The exhibition is in a way a retrospective of the material accumulated by the author during her visits to our country over several years. Black-and-white and color, large and small formats, collages – Turbeville made the selection very carefully, searching for works that looked to her most expressive of the character of Russia. In fact, Russia to her was primarily St. Petersburg.  And the choice is conscious: having been initially introduced to Russia through works and memoirs of Dostoevsky, Mandelshtam, Akhmatova, Dyagilev, Brodsky, through creations of famous Russian choreographers and composers, Turbeville perceived St.Petersburg with its tragic faith as the personification of what she calls ‘Russian time’. This notion, undefinable and elusive, is concerned rather with memories and echoes of the past, with premonition and determinacy of the future than with the present, and is inseparable from sadness.

Georgy Golenki, art critic, expressed this very well:

“Turbeville has managed to convey this very delicate, intangible and very St.-Petersburg effect, this weight of hidden sadness upon lives of people and things, the sadness starting in the past and extending into the future” (Camera Obscura, Issue 4, 1998).  Deborah doesn’t try to make reportage and doesn’t aim to capture the ‘decisive moment’; she works mainly with staged photography, conducting a very careful, precise, and intuitive search for what could express the essence of St. Petersburg and the ‘Russian soul’ – a search that is dated in hundreds of years. In Turbeville’s photographs, models, dancers, common people, together with architecture or interiors of half-ruined palaces surrounding them, become characters of a time existing beyond present and of this narration appealing to emotion rather than sense. 

Supported by the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg