Voyage dans l’ancienne Russie
Photographs by Sergueï Mikhaïlovitch Progoudine-Gorsky, presented by Véronique Koehler
Through the surprising works of Leonid Andreiev, the writer from the beginning of the XXth century, we were already familiar with the Russia of auto-chrome photographs. Here we have another vision of the empire of the tsars, also from that painful turn of the century. Sergueï Mikhaïlovitch Prokoudine-Gorsky (1863-1944) perfected a revolutionary technique that fascinated Nicolas II when he saw a major projection on velum. The author, a chemist, had been authorized to travel throughout the empire to “draw it”, and he produced 3500 glass plates. By some miracle we have recovered 1902 of them. These images, saved from oblivion, digitalized, are a remarkable testimony of a time that seems to stand still, with its over-dimensioned taigas covered by troikas and the traditional four wheel carts, these Kremlins in the province, the muzhiks working the land with nearly Neolithic tools … But here and there we get a glimpse of a steel bridge, of railroad tracks, of an embryo of an industrial plant: the eternal Russia will be caught up by progress…
Not to be missed: the exhibition at the musée Zadkine, from 9 October 2013 to 13 April 2014.
Review published in the newsletter #317 - from 10 October 2013 to 16 October 2013