Maria Bone, Viktor Butra, Andrey Voskresenskiy, Mikhail Garus, Ekaterina Gurtovaya, Anatoly Dudkin, Michael Zhilinsky, Viktor Juravkov, Victor Kalenik, Sergey Kozhemyakin, Evgeniy Kozyulya, Andrey Kolesnikov, Daniil Parnuk, Uladzimir Parfianok, Igor Peshehonov, Igor Savchenko, Aleksey Trufanov, Alexander Uglianitsa, Albert Cehanovic, Vladimir Shakhlevich
The exhibition “Minsk School of Photography” presents a key phenomenon in the history of Belarusian photography of the second part of the XX century. The display comprises more then 150 pieces from the collection of the State Museum and Exhibition center ROSPHOTO.
The works by the Belarusian photographers have come into ROSPHOTO’s possession at different times and have been obtained from different sources. The first picture was acquired in 2002, the year when ROSPHOTO was founded. Eventually, due to the increase of the number of works, a collection of Belarusian photography was formed. The largest and the most comprehensive acquisition took place in 2013, when the museum became the owner of more than 700 artworks, representing the oeuvre of 14 Minsk-based photographers. Thus, ROSPHOTO’s collection now features the works by the most notable representatives, the key figures of the Belarusian photography, which makes the collection an important and extremely comprehensive illustration of the Belarusian photography of the mid 20th – early 21st century.
The period, which is spanned by the exhibition, is very important for understanding of both the history of the Belarusian photography and the Soviet era in the history of the Russian photography in general. Among the milestones of that age was the foundation and then the recognition of the regional and republic-based photographic schools. The artists who belonged to such schools existed in a certain unique cultural environment, which was not large and was often limited to the territory of a Soviet republic, region or city. The Belarusian photography was not an exception; moreover, the mentioned trend manifested itself more vividly in Belarus than in other Soviet republics. The current exhibition tries to explore the cultural phenomenon of the Belarusian photographic schools.
After the World War II Minsk became the center of the Belarusian photography. In the 1950s it witnessed the dawn of the amateur photography movement. In 1960 it resulted in the foundation of “Minsk”, one the first photo clubs in the post-war Soviet Union, and the first one in Belarus. In the 1970s the achievements of many of the club’s members made it possible to speak of a new art phenomenon, which was named “the Belarusian creative photography.” For a decade the “Minsk”-based photographers regularly held the photo festivals Photographica, one of the most important and influential photo events in the USSR. At the ROSPHOTO’s exhibition that period is represented by the masterpieces of such renowned artists as Viktor Butra, Anatoly Dudkin, Yevgeny Kozyula and Mikhail Zhilinsky.
In the 1980s a number of training studios were organized under the auspices of the photo club “Minsk.” The wide range of activities held by them enabled to overcome the creative stagnation typical for the Soviet cultural life in general, and established a group of talented artists, who propelled the Belarusian photography to the highest international level by the beginning of 1990s. It was then when the western curators and critics introduced a new term to name the oeuvre of the Minsk-based photographers – “the Minsk school of photography.” One can notice that the internationally acclaimed photographic series by Sergey Kozhemyakin, Vladimir Parfianok, Igor Savchenko and others show aesthetical likeness and overlapping concerns and contemplations on the Belarusian and Soviet history as well as about the nature and potential of photography.
The contemporary Minsk photography is represented at the exhibition by the works of young photographers – The Creation series by Daniil Parnuk, a portrait series Two Minutes Later by Andrey Kolesnikov, a series of gum prints by Andrey Voskresenskiy. These art series created in the early 2000s uphold the reputation of the Minsk school of photography on the background of globalization of photography and the rise of interest towards the international university-based photographic schools.