Last Updated July 13, 2018

Alexey Titarenko

Russian (Born 1962 ) FREE LISTING
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DESCRIPTION / BIOGRAPHY
Alexey Titarenko was born on Vassilievsky Island in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) in 1962. He began taking pictures in 1971, at the age of nine, and graduated from the Leningrad Public University of Society-related Professions in 1978 with a degree in Photojournalism. That same year, Titarenko became a member of the independent photo club Zerkalo (The Mirror) and held his first solo exhibition. In 1983, he received a Master's degree in Cinematic and Photographic Arts from the Leningrad Institute of Culture. Two years later, he was dismissed from obligatory military service after having served eighteen months in the Soviet Army as an infantry soldier. He began work on the series of collages and photomontages Nomenklatura of Signs, a commentary on the Communist regime as an oppressive system hat converts citizens into mere signs and, by 1989, received his first solo exhibition in Western Europe, in Paris. Also in 1989, Nomenklatura of Signs was included in Photostroyka, a major show of new Soviet photography that toured the US.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 he produced several series of photographs about the human condition of the Russian people during this time and the suffering they endured throughout the twentieth century. To illustrate links between the present and the past, he created powerful metaphors by introducing long exposure and intentional camera movement into street photography. The most well known series of this period is City of Shadows. In some images urban landscapes reiterate the Odessa Steps (also known as the Potemkin Stairs) scene from Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin. Inspired by the music of Dmitri Shostakovich and the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky, he also translated Dostoevsky’s version of the Russian soul into sometimes poetic, sometimes dramatic pictures of his native city, Saint Petersburg.

Titarenko’s St. Petersburg body of work from the 1990s won him worldwide recognition. In 2002 the International Photography Festival at Arles, France presented this work at the Reattu Museum in the exhibition, “Les quatres mouvements de St. Petersburg” curated by Gabriel Bauret. In 2005, the French-German TV Channel Arte produced a 30-minute documentary about Titarenko titled Alexey Titarenko: Art et la Maniere.

Titarenko’s prints are subtly crafted in the darkroom. Bleaching and toning add depth to his nuanced palette of grays, rendering each print a unique interpretation of his experience and imbuing his work with a personal and emotive visual character. This particular beauty was recently emphasized during the exhibition of his prints from his Havana series at the Getty Museum (Los Angeles, May-October 2011).

His works are in the collections of major European and American museums, including The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art; George Eastman House (Rochester, N.Y.); the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); The Museum of Fine Arts (Columbus, Ohio); the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); the Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego); the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College (Mass.); the European House of Photography (Paris); the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona Beach, Fla.); the Santa Barbara Museum of Fin Arts (Cal.); the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (N.J.); the Reattu Museum of Fine Arts (Arles); and the Musee de l’Elysee Museum for Photography (Lausanne).

Titarenko now lives and works in New York.

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