Exhibition: 23 Aug – 29 Sep 2013
Thu 22 Aug 18:00
ROSPHOTO. State Museum and Exhibition Centre for Photography
ul. Bolshaya Morskaya, 35
The State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO
ul. Bolshaya Morskaya, 35
daily 11-19, Tue, Thu 11-21
State Museum and Exhibition Centre for Photography ROSPHOTO
Ministry for Culture of the Russian Federation
Alexandra Mitlyanskaya and Zakhar Kolovsky
Opening: 22 August 2013 at 18.00
Yard Building exhibition hall, 2 floor
The Exhibition in ROSPHOTO's Yard Building is the fruit of collaboration between artists Alexandra Mitlyanskaya and Zakhar Kolovsky. The apparent simplicity of title sets the vector of perception and at the same time identifies the content of artworks on display.
Kolovsky's straight photographs and Mitlyanskaya's videos are based on excluding anything superficial and entertaining from the field of art. The artists single out of the endless scope of reality the timeless and therefore always essential subjects: plants in a summer field, wave-covered surface of a lake, asphalt dusted with snow, pulsating sprays of fountain, city skyline behind a blurry window glass; figures of passers-by on a pedestrian crossing.
The expressiveness of minimalistic artworks in the Exhibition is achieved by the specifics of composition that always has a reason behind it. The authors intentionally show less, achieving the desired effect by diminishing, simplification and isolation – thus making ordinary subjects essential as they are enhanced by the viewer's imagination. In these works, emotional intension is expressed through calm and distinctive restrain. The focus is not on the subjects but rather on their relationships, as well as on the line and form.
The austerity of expression is brought the farthest in works dedicated to nature. Such is Alexandra Mitlyanskaya's video with contours of tree enlivened by the wind suddenly showing through the motionless plane of garden plants. Zakhar Kolovsky, in his landscapes compact filled with detail combining into a patch of color, implements multiplication of images with the next photograph as if growing from the previous one, like in a film footage. The specific dynamics of these austere frieze compositions is meticulously planned.
The main character is the time, the fourth dimension that always appears in new variations. It may expand to reflect the long process of the growth of plants, it may shrink to show the fleeting change of shadows, it may, finally, break to allow sudden change from winter to summer or from age to youth.
The “montage” principle of interrelation between Zakhar Kolovsky's images is similar to the way Alexandra Kolovskaya plays with time in her work Babylon. The static, frontal view of building under construction is divided into boxes of the future rooms, life running in each of them: workers occupied by laying bricks, conversations inaudible to viewer or leaning against the side of the door opening to take a rest.
At times, the movement slows down to allow the viewer - who remains within the picture frame - see a single image instead of a film. The screen can “imitate” color photography in the way that it happens in Mitlyanskaya's Still-life where the action is the flecks of sunlight roaming on the surface of water in a glass. Other works allow to sense the constantly pulsating scale of time. The steady, metronomic working of waves around the bench in the tidal waterway is the essence of movement without beginning and end, repeating in a loop, like Alexandra's videos themselves. The decayed bench in the space of oblivion, pulled out of its mundane everyday context and placed in the center of symmetrical image, becomes truly symbolic.
Obviously, the authors of the Exhibition assign secondary, subordinate role to contemporary technology, without disregarding its capabilities. Staying true to her former serious experience in painting, Alexandra Mitlyanskaya stints herself to using camera fixed on a tripod without any change of focus or perspective, with no movement around the object. Formally feeding upon the possibilities of photography, Zakhar Kolovsky creates multiple piece compositions unfolding in space. For Kolovsky and Mitlyanskaya, neither photography nor video are an aim in itself but rather the form that manifests a system of visual language used to express specific content. The project prepared for ROSPHOTO is about the search for the visual image of the time, about many modifications of this problem. It is a laconic and remarkable antithesis to contemporary mass culture, built upon the basic visions of the mundane and the natural.