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Alexey Titarenko: Black and White Saint-Petersburg at Pobeda Gallery
"Nomenclature of Signs" series, 1986-1991. © Alexey Titarenko.
MOSCOW.- “The display of undeveloped” – is a special project of Pobeda gallery created to represent to moscovites the photography of an artist Alexey Titarenko, who’s works with classic technologies and modernists black and white photography are well-known all over the world. This is one of the very few cases of the international recognition of a contemporary Russian photographer. The exhibition at Pobeda gallery happens at the same time as the one in New York. Both expositions are in a way unique, they allow visitors to see the photographer’s archive. Apart from the well-known series “Nomenklatura znaka”, “Black and white magic of Saint-Petersburg”, there are art works, that have never before been on public display. What is the aim of revealing the archive? Titarenko`s special style of photography is being perceived by many as stories, cycles, series from many photographs. The idea of “The display of undeveloped” is to put the accents on individual works, to split the cycles and create from the very start the integral manner of an artist, which has been unique during many years of work with different styles and techniques.

Alexey Titarenko received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Department of Cinematic and Photographic Art at Leningrad's Institute of Culture in 1983. He began taking photographs at the beginning of the 1970s, and in 1978 became a member of the well-known Leningrad photographic club Zerkalo, where he had his first solo exhibition (1978).

Since this was creative activity that had no connection with the official Soviet propaganda, the opportunity to declare himself publicly as an artist came only at the peak of Perestroika in 1989 with his "Nomenclature of Signs" exhibition and the creation of Ligovka 99, a photographers' exhibition space that was independent of the Communist ideology.

Titarenko has received numerous awards from institutions such as the Musee de l'Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland; the Soros Center for Contemporary Art in St. Petersburg; and the Mosaique program of the Luxemburg National Audiovisual Centre. He has participated in many international festivals, biennales, and projects and has had more than 30 personal exhibitions, both in Europe and the United States.

His works are in the collections of major European and American museums, including The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg); the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art; George Eastman House (Rochester, N.Y.); the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); the Museum of Fine Arts (Columbus, Ohio); the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); the Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego); the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College (Mass.); the European House of Photography (Paris); the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona Beach, Fla.); the Santa Barbara Museum of Fine Arts (Cal.); the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (N.J.); the Reattu Museum of Fine Arts (Arles); and the Musee de l’Elysee Museum for Photography (Lausanne).

Major photo series include "City of Shadows" (1992-1994), "Black and White Magic of St. Petersburg" (1995-1997), and "Time Standing Still" (1998-1999). In those series Titarenko paints a bitter picture of a Russia (seen through the lens of St. Petersburg), where people live in a world of unrealized hopes and where time seems to have stopped.

Titarenko's photographic series from the 1990s won him worldwide recognition. In 2002 the International Photography Festival at Arles, France, presented all three series at the Reattu Museum of Fine Arts. The curator of the exhibition entitled "Les quatres mouvements de St.Petersbourg" was Gabriel Bauret.

Two monographs have been published about his work: City of Shadows: Alexey Titarenko by Irina Tchmyreva (2001) and Alexey Titarenko, photographs. Essay by Gabriel Bauret (2003). Soon after being published, this book was nominated for the Best Photographic Book of the Year Prize (International Arles Festival, France 2004).

In 2005, the French-German TV Channel Arte produced a 30-minute documentary about Titarenko entitled "Alexey Titarenko: Art et la Maniere."

"It would be en error to consider my photographs within the context of the values now fashionable in the arts in general and photography in particular. To align them with such and such a trend, without taking into account that their very purpose in existing is defined by the past.

Even the most factual of them are not reportage, but a novel. The principal motivation for their creation is, in fact, always the same: Russia's history throughout the 20th century, which is an unending series of tragedies of ever more baffling dimensions, whether you consider the wars, the famines or the so-called times of peace. The history of Russia... but in the form of rather contemporary images, made in a single location, a single city – St. Petersburg.

Rather than the city (which is mostly only vaguely visible), these images represent emotion - the range of emotions forming the deep inner character of the people who lived in this country and endured all these disasters, people who were usually only represented from outside.

And it is therefore these emotions which, in themselves, are quite general and have remained unchanged in the course of the century, like the emotions aroused by the music of Shostakovich, for example, or by the novels of Solzhenitsin, which are the true subject of my photographs, and my goal would be to convey them to the viewer, to make him or her feel them ... understand, to feel compassion and love."


Pobeda gallery | Alexey Titarenko | Contemporary Russian Photographer |


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