Russian contemporary photography features at FotoFest 2012, Houston

NEW MEDIA ART TEXAS UNITED STATES USSR

Now in its fourteenth edition, the FotoFest 2012 biennial “Contemporary Russian Photography” will run from 16 March to 29 April 2012 in Houston, Texas. The exhibition covers Russian photography from the 1940s to young artists today. 

Nikita Pirogov, 'Natasha', from the series "The Other Shore", 2010, photography.

From the press release,

The FotoFest 2012 “Biennial Contemporary Russian Photography”, opens in Houston, Texas, on March 16, 2012 and will be on view through April 29, 2012. The main exhibitions, created for the FotoFest 2012 Biennial, present three periods of Russian modern and contemporary photography, with the works of 146 artists from Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine. FotoFest’s 2012 Biennial introduces an international audience to never- or little-before-seen contemporary Russian art practice and culture through the medium of photography.

 

The FotoFest 2012 Biennial is the Fourteenth International Biennial of Photography and Photo-related Art, and it is the United States’ first and longest-running international photographic art event. More information is available on the FotoFest website at www.fotofest.org.

 

 

FOTOFEST 2012 BIENNIAL EXHIBITIONS – CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN PHOTOGRAPHY

 

The three main Biennial exhibitions, featuring over 1,000 works of classical photography, video and mixed-media installations, were organised by an international team of curators from Russia and the United States. These exhibitions look at the evolution of creative photographic art in Russia from the beginning of “The Thaw” (1950s–1970s) through the period of Perestroika reforms and beyond (mid 1980s to 2010), into the current period (2007–2012).

 

The three Moscow-based curators and scholars, Evgeny Berezner, Irina Chmyreva, and Natalia Tarasova, are joined by Wendy Watriss, Senior Curator and Artistic Director of FotoFest.

 

After Stalin, “The Thaw”, The Re-emergence of the Personal Voice, late 1940s–1970s

FotoFest at Williams Tower Gallery, 2800 Post Oak, Houston, Texas

 

In the twenty-five years of complex political, cultural and economic shifts surrounding Joseph Stalin’s death in 1956, the Soviet Union developed a space for the re-establishment of a personal artistic voice, even in one of the most closely supervised areas of Soviet culture—photography.

 

The exhibition features vintage photographic prints on loan from Lumiere Brothers Centre for Photography in Moscow founders Natalia Grigorieva and Edward Litvinsky, owners of one of the first private galleries in Russia devoted to fine art photography. Other works come from members of Novator, one of the most important and enduring of the independent Russian photography associations.

 

A special exhibition of World Press Photo Award winners from the Soviet Union between 1956–1991 shows another aspect of Soviet photography during this period. This exhibition is organised in conjunction with CANON Ru and Cultural Project “RUSS PRESS PHOTO” and presents images by 42 Soviet photojournalists.

 

Perestroika, Liberalisation and Experimentation, mid-1980s–2010 

FotoFest at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter St., and Spring Street. Studios, 1824 Spring St, Houston, Texas

 

In the mid-1980s and the 1990s , the well-known reform movements Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (economic restructuring) changed the country irrevocably and vastly expanded the cultural openings of the previous decades, bringing about the dissolution of state censorship and creating extraordinary opportunities for an open examination of Soviet and Russian society.

 

Artists re-interpreted all aspects of Soviet political language and life, and often moved art into non-traditional spaces, bringing it directly to the public. Political and economic chaos in the mid 1990s led artists to became more openly critical, confronting traditional Soviet mores and parodying the external realities of Soviet-Russian life and ideology. In the early 21st century, as the heady and often violent conditions of change began to stabilise, many artists turned toward aesthetic and metaphysical explorations of photography itself. It was a twenty-five year period of remarkable diversity and creativity in Russian photography.

 

The Young Generation, 2007-2012 

FotoFest Headquarters at Vine Street Studios, 1113 Vine Street, Houston, Texas

 

Unlike their predecessors, the young generation of Russian artists today has little direct experience with Soviet Communism. Growing up after its collapse, they began their careers as part of a globally-connected, consumerist and individual-oriented society. Although some have the means to leave Russia to study art in Western Europe and the U.S., many others continue to work inside Russia. In contrast to the sharply ironic and outward-looking artists of the Perestroika periods, younger artists are looking inward, immersed in their own personal experiences and the psychological dilemmas of growing up in modern-day Russia.

PR/HH

Related Topics: biennials, photography, Russian artists

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