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  INTRODUCTION
KOVJOR
HISTORY
CARPET LIFE
2.5 MIN. OF CARPETS
NEWS
CONTACT
MORE STORIES
CREDITS
 
 
     
  A DAILY LIFE PHENOMENON
 
     
  Welcome to KOVJOR, a story by Dutch photographer Marcel Brons about a typical piece of daily Russian life: wall carpets. Not exactly the first country you would relate to carpets. But a few decades ago the citizens of the former U.S.S.R. gave their own twist to this product, which makes it a famous daily life phenomenon...  
     
  KOVJOR  
     
 





















 
     
  HISTORY  
     
  Russian Wall carpets went from a necessity to an icon of wealth, and from a showpiece to a runnin gag. It has become a symbol for the young and old generation of Russians, thinking completely the opposite about life. How did a simple product received this status?

During the '50's and '60's there was a lack of housing facilities in Russia. The decision was made to build quick and cheap flats on a very large scale. The so called 'Khrushchyovky's', named after the leader of the U.S.S.R at that time: Nikita Khrushchev. The new appartments gave Russian citizens a private place, but also lacked some essential features. For instance good isolation, so cold air could enter the houses trough the thin walls. Heating was controlled from a central point. This also caused the houses to be cold at certain days.

All those reasons together made isolation a big problem. The idea came up to put the carpets on the walls instead of on the floor. So at least the places were isolation was important (next to the bed and sofa) became a bit warmer.

So initially the Russian wall carpets were not a form of art or decoration (as in other countries), but just a necessity. But the usage of carpets became also a sign of wealth. The rich part of the middleclass often decided to buy a big carpet for the livingroom. Ofcourse for isolation, but also to show their wealth to family and friends. The carpets could easily cost eight times an average Soviet month salary.

Nowadays the young middleclass in Russia gets richer, and can afford new appartments (or the renovation of an old one). Since isolation is much better now, the carpets disappear from the walls as soon as possible: It's out of fashion and not neccessary anymore.

As much as the carpets were loved by the old generation, the youth hates the old Soviet product because it reminds them on the old regime and on poverty. They make fun of the carpets on internet by posing in front of the so called "Dust collectors" as their parents did back in the days. But now they make funny faces, or posing in sleezy clothes.

The carpets went from a necessity to an icon of wealth and from a showpiece to a runnin gag. The carpet has become a symbol for the young and old generation of Russians, thinking completely different about their lives.

But in essence all generations will think the same about one thing: The carpet provided isolation at times it was needed the most and therefore gave young and old just enough comfort to be warm, relax and...sleep.




 
     
  CARPET LIFE  
     
 





















 
     
  2.5 MIN. OF WALL CARPETS  
     
 



This photobook exists entirely out of photo's that were taken by Russian citizens from the '60's until the '90's. Often without thinking of the carpet. But it was such a prominent and big piece of interior that it was difficult to miss when taking a photo inside. It shows how heavily incorporated the carpets were into daily life.
 
     
  NEWS  
     
  To be informed about Kovjor you can follow the news on the special "GRUMPY RUSSIANS" FaceBook page, where stories about normal Russian life are collected. Here you can follow all information about this project, but also about "GRUMPY RUSSIANS" and "GARAGEDOC"; other projects about daily Russian life.  
 
 
     
     
  CONTACT  
     
  Marcel Brons
Info@marcelbrons.com >
FaceBook >
 
     
  MORE STORIES  
     
  Kovjor is part of a serie of short stories about normal daily Russian life. Stories without any prejudice, without starting from a political point of view. Just to show another Russia. A Russia that is so normal that it becomes strange again. Make sure you check also the other websites:

garagedoc

grumpy russians
 
     
  CREDITS  
     
  KOVJOR became reality because of the help of the following people and instances:

STICHTING FONDS ANNA CORNELIS
Special thanks go out to Stichting Fonds Anna Cornelis, a Dutch organisation for encouraging documentary photography. They decided to finance the project and therefore they made this documentary become reality.

NLRF2013
COUCHSURFING
VRIENDEN VAN ST. PETERSBURG

The Netherlands
Jan Lokker, Ruben Schumacher, Jan Scheerder,

St. Petersburg:
Olga Yusim, Xenia & Oleg Popova, Vladimir,
Vadim Gusev, Kira Chernova, Andrey Yurov, Liza Sadkova,
Kirill Alexandrov, Svetlana Avdoshina, Alexandr Fadeev

Krohnstadt:
Elena Tsaryova, Larisa Tarasova

Moscow:
Irina Pipovarova, Stassja Netsvetaeva, Anna Fedyanovich,
Masha Muravyova, Pavel Ivanov

Tver:
Oleg, Marina, Sofia and Yaroslav Evgrafov,
Tatiana Ivanova, Ludmila Evgrafova, Olga Vasilyeva,
Lubov Veselova, Igor Rozdin, Veronica and Sergei

Ryazan:
Sofie, Katya, Sergei, Dzhas, Gleb Kolesnikov, Lesya Starykh, Ksenia Efremova, Gleb Koleshnikov
 
 
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