Bucharest seems to lie on some fault lines, in a fluidity both spatial and temporal, suspended between an unprocessed past and an uncertain future on the edge lands of Europe. Twenty-six years after the violent fall of Ceaușescu, deconstruction is manifest, the outcome of a story whose old logics are dissolving. The present is full of uncertainties, which remain volatile. A process of simultaneous modernization and decay is taking place. It is not easy to discard decades of the cruelest dictatorship. Its traces are still ubiquitous. The notorious Securitate might officially no longer exist, but its shadows remain on the faces of the destitute elderly. These images exist on the borderline between chronicle and fiction. None of them are staged, though reality is mainly a pretext to construct metaphors of a state of mind. This series is also about time, about inevitable endings, about what is fading — but also about what has yet to fade. It is about shadows that trace invisible, blurred, and oblique lines and borders. In a derelict department store that used to be the showcase of communist prosperity, the plastic ghost of Nadia Comaneci stares at the peeling walls, while at the other end of the city, a shy stuffed baby bear bears the company of the holy virgin. In between, there are bittersweet nothings and openings, prospects and reflections, along with disguises that intersect and answer one another. Elsewhere a young couple’s tenderness glows in the grayness. Hope is sometimes the thin reverse of desperation. Sadly the last frontier in this post-Cold War world may be the passing away of old generations whose sufferings and disillusions project an immensely sorrowful silence.
For more of Marylise’s photography, visit her website.