As They See Us. A Portrait of Russia by the Magnum Agency

22 July, Wednesday

Manege is proud to present As They See Us. A Portrait of Russia by the Magnum Agency. This new exhibition has been organised in cooperation with Magnum Photos, and jointly with curator and photo historian Nina Gomiashvili.

Covering the period from 1947 to 2019, the exhibition provides an insight into the USSR/Russia through the work of legendary documentary photographers such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, Eve Arnold, Thomas Dworzak and others. In total, the exhibition will feature more than 250 images by 39 photographers, most of which will be on public display for the first time.

Usually, the agency offers museums and cultural institutions pre-curated exhibitions which go on tour. This time however, Manege has spearheaded an initiative to put together a completely new cultural project focusing on Russia, using the archives of Magnum Photos and the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson.

The exhibition space will be divided into 10 zones, with each one focusing on a particular decade. Photographs documenting the time of the USSR from 1947 to the end of the 1980s will be displayed on the ground floor. A visual narrative on the new Russia from 1990 to the present day will be presented on the upper floor. The photographs in the exhibition capture special moments in time and provide the visitor with different perspectives – those of curious external observers – sometimes combined with irony.

The exhibition will include a library, allowing visitors to look through books on the journeys taken by Magnum photographers. It will also contain photo albums of featured photographers. The library is an initiative run in partnership with the bookshop Podpisnye Izdaniya.

As They See Us. A Portrait of Russia by the Magnum Agency will also see a range of events taking place with photographers Thomas Dworzak, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Bruno Barbey and Stuart Franklin, amongst others. This complementary programme is being run in partnership with the Institut Français de Russie. In addition, the exhibition’s educational programme will feature screenings of documentaries about the agency in a specially created cinema space on the upper floor.

“Virtually from the moment Magnum was founded, Russia has been a source of genuine fascination for its members. The agency was established on 22 May 1947. A mere few months later, on 31 July, one of its founders, the war photographer Robert Capa, set off on a 40-day journey around the Soviet Union. He was accompanied by the writer John Steinbeck. Their trip was published in the New York Herald Tribune. Later, a book came out, entitled A Russian Journal. The project set the tone for other photographers’ attitudes to the USSR, which at the time lay behind the Iron Curtain. They endeavoured to take an objective and sympathetic approach. The figures that they chose to photograph were often regular people going about their day to day business.” Nina Gomiashvili, curator

Featured photographers: Christopher Anderson, Eve Arnold, Bruno Barbey, Jonas Bendiksen, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Cornell Capa, Robert Capa, Raymond Depardon, Bieke Depoorter, Carolyn Drake, Thomas Dworzak, Elliott Erwitt, Martine Franck, Stuart Franklin, Bruce Gilden, Burt Glinn, Philip Jones Griffiths, Harry Gruyaert, Nanna Heitmann, Thomas Hoepker, Carl De Keyzer, Alex Majoli, Constantine Manos, Peter Marlow, Steve McCurry, Inge Morath, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Chris Steele-Perkins, Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Mark Power, Marc Riboud, Ferdinando Scianna, Marilyn Silverstone, Jacob Aue Sobol, Newsha Tavakolian, Nicolas Tikhomiroff, Larry Towell, Alex Webb.

About Magnum Photos: Magnum Photos is one of the world’s leading photo agencies. It was founded on 22 May 1947 by five friends: Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger, David Seymour and William Vandivert. Their vision was to create a new type of photo agency with an emphasis on photojournalism. Since the mid-20th century, Magnum’s photographers have documented world history, with their images covering industry, society and people, places of interest, politics and news events, disasters and conflict.

ATTENTION! The exact dates of the exhibition will be announced in due course.


Photo: Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, March 2015

© Steve McCurry/ Magnum Photos

May – July 2020
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