Entitled Devotion, the project has been presented to St.-Petersburg audience just before the Easter week results from the author's several trips to the Holy Land in 2009. 33 large-format black-and-white photographs depict the places connected with the last year of earthly life of Jesus Christ.

This show is Mikhail Rozanov's seventh personal exhibition in St.-Petersburg. His first photographic series, Landscapes (1995), Flowers (1997), Quay (1999), were exhibited in the New Academy of Fine Arts. The characteristic minimalistic aesthetics of Rozanov's work, always uninhabited and monochromatic, reveals tradition. The architectural motifs so liked by the author, whether Neo-classical porticos and colonnades, fragments of industrial constructions or walls of contemporary skyscrapers, call up the dynamic images of the Russian Avantgarde. Laconic silhouettes of flowers hovering in vague space  remind of Karl Blossfeldt's images of plants and orten take the form of sterile Constructivist pattern.

Photographs belonging to Devotion series takes a special place in Mikhail Rozanov's oevre. These images give no place to spectacular views and perspectives and completely deny decorativeness. The athor has found simple and austere method of visualization of serious religious and phylosophical ideas. Graphical outline emphasizing the form, scattered lighting rendering equal sharpness to all elements of image, convey the feeling of sublime and solemn calm. Mikhail Rozanov is ascetic to the utmost in his treatment of the images of the Sea of Galilee, streams of Jordan, Gardens of Gethsemane, ancient walls and stairs leading to the Calvary. The lustrous beauty of landscape shown by tourist leaflets gives place to the spiritual beauty of art. The author seeks to materialize the ideal of proportion, symmetry, at the same time taking maximal distance from nature-conerned associations, trying to «de-realify substance» as much as possible.

Mikhail Rozanov's Devotion touches on the problem dating many ages back, the possibility of depiction of the Divine in earthly forms. Nameless early Christian artists tried to solve this problem by populating their works with various symbols. The author of the present exhibition created a number of self-sufficient meditative images, each of them symbolic in itself. Specific transparence of their meaning is enhanced by the commentary: extensive quotes from the New Testament and the Biblical Encyclopedia of archimandrite Nicephorus.

The piligrimage to the Holy Land became for Mikhail Rozanov a  quest for self –identification manifested by the canonic austerity of his photographs, the humble chronicle of the places where the tragic and joyful events of the New Testament took place.

Maria Gavrilchik

The author is especially grateful to Anna Dobrovolskaya-Mintz.

In 2010 Devotion was exhibited in VINZAVOD contemporary art center.