London's City Hall will play host over the next two weeks to a selection of surprising and unexpected views of Russian architectural landscapes. 'Abstraction/Constructivism: British and Russian Responses to the City' documents urban life from both British and Russian perspectives.
The exhibition is supported by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and has been organised to coincide with Maslenitsa 2013, a week-long series of Russian cultural events which culminate in a free, public festival of music, dance, cuisine and traditional crafts on Trafalgar Square on 16 March 2013 from 1.30 to 7pm.
The display brings together a collection of works by different photographers depicting major Russian cities. The result offers a rare chance to see some of Russia's most impressive architectural creations and acts as a demonstration of the importance of the city landscape as a catalyst for creativity - something we can all relate to.
The works are by internationally renowned British photographer Richard Pare and Russian photographer Dmitry Konradt. Pare's work shows a keen interest in historical buildings and Russian Constructivism, and on show will be images of the famous Shabolovka Radio Tower and Melnikov House. Conversely, Konradt's 'Landscape' series offers stunning documentation of his home city of St Petersburg and will contribute to a visual dialogue between his and Pare's more architecturally focused compositions.
Richard Pare was inspired to document the many architectural masterpieces in Russia's capital city Moscow. These buildings are designed in the Constructivist style, a major early twentieth century movement in Russian art that in its simplest terms is characterised by an interest in geometric structures and physical materials. Art was redefined by the movement as a universal visual language that could be used to literally construct the new society after the Revolution of 1917.
Dmitry Konradt's photographs look instead at the hidden spaces of his native St Petersburg. Rather than focus on architectural designs Konradt builds his own abstract compositions from the contours of the built environment around him. The strong sense of shape, line and contrast in his photos could almost be derived from the Constructivist designs of his predecessors.
Although significantly different in style, photographers Richard Pare and Dmitri Konradt trace the roots of Modernism through the dilapidated remains of the Russian architectural environment and in doing so manage to find the forgotten beauty and abstraction in the everyday. Both photographers challenge conventional viewpoints of city buildings. They reanimate their subjects with a dynamic combination of oblique angles, bold colours and shifting geometry.
The Mayor of London has supported the Maslenitsa celebration of spring and Russian Lent for the past five years, in recognition of the vast numbers of Russian speakers living and working in the capital and the investment and cultural diversity that this has brought with it.
The Festival, which is taking place across a number of London venues this March, also gives London the opportunity after the successful Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2012 to sample Russia's rich traditions and heritage ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014.
This exhibition is also a taster for the upcoming 2014 Year of Russian Culture in Britain, where artistic exchange and collaboration between the two countries will be celebrated at arts venues across the nation.
ABSTRACTION/CONSTRUCTIVISM: BRITISH AND RUSSIAN RESPONSES TO THE CITY
Event Date: 11 March - 22 March 2013
FREE, 09:00-18:00, City Hall, London, UK
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