Exhibition: 2 Mar – 1 Apr 2012
Thomas Dworzak «KAVKAZ»
2/03/2012 – 1/04/2012
Private view, presentation of the book and autograph session
POBEDA Gallery is proud to present the solo show of Thomas Dworzak, documentary photographer and member of Magnum Photos.
…It’s a delight to live in a place like this. Every fibre of my body tingles with joy. The air is pure and fresh, as the kiss of a child, the sun is bright, the sky is blue – what more can one want? What need have we here of passions, desires. regrets?
M. Lermontov “A Hero of Our Time”
Thomas Dworzak was born in 1972 and grew up in the Bavarian Forest in Germany. At the age of 19 he left his home, wanting to become a photographer, traveling to the Middle East, Balkans and Eastern Europe and ended up living in the Caucasus, in Tbilisi, Georgia from 1993-1999. His black and white pictures from this period, combined with 19th century Russian literature, were published in the book "Kavkaz" in 2010.
As a Magnum nominee from 2000, and member from 2004, he covered the big international news stories, (the world after 9/11.Kosovo, Iran, Chechnya, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Ethiopia, the color Revolutions – Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgystan, US elections etc.) mostly for The New Yorker and Time Magazine, based in Paris and New York. This led to his books Taliban (a collection of found images of the Taliban, 2002) and M*A*S*H Iraq (combining his "real" photography with a story created with screen shots of the US TV series M*A*S*H*, 2006).
Back in the Caucasus besides his projects there he still covers some of the big news stories, Libya, Egypt, and is working on a book on Tehran's "Valiassr Avenue".
Speaking about «KAVKAZ» the photographer stresses the following:
"For several years I had tried everything possible to flee the small Bavarian town I grew up in, eventually ending up in Moscow at the age of twenty. After spending more than a year there trying, unsuccessfully, to get my act together as a photographer - studying Russian and photographing pretty much everything I came across without a specific story or clue - I discovered the Caucasus. It was love at first sight.
In the spring of 1993, I decided to try to live in Tbilisi for a few months before going to university at the end of the summer. It was in this time I began to discover the cultures of the Caucasus, without preconceptions. The hospitality of the people. The beauty of the languages. The incredibly fast changes in the post-Soviet period. The wars and conflicts, bravery and cruelty. This place of such extremes could provoke such extreme emotions. I became fascinated and overwhelmed by the region. I meant to stay for only a few months and ended up staying for several years.
It became my story, 'The Caucasus', and not just any story. In the years to come I would try to photograph everything and learn as much as I could about the place. Photography was my reason but also the excuse to live it, to experience and be part of the story. To be there, to be present in that place at that specific instant in history.
The intensity of the war in Chechnya and the relatively sweet life in Tbilisi were like an addiction. Not really having any other opportunities or place to go back to, it took until 1998 for me to be able to leave this place behind. To this day, everything I do afterwards seems slightly pale and distanced. Having discovered the importance of the "Caucasus Experience" in 19th century romantic Russian literature, I am finally trying to put together a book with all my pictures from these years.
In the end, Bavaria is still my home, my origins, where I come from. But the Caucasus is where I feel like I grew up and know I will always keep returning to."
The book KAVKAZ published by Maarten Schilt is available since September 2010