Jewgeni Roppel


The long-term photography project „Magnit“ explores five places of hope and desire for a new spiritual era in western Siberia. „Gulag“ and „Exile“ were synonyms for Siberia for many years. Today people are talking in Russia, especially in esoteric and spiritual societies, about Siberia as magical place on earth which entails: „duhovny magnity“ or „mesta syli“ which means energetic and spiritual enchanted or healing places that attract people who are seeking spiritual or mystic experience. Those sacred places are mostly located in the nature which, is connected with legends, mythology or prophecies, mostly related to mystical lakes, rivers, forest or holy mountains. Some spiritual leaders created on their own visions in those places which contain beliefs about the new ark in Siberia and hope for the world if the Third World War and catastrophes will come over the world in the future. The people who decided to live there are dreaming of a future society and new spiritual culture.

It is an utopia, which becomes real today in diverse spiritual movements and communities in Siberia, 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The seekers use diverse esoteric teachings, spiritual and healing practices. If thousands of people follow a spiritual leader in one place, devote other people in other places, esoteric Orthodoxy, Theosophy, Sufism, Shamanism, Buddhism or Syncretism, where diverse philosophies and religious teachings get combined to one philosophy of life.

The Phenomenon of the new desire in Siberia, and its growing interest is the topic of my work. The project gives an insight into authentic life and reflects through subjective documentary photography the representation the state of mind, the feelings and the ideology of the individuals who stand exemplary for the new dream in today’s Siberia. The symbols, metaphors and allegories plays an important role in the image and its atmosphere which into concentrated composition. Closeness and distance are basic conditions of this work. The dual journey takes thousand of kilometers to get from one place to another, face also my own experience and my anthropological interests.

Part of the photography series is an experimental six minute short film, which take an atmospheric, fragmental and overlapping journey to the magical places with the transsiberian rail.

Born in Tshymkent Kasachstan 1983. With 6 Years moved to Surgut (Siberia) and 1993 to Germany. Education in Graphic Design (BA) and Photography and Media (MA) at the FH Bielefeld. Working on topics of human believes and alternative lifeforms. Since 2012 working and researching on the long-time Project „Magnit”- new utopia in western Siberia.