for the whole family until she was murdered in 1999. The archive part of the project uncovers the story of her death and it’s influence on the connection between relatives.
The shape of the book reminds of a pile of paper or images that somebody moved and now it’s impossible to get them together again. This form is unhandy and questions the necessity of a family album in modern society, being an “anti family album” itself.
Jana Romanova is a documentary photographer, based in Saint-Petersburg. She was born in 1984 in Russia, and got a degree in journalism from Saint-Petersburg State University. Currently she works with photography and video to investigate the theme of collective identities, focusing on the territory of post-Soviet countries.