AMPLITUDE is a periodic project that presents current names and the forms in which contemporary photography exists in Russia today. Amplitude also aims to explore the power of image in the format of book and print in the digital age.
AMPLITUDE №1 is short-listed in Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards 2017
AMPLITUDE №1 is short-listed in one of the most respected world book awards - Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2017! We are in the top list of 20 books from all over the world, published for the first time this year. See publications list below to find out more about Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Awards 2017 finalists .
I started to shoot this project in a small village on the North of Russia. It has to be said that in Russia almost every family owns a land alongside their city apartment. On that land they have a vegetable garden to cultivate vegetables, flowers, and fruits. I found a bunch of old photos on the attic of the people that had lived in that house. The photos were taken in the 60s. It was interesting to look through them and to guess the lives of the portrayed guys and girls. I felt like I wanted to give those photos a new life, to continue the story of the village. The idea of earth nourishing plants, as well as the past nourishing the future, was as natural as connecting my self-portraits with the old shots. That is how I wanted to become closer to that place and to continue its chronicles. I gave my self-portraits different feelings, from mystical to funny, which filled my life in the countryside. Covering the face with masks from the nature's materials, I wanted to be lost in the environment to feel better the place.
In Anastasia Tsyder's series the ideal image of somewhere existing but hidden from us Russian province materializes. The photographs show us something that has never been seen, most likely irretrievably lost, but extremely familiar – from painting, book illustrations, films. The author departs from her usual documentary style and immerses the viewer into the ephemeral space of his own (viewer's) ideas about the once-existing idyll. Despite the illusory nature of this world, photographs are the convincing proof of its existence. Vaguely familiar images appear and become instantly recognizable – yes, that's exactly how it looked. The author selectively leaves the signs of modernity behind the scenes, placing photographs in timelessness. Those few modern objects remaining in the frame, not being connected with modernity aesthetically, confirm the reality of what we saw. By depriving photographs of the time dimension, the author takes the next step and removes them of the habitual space, populating the mythical "Mzensk" with them.
The N/A (not applicable) project addresses questions of temporal placement and the abstract "found". Using rare, nearly forgotten cameras to achieve a subtle feel of the very recent past, she makes images that look like recovered memory recordings and induce a strong sense of nostalgia. While being modern creations, these pictures appear fragmentary and taken out of their native sequence, which is likely located somewhere at the advent of digital technology. They seek to join the rows of anonymous visual artifacts that have long lost all links to their factual origins. The photographer's calculated approach to working with aged tools tempts us to suspend our disbelief and discover something old in something new.
A sober look at the human condition instills little optimism – we are equally pressured by the ever-receding future, and an entropy, directly linked to the finitude of our bodies. We cannot do anything forever, least of all adhere to our principles. Every conscious act is steadily subjected to disintegration into a ritual, a habit, something done pro forma.
In this work a method of "speculative modernism", combining construction and documentation is used to locate a specific point, where form over and over again loses its connection to function, and ritual equilibration replaces analysis. Architecture is the most visible example of this shift.
Margo Ovcharenko's in her series Hermitage is capturing young adults who struggle to fit into adult life, mostly in their moments of solitude and contemplation. Her subjects are people of her age which she met through social networks. Her subjects and her share share somewhat similar experiences in growing up in post soviet Russia with its political and cultural shift. Margo's subjects often reenact their childhood memories and some of these are memories of being punished by their parents or their teachers. Other images have focus on the surface of the skin, like rashes or bruises. Which to Margo is a way to show the materiality of the body, but also a metaphor for a kind of friction with the real world that body has. Artist is aiming to get to the root of communication gap and violence towards a body, both in self harm and abusing others. .
The project has begun with the repairs photos folder I found on the internet. I was sorting them by categories and then it was more of a procrastination. Further, I decided to use construction and building materials in my installations and during the process I realized it was the way to understand and feel my inner reconstruction, the way to live through crisis. The room in installation is an existential shelter for inner events fixation through the reconstruction of repairs. My installations photographs are the continuation of photo archive, found on the internet. Their combination detects flickering of borders between inner and outer, imaginary and real spaces. Photography is fixating duration and immobility of changes. Watching the permanent repairing process is becoming a self-value.
Broken Knees by Irina Yulieva documents the performance of maturing. The characters' movements are spontaneous, wild, and seemingly not connected to each other. A viewer sees in the photographs the broken (or is it cracking?) body language of kids, teenagers, middle-aged and elderly people. Maturing turns out to be a transitional state that may never end. One can compare Yulieva's project with a performance not only because photographs focus on the body and the gestures of impetuosity and protest. The photographer's children, her father, a second cousin, an aunt, daughter's friends and other residents of the Bolshoy Sabsk village, where Irina spent her childhood and later brought her children for the summer holidays, – all of them are taking part in a show that can be called, following the terminology of Richard Schechner, a 'performance of everyday life'.
From text Performance of maturing, by Daria Tuminas
At the beginning of the XX century psychoanalyst Viktor Tausk described the case of occurrence of an imaginary 'Influencing machine'. One of the effects produced by the impact of this machine is described as compulsion to look at pictures. The projections are shown on a plane, on the walls and windowpanes, wherein images are not as bulky as in typical hallucinations. In such a situation the visual construction becomes a tool of curvature for mental space. It appears as an external screen on which internal changes are projected, as well as simultaneously creates a chain of distances and turns into a change provocateur. First of all I was interested in the plan of expression, namely the transition of "psychotic" from psychopathology to aesthetics. The actual speaking a visual language about the visual language itself.
These photographs were shot in villages or small towns of central Russia during my personal work or assignments. In the photographs there are always unfamiliar people, whom I accidentally met on the street and who agreed to pose for me. Here is the typology of Russian provincial life in the faces. Who are these people living in villages and towns, where seemingly nothing happens? Teenagers, a mother of many children, table tennis champions of the region, a head teacher with a grandson or an official in her apartment – all of them are local, unlike me. In keeping with the tradition of a ceremonial village portrait, I simultaneously study the mutual influence of man and his environment. All in order to answer the question – what does it mean to be Russian?
Yury Gudkov is an artist and writer. He lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. The key aspect of Yury Gudkov's works is a thorough investigation the essence of the most non-obvious things. His interest in the premises the phenomena and processes can be seen regardless of the objects he works with: photography and appropriated images, video, books or installations.
In his latest essay, Yury Gudkov sets an age-old question about what art can be, what forms and ideas it can maintain, in an attempt to understand causes, effects and solutions of generation gap between artists.
FotoDepartment presents the first printed edition - the set AMPLITUDE №1, consisting of 10 books of 10 Russian authors working with photography. AMPLITUDE is a periodic project that presents current names and the forms in which contemporary photography exists in Russia today. Amplitude also aims to explore the power of image in the format of book and print in the digital age.