The clash of desires
In the summer of 2014, Davide Monteleone began to travel to the Russian-Chinese border in search of something that felt real and reliable. The Italian photographer had lived in Moscow for more than a decade. The images he captured of the locked away places through his lens remind me of Marcel Proust’s words: “We do not succeed in changing things in accordance with our desires, but gradually our desires change.”
Below I selected four images whose significance does not extend, just like a secret desire without any ambition to become real, ever.
Monteleone: “In a remote place like this, the Russians just wait for something that is going to happen, while the Chinese try to do something.”
Replica of St. Basil’s Cathedral. The original constructed by Ivan the terrible in the 16th century stands on the Red Square in Moscow. The copy on the photo was built by the Chinese in Jalainur. The painted turrets and onion domes were only a shell; nestled inside the building is a museum dedicated to science.
A food vender awaits customers on the bank of the Songhua River in Harbin, underneath the old and new bridges for the Chinese Eastern Railway. The old bridge on the left was built by the Russians at the beginning of the 20th The new one on the right was built by the Chinese.
Yu Shi is studying in St. Petersburg to become an Orthodox priest. The photo is taken in Harbin, China.
Passengers at the railway terminal in the Chinese city of Manzhouli, a small Chinese city on the border with Russia