In his first project "Traces of the Soviet Empire" Eric Lusito addresses the way history is fabricated. He has travelled as an archaeologist throughout the former Soviet world from East Germany to Mongolia, from Poland to Kazakhstan, in search of these military bases that embodied the ambition and the might of the USSR and his photographs are an extraordinary record.
These now decaying military buildings and structures, sites hidden for so long which formed the very heart of the Soviet system, with their symbols of the all-powerful Soviet Empire once seemingly inviolable, illuminate and inform our understanding of the power and influence the military held over the people of the Soviet bloc countries, and in turn they reflect the decay of the Empire itself. Ruins of a recently defunct civilization, these sites of power are doomed to disappear in the course of time. The military departed but much else was just left behind.
In the Soviet Union more than elsewhere, the feeling of “reality” was built upon ideological representations spun by the political system. This political power had the will and the mastery to harness the immense creative talent of Russian artists to rally society together with a totally new Soviet culture. For millions of workers throughout the world, sustained with the image of a “country of bread and roses” their wait implied the building of a dream, but also the building of an inevitable lie caused by the gap between the Eden created by propaganda and the daily reality.
Twenty years after the collapse of the USSR, "Traces of the Soviet Empire" is a long term project at the border of documentary and art photography and the images a reflection on power and the passage of time. The work is based in the form of three series: the exteriors, the interiors, and the found photographs, images from another time, another space and another world. They question us through photography, a technical process of representation, the nature of decay, a natural process of disintegration and lastly ideology, a mental process of manipulation. They make us think about the role of art and therefore that of the artist.