Photoarcheology exhibition

25 October, Sunday

Movement in Saint Petersburg photography of the last decade of the 20th century

The project includes the exhibition Photoarcheology by Dmitry Vilensky and a collective display of works by Lyudmila Fedorenko and Igor Vasiliev.

From the early 1970s one could notice the increasing number of European artists developing the subject of memory. That trend reached its peak during the period of search for self-identification of the Eastern Bloc countries and the collapse of the Soviet Union. At that time two main approaches to the studying of the subject of memory were introduced: on the one hand, the artists tried to consider and perceive the history and the past within the frames of collective memory, and on the other hand, they lived through the feeling of personal loss of the recent pass. Some of the young Leningrad-based photographers made those approaches their own.

In the 1980–90s Leningrad saw irreversible changes that followed its transformation to Saint Petersburg. All of a sudden, things that seemed to be unshakable were gone forever. Because of those changes many artists felt the need in revaluation of existing values in all spheres of life and art, including photography. At that time the artists who strived to extend the boundaries of the photography’s language and cultural value began to appear in the photographic society; new forms of visuality were actively searched for. Among the photographers who managed to make a sort of time mould of the passing away epoch was Dmitry Vilensky. Dealing with different types of photographic archives photoarcheology appeals to memory which does its best to recreate the picture of the forever gone time from the shatters of reality. The sensation of the age is stressed by certain additional image processing techniques. “For me these methods include the transformation of color range or its complete removal, alterations in the image’s sharpness and structure, in various defects of the emulsion coating, and the marks left by chemical solutions,” says Dmitry Vilensky. 

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