Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

THE ANNUAL MONTH OF PHOTOGRAPHY EVENT FEATURES A UNIQUE EXHIBITION

Russian photos exhibited for the first time

RUSSIAN pictorialists were travelling photographers who could not conform to the dogma of academic art. The composition of their photographs was derived from landscape painting and the photos reflected their use of different techniques.
A hundred and twenty black and white photographs taken by 16 photographers from the 1890s to the present day make up this exhibit entitled Russian Pictorialism. These photos are currently on display in Bratislava at the Slovak National Gallery as part of the Month of Photography running throughout November in many galleries across the country.
This exhibit also serves as the European premiere of the collection.


LEONID Shokin's Portrait of a Young Girl.
photo: SNG

RUSSIAN pictorialists were travelling photographers who could not conform to the dogma of academic art. The composition of their photographs was derived from landscape painting and the photos reflected their use of different techniques.

A hundred and twenty black and white photographs taken by 16 photographers from the 1890s to the present day make up this exhibit entitled Russian Pictorialism. These photos are currently on display in Bratislava at the Slovak National Gallery as part of the Month of Photography running throughout November in many galleries across the country.

This exhibit also serves as the European premiere of the collection.

"It took six years of work to prepare this exhibition," says Russian curator Jevgenij Berezner.

"Russian pictorialism was the most important artistic branch of Russian photography at the end of the 19th century. It didn't copy world pictorialism, which was influenced by art nouveau, because in Russia the movement was inspired by spiritualism and religious mysticism," he says.


THE VILLAGE of Virma - Melting Snow by Grigorij Kolosov, 1990.
photo: FOTOFO

Many of the photographers represented in this show participated in international exhibitions and gained fame for their portraits of the Russian countryside and its people. The beginning of the 1930s brought a significant change in the approach the Soviet government took towards the artists and their work. Considered bourgeois and anti-proletarian, pictorialism did not fit into the ideology of the regime. After the last official exhibition in 1935, several of the celebrated photographers were sentenced to forced labour, accused of being a threat to the state and of allegedly distributing pornography.

"One of the aims of the exhibition is to bring their names back into the history of world photography," says Berezner.

During the ensuing communist era, pictorialism was obliterated as part of Russia's cultural heritage and most of the negatives and photographs in archives were destroyed. Many of the prints in the Bratislava exhibition come from private collections and are often the only surviving copies.

"Some of these photographs are on display for the first time since the 1920s, and some are being shown for the first time ever, because when they were taken, pictorialism was already forbidden as a movement in Russia," explains co-curator Irina Tchmyreva.

Another exhibition featured in this year's Month of Photography is a retrospective of the world-renowned French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson at Pálffy's palace.

His black and white snapshots of people in the streets of Paris, his photojournalism for the Magnum agency and his portraits of the world's leading artists made him famous. Bresson is known for his ability to capture what has come to be called the "decisive moment" and his style has been imitated by many.


FROM Jozef Ondzik's Report on Slovakia.
photo: FOTOFO

Among the Slovak photographers exhibiting their works in Bratislava are Tono Stano, with his series entitled Truths About the Human Body, and Jozef Ondzik, with an illustrated report on the state of the country entitled Slovakia in 2002. Visitors will also have a chance to see a retrospective of Czech and Slovak photography from the 1980s and 1990s.

Despite the focus on Bratislava, several exhibitions are taking place outside the capital. Rudo Prekop's Still Lifes will be on display at the Spiš Gallery in Spišská Nová Ves. Jaroslav Bengl will present pictures from his Thirteen Short Stops Across Europe, America, Asia and Africa in the Orava Gallery in Dolný Kubín. The At Home Gallery in Šamorín will show Czech photographer Josef Moucha's double exposure pictures of the "American Dream".

This year's Month of Photography not only presents international photography to Slovakia, it also promotes the work of Slovak artists abroad. Miro Švolík and Pavel Pecha will have their works on display in Vienna and the works of Andrej Bán will be presented in Berlin.

What: Russian Pictorialism - photo exhibition.
Where: Slovenská národná galéria,Esterházyho palác, (Slovak National Gallery, Esterházy's Palace), Rázusovo nám. 2.
When: Open Tue-Sun 10:00-18:00 until November 24.
Admission: Sk60.
Tel: 02/5443-2055.
The programme catalogue for the Month of Photography can be purchased at most galleries participating in the event. For further information visit www.fotofo.sk

Top stories

Night life in Bratislava will not end

Councillors for the Old Town adopt new opening hours for pubs, night clubs and restaurants.

Cvernovka's creative talents celebrate first open day at new premises Photo

Bratislava's art and design ateliers from the old yarn-making factory open their doors on May Day.

New premises for Cvernovka

How social networks can earn you a ticket to Germany

Can a status on a social network change someone’s life? Yes, if you write humorous stories about a fictive German ambassador.

Assaf Alassaf (r) talked about his life and his book in Bratislava

New investor to create 500 jobs in Nitra

A company following the Jaguar Land Rover carmaker to Nitra plans to create 500 new jobs and invest €17 million.

Tha Jaguar Land Rover draws also other investors to Nitra.