Jul 23, 2021

This could be us by Yulia Lebedeva

We are thrilled to share with you all the photography series This Could be Us by Yulia Lebedeva, accompanied with a text written for the project. Yulia has just finished her residency with Roman Road at The Columbia. Her works will be exhibited during the residency group show Still Journey in September. Stay tuned for more information!

Yulia Lebedeva This could be us: Rome, 2021
Yulia Lebedeva This could be us: Rome, 2021 
Yulia Lebedeva This could be us: Provence, 2021

Yulia Lebedeva This could be us: Provence, 2021 

Yulia Lebedeva This could be us: Santorini, 2021 

Yulia Lebedeva This could be us: St Tropez, 2021 


This could be us


Appropriating the stylistics of postcards, Lebedeva muses on what people now need to feel happy and connected. This could be us is translating our natural yearning to connect with people from our past, present and future. It picks up on words that have not been spoken yet and invites you into a made-up holiday that you almost feel like you have taken with your friend or lover. 


The project consists of carefully curated leisurely visuals that are reminiscent of holiday cliches that have been elevated to an art form with a slight patina of decadence, that the current visual social media culture has ascended upon us. 


No longer just a term of opprobrium for mannered art or immoral behaviour, decadence today describes complex cultural and social responses to modernity in all its forms. 


Shaw M (2019) Decadence and the Urban Sensibility. In: Desmarais J & Weir D (eds.) Decadence and Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 82-97.


Each visual is titled in a holiday kitsch font with the corresponding locations that are not their actual locations yet are presented as very much believable lies. The moments themselves are borderline lies as well. The vibrant photographs capture beautiful, almost too perfect, moments that would not have existed had they not been photographed by the artist. It is real, yet it is fake. This penetrates the idea of people living parallel lives through the carefully curated and conceptually approved photographs that illustrate a prosperous and carefree life, which does not necessarily correspond to the actual offscreen image of us.


Each postcard is signed by hand by the artist on reverse, with the intimate message for the receiver, thus inviting us to participate in the artist’s lie. There are no faces portrayed apart from artists’ own, creating an intimate feeling as if indeed, this could be you and her about to embark on this journey. 



This journey invitation comes just at the right moment as many are still affected by the pandemic in so many aspects of our lives. Lebedeva’s exceptional cheerful and escapist execution tone is exactly what we need after almost two years of bleakness and uncertainty.