Tuesday, April 12, 2011


 Polaroids, circa 1970

In recent weeks, all literary and visual bread crumbs have led me to early 20th century Russia, a moment and a place in time that saw to the most enduring and decisive ideological revolution of ours, our parents and our grandparent's lives. And though history should have it that what we know and remember of Russia will always be through the lens of Communism, cold winters and bleak literary genius, what of the old Russia? 

Though Tarkovsky, best known as the Russian Auteur of such films as Solaris, Andrei Rublev and The Mirror, did not intend with his set of polaroids to tell us anything of Old World Russia, the muted colours, the dreamy haze and the unique composition of each photo references something older than Russian Communism. When I came across his polaroids I was immediately struck with their similarity to aristocratic portraiture of the 18th and 19th Centuries and the landscapes that dominated much of Romantic art. These photographs are but a few of the collection he took in Italy during the 1970's, as he documented his new home and his recent immigration.

Undoubtedly, Boris Groys says it best:
"These images are nostalgic, but not for the Soviet culture of the Russia that he left. Rather, they're nostalgia for Russia before the Revolution. They reflect the neo-romantic mood of the time in which they were made. Their romanticism is more German than French, like Caspar David Friedrich or Otto Unger. It's classicist, but with a romantic aspect" 

photos via iconolo.gy and quote and additional photos from Bright Bright Day , post inspiration from the ladies of Vena Cava

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