GROUP SHOW OF RUSSIAN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY
Museo Civico, Asolo
curator: Steve Bisson
From august 18 to september 16, 2012
saturday and sunday: 10.00-12.00 | 15.00-20.00
monday to friday (only from 18 al 29 august): 18.00-20.00
Group exhibition of contemporary photography, which focuses on women and their role and representation in Russian society. A journey through everyday life, dreams and aesthetics. The selection of different projects comes from the need to gather evidence of a variety of interpretations on the female world at the time of profound social transformations in Russia. The role of women is seen as a mirror of the right to freedom and emancipation. The exhibition represents a unique opportunity to observe and compare the interpretations of 11 contemporary Russian authors: Nikita Pigorov, Anastasia Khoroshilova, Anastasia Tailakova, Max Sher, Igor Starkov, Katerina Belkina, Sasha Rudensky, Olya Ivanova, Alla Esipovich, Margo Ovcharenko, Anna Kharina, Olga Chagaoutdinova.
«I photograph to preserve the complexity of the lives I encounter, each of my subjects a version of myself that never left Moscow: a student; a young mother; an aging dissident; an andro
gynous westerner. The three photographs included here – Yulia McGuffie, 2009; Anya in Mask, 2010; Olya in Taiga, 2011 – are part of a larger project called “Novij Mir” (Russian: New World). That body of work cultivates a posture that is simultaneously that of an earnest documentarian and a fiction writer. I seek to manufacture a fragmented, contradictory world of the newly minted Eastern Europe, engaged in a self-conscious performance of identity creation. My subject is an orphan generation of Russians and Ukrainians who have come of age in a social vacuum, having disowned their past, but lacking any means of orientation within the present. The characters that I photograph are part archetype and part invention. My process of casting and directing mimics my models’ conscious and subconscious editing of their public identities, inviting me to fashion them into the impossible prototypes of myself that never existed. The pictures negotiate that boundary between fiction and truth, performance and social document, reflecting the frayed edges of the constructed world that is contemporary Russia as it exists and as I invent it to be».
«I shot small town in the north part of Russia named Kich-Gorodok. It’s ordinary town with ordinary life, like hundreds of similar towns across the country. I went through villages around it which were almost depopulated and shot portraits of people still living there as well as archive family pictures belonging to them. I tried to shoot in the same style as village professional photographers who were invited to make pictures of weddings, funerals, kids and feasts. I wanted to continue local tradition of posed portraits in the best dress with serious face. It helps me to connect all these people in their feeling of being Russian, in common atmosphere of irrationality and some kind of surrealism, in
such Russian combination of absurd and beauty, sadness and kitsch, family and history, life and death».
«When I was photographing my Amerika series, my approach was to photograph everything I thought was interesting or touching emotionally. I did not have any preconceptions as to what or whom to photograph. After editing the images I realized that most portraits I had taken were those of women and girls. Why was it so? Maybe because they impersonate the tender and awkward years of my childhood and youth, long gone and lost forever, that I am trying to reach to in my imaginary Amerika. My Amerika is about an attempt to emigrate into my own imagination. It was shot during my stay in a region where I had lived from the age of 11 to 23 – a difficult and formative period in my life. I went there after a long absence to come to terms with that period, to contemplate and photograph. Amerika is also a play of photographic visions: at first sight, it looks like America although it’s not. It’s just the use of ‘American’ light and color to depict a completely different reality; maybe it can be seen as a study of my own visual influences».
«The young girls, almost women, photographed 2003 in the boarding school of the State Russian Academy of Choreography of the Bolshoi Theatre can still embody for many young women in Russia a kind of an unreachable dream: solo dancer at the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet. Parents from all over Russia and abroad try to send their child at the age 6-7 far away from home to attend this kind of boarding school… I see my role in most of my work as subjecting social relationships to observation and analysis. “Islanders” is about the world of the dormitory, boarding school and other temporary “reservations”. Such “closed” groups always seemed to me like “islands” in an infinite society of the modern world. I am interested in the “points of intersection” of global social space with the ordinary “charter” of the separate social structures constructed, as a rule, when counting on the absence of the outside observer».
«That year Natasha split with her boyfriend, that she was in relation with for four years, and after one week he married another woman and Natasha had very difficult times. That day we went to her home city, near Saint-Petersburg and spent all day walking in the forest. After a long walk we found a lake and decided to swim. I wanted to photograph Natasha because i felt her pain and wanted to help somehow, but i didn’t really know what can i do, except showing her my feelings. Working on this photograph i wanted to show her herself refreshed, clear and open to the future. I believed that she can live through this situation. The process of photographing for me is the live participation in the reality, sort of exchange, my message to the world, through the model and the viewer. On the one hand it’s a personal photograph, that shows my relation to the concrete person, but at the same time it’s something bigger, something that i want to share with other people. Experience builds us. Sometimes it hurts and we loose our belief in the future. But the only way we can survive is the acceptation of the past in the present, no matter how difficult and painful it could be….»