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Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Moscow Photobiennale 2012 - some highlights.

Harry Gruyaert Moscow 1989-2009.
William Klein New York 1955
Los Angeles Criminal Archive Photo
Sergey Shestakov: Journey into the Future :Stop #2 Gudym
Chris Marker's The Great Premakes film poster series.

This year's Photobiennale in Moscow has as one of its themes 'Film' and there have been some splendid exhibitions so far of photos from Sokurov's 'Russian Ark' as well as of Kozintsev's 'Hamlet' which I reported on earlier Another exhibit is Sarah Moon's haunting photo-animated film called 'Le chaperon noir'. Coming up are further exhibitions of Ingmar Bergman & Wim Wenders. Apart from this there have been some splendid exhibitions devoted outside of the film theme. For me the best two American exhibitions are those of selections from Los Angeles Criminal Archives - a real surrealist joy to see as well as some of William Klein's photos of New York in 1955. Jane Stravs 'American Express' was also of high quality. Martin Carr's photos of New Brighton in the UK chronicling the early years of Thatcherism through images of petty consumerist excess and litter were also well worth a viewing. Harry Gruyaert's photos of late perestroika Moscow and his later photographs chronicling Moscow's aggressive capitalism are a fascinating portrait of the transformations of a city after two decades. Finally, Sergey Shestakov's post-apocalyptic Journey into the Future#2 gives us another zone-like landscape after his first part chronicling Chernobyl. Here Shestakov gives us a portrait of an abandoned army town in Chukotka where in the Khrushchev period an underground base had been built. These landscapes have a Stalker-like feel to them. Returning to film the New Manezh Gallery has an exhibition devoted to the filming of Zvigintsev's 'Elena' and another real filmic treat is at the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art which is showing some of Chris Marker's photographs of North Korea as well as of his clandestine wrist-watch photos taken in the Paris metro along with some of his invented film posters imagining previous incarnations of films such as Hiroshima Mon Amour and Owl People etc.

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