Exhibition «City of Shadows. Alexey Titarenko» will be opened in ROSPHOTO

29 March 2021

The exhibition project «City of Shadows. Alexey Titarenko» will be presented in the State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSPHOTO from April 5 to June 13, 2021. This exhibition is the first retrospective of author's works in Saint Petersburg and a kind of a symbolic return of his work to the citizens.

Alexey Titarenko is one of the most significant representatives of Russian and Saint Petersburg art photography of the late XX - early XXI century. The exposition includes 61 photographs, made in unique author's technique of hand-made silver-gelatin printing. The prints give viewers the opportunity to trace the artistic journey of the author, starting with plots of the iconic series of photos made in Saint Petersburg: «City of Shadows» (1992-1994), «Black and White Magic of Saint Petersburg» (1995-1997) «Frozen Time» (1998-2000) — and then works from the series dedicated to other cities: «Venice» (2001-2014), «Havana» (2003, 2006), «New York» (2004-2018).

Alexey Titarenko was born in 1962, began to study photography in 1970, graduated from the Faculty of Photojournalism of the People's University of Public Professions, from 1978 to 1989 participated in exhibitions of the Zerkalo Photo Club, in 1983 graduated with honors from the Department of Cinema and Photography of the Krupskaya Leningrad Institute of Culture. Since 1990, he began to work on personal projects that consistently reflected his attitude to the rapidly changing moments of life – they were preserved then and now they send us back to the memory of the «emotional and spiritual atmosphere» of the 1980s - 1990s dramatic times. The first such project, reflected the author's impressions of the totalitarian era, was the «Nomenclature of Signs» series of photos, first presented in 1993 at the exhibition in the State Russian Museum.

The next one was the series «City of Shadows». It was the result of long walks around the city and passion for classical music, which allowed the photographer to depict a disturbing atmosphere of the period of social disaster of the early 1990s in Saint Petersburg accurately and incredibly fully and at the same time draw an elegiac picture of the magical world of childhood. During his work on the series, Alexey Titarenko uses greatly the possibilities of long optical exposures, which allow to immerse the shooting objects into the tangible for the viewer flow of time. In 1994, the series was presented at Pushkinskaya 10. Photographs were placed on music stands in an installation created by the author from giant illuminated sheets of tracing paper, descending from the ceiling and shaping a labyrinth in the exhibition space. Visitors were wandering through it, throwing static and sliding shadows on the surface of tracing paper, this associatively united them with the restless people on the photographs.

In the series «Black and White Magic of Saint Petersburg», first presented to the audience in the summer of 1996 in the Great Hall of the Shostakovich Saint Petersburg Academic Philharmonia, Alexei Titarenko turns to the views of Kolomna and the Petersburg of Dostoevsky theme. The harsh black and white colour is replaced by the softness of gray tone, imbued with pale light of Saint Petersburg. The timelessness of photographs, born by light and long optical exposure, erasing the boundaries of reality, gives rise to a feeling of slight melancholy, illusiveness and instability of human life in a constantly changing world. During the creation of the series, Alexey Titarenko finally undergoes the transformation into the artist with his personal bright, distinctive, recognizable style. The basis of his style is psychologism of images, created on the musical harmony of alternating major-minor sheets, a subtle technically sophisticated nuance of tonality of each picture, created during shooting and enhanced by photo printing with the introduction of a light colour shade into black and white image.

Since 2008, Alexey Titarenko has been living in New York, continuing to collaborate with various galleries and museums in Russia, USA and France. From 2003 to 2019, the publishing houses Nailya Alexander and Damiani published several books dedicated to the master's work: «Alexey Titarenko. Nomenclature of Signs» (2019), «Alexey Titarenko: The Сity is a Novel» (2015), «Alexey Titarenko: Photos» (2003). Works of Alexei Titarenko are represented in the collections of museums in Europe and the United States of America: State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; Center national de l'audiovisuel, Luxembourg; Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris; Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne; Musée Reattu, Arles; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, etc.