The Chukchi peninsula is the Eastern-most region of Russia, just across the straight form Alaska and eight hour zones away from Moscow. Ancestors of all America’s indigenous people have passed here on their move further East. Current population is only 50 thousand and decreasing. Alexander Gronsky has been pursuing his personal project ‘Less than one’ for several years now – the title meaning exactly this inhabitance density in the Northern and Eastern parts of Russia. It is not the purely social context that Gronsky addresses – he studies the very appearance of places where there is so much of everything except for humans; here, humans actually become a part of a landscape, a perished species.
This is the other theme that always interests Alexander Gronsky, which can be found in every series that he has ever made. It is the border – as a major philosophic notion. In his ‘Less than one’ series, of which the Chukchi peninsula is part, Alexander studies the idea of a border between the alive, thriving, inhabited, warm and humane – and the everlasting and indifferent vastness just out there. What is ‘still inhabited’ and what is ‘already not’? Regions like the Chukchi peninsula can also be described as national suburbs – the state is notoriously known for not paying attention to places that are still Russia but are situated ‘out there’. And it is here where the borderline of humanity lies, in spite (or probably thanks) to the oblivion enduring ten-month long winters and the harsh environment. (Vladimir Dudchenko, art critic)
(Alexander Gronsky | Chukchi Peninsula, PRIVATE 55, pages 70-75)