Icons of the 90s

17.03.2011 — 22.05.2011

The exhibition is a continuation of the project “Icons of the 1960s-80s”, which was the first exhibition held at the Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography. The success of the first exhibition and the interest in it shown by Russian museums, in particular the Russian Museum, is an inspiring example of how high the interest in our photographic heritage and exhibition projects is today. The impressive demand for the 2010 project made us continue in 2011.

“Icons of the 90s” is a subjective and apolitical view of that vague and at the same time romantic era when everything appeared for the first time – the first talk shows and tabloids, four-kilogram mobile phones and crimson jackets, the first television ads and clips, which were watched with no less interest than a movie.

The project “Icons of the 90s” is more than 300 works by leading Russian photographers, mainly in the genre of reportage portrait, which most directly and accurately conveys the atmosphere of the era and the true character of its heroes.

Famous people of those years, idols who played a significant role in the fate of Russia, left their mark on its culture, politics, science, sports, business.

The gallery has done an enormous effort in researching the archives of not only Moscow but also St. Petersburg photographers. As a result, the exhibition features works by more than 40 authors.

The safe distance of twenty years, which separates us from the dashing 90s, helped to select precisely those “icons” and those authors who entered the history of the country, our personal history, and the history of art.

Photographers from the 90s are representatives of a new visual culture that allows photography to go beyond reportage or portraiture. Photography is becoming a new type of art that combines the realistic method with the author’s vision.

A whole generation of photographers emerged precisely in the late 80s and 90s.

The emergence of a “free” press led to the emergence of a new photojournalism, more liberated and truthful. In the reportage portraits of Viktor Vasenin, one can sense the commercial school, his photographs of Boris Yeltsin and Berezovsky, Ivan Demidov and Bogdan Titomir are laconic and impartial.

The photographs of Vladimir Velengurin are contagiously ironic: naked Dana Borisova on a tank hiding behind her purse, Mavrodi in a conspiratorial apartment.

Amusing photographs of the personal life of political figures are also part of the exposition . For example, the photograph “A. Sobchak and daughter Ksenia at home in Leningrad” (1989) by Lev Sherstennikov, whose reputation as a photographer, entering the world of the political elite of the 70s and 80s, opened the doors of political leaders of the 90s for him.

Such a set of charismatic personalities required dedication to their environment. It is significant that in those years the photographers themselves often shaped this environment. For example, the chronicler of the Moscow and Leningrad underground Sergei Borisov, whose workshop became a club in which rock and art culture was forged. In the 90s, a photographer is an observer, one among his own.

That is why the photographs of Alexander Zabrin, the chronicler of the jazz party, rock photographers Willie Usov and Dmitry Konradt, are so atmospheric and so accurately convey the spirit of the times.

90s in Russia is a time when a new culture, politics, a new life, which we have been living for the last 20 years, was created.

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