The Storyteller

March — May 2022

Anna Nova gallery

A project by artists duo, Russian Ustina Yakovleva and Finnish Sylvia Javén, who contemplate psychogeography of the Nordic lands and explore borderline states.


Divided geographically, with Ustina residing in Russia and Silvia in Finland, the artists first met on Kotlin Island, which both separates and simultaneously unites their home countries. Inspired by its secluded environments, Ustina and Sylvia transformed the island’s geographical terrain into an artistic narration — filled with poetic metaphors and their personal emotions.


Their collaborative series of mockumentary videos present a story of two pilgrims who find themselves in a tower surrounded by sea. This way or another, they will have to cope with the prose and humdrum of the cold Nordic world. Drifting along the shores of the Gulf of Finland and searching through its dark chill waters they spot some clamshells, which later become pieces of a fragile glass-based installation. Another part of the exhibition showcases a major landscape — reconstructed scenery with soaring mountains and snowy valleys. The artists use the found natural materials to tell the viewer a fanciful memoir-like story, where feelings caused by the journey fuse into a single psychogeographical narration, sharing a tale of personal identity and its boundaries.


The project resulted from the artists’ collab in the Kronshtadt-based art residence — curated by Anna Zavediy with the support of the Finnish Institute in St. Petersburg.