Another exhibition of the National Union of Photographers of Ukraine has opened. Frozen moments, frozen time, everything frozen like jelly, made no one knows when. For exhibitors, time has literally stopped. The exposition truly surprises, even amazes, but not with pictures and ideas, but with unique, stunning conservatism, covered with a thick beautiful layer of mold, like a duvet.
And there, under this warm, cozy blanket, Ukrainian photographers are scurrying around, not wanting to see or feel the world around them. This is an exhibition of fears, desires to hide, dreams of blindness, this is admiring the emptiness and the processes of stupefaction, the withering away of the senses and thinking. It seems that all, or almost all authors are afraid that their work will be remembered, leave a mark in the minds of the audience, someone will really get excited. From year to year, from decade to decade, the same commonplace images wander, already hackneyed to ugliness and a disgusting faceless state of stamps, which cannot even be called banal because of the astronomical replication. The titles for the artworks seem to have been ordered from the elementary school for children with special needs. Oh, how many labels I saw at amateur photo exhibitions with the inscriptions “Laughing to the hour”, “Tic-tac-toe”, “Form”, “Tank” (amateur photographers have a special passion for naming trees like that, especially in the field), “Early in the backpack”, “ In the night”… Photographers whisper with identical voices from the walls of the exhibition hall: “We are twins, we are the same, we do not want to develop, we want to be gray, average, not noticeable. Our credo: “No way!!!”. The exhibition stuns with a blunt, heavy object of artlessness, it tries to smooth the viewer’s brains, turn them into a smooth shiny ball. Down with thought processes, let us expel the intellect and images from our ranks. The hall is like a tomb, more precisely like a coffin, made of cast iron.
Фото: Елена Алмазова
Particularly shocked were the titles of the sections of the exhibition. “Section of black and white photography”, “Section of color photography”. This means that if Cartier Bresson exhibited here, he would be in the b/w section, and Martin Parr, who shoots in the same genre, would be in the color photography section. A black-and-white Peter Witkin would be judged along with the great Frenchman, and a colored LaChapelle with Parr. In give photographers! Club of cheerful and resourceful absurd photographers.
The Experiment section is the most mysterious of all. If I shoot “multi”, make a collage montage, print in some old technique, for example, gum arabic, this is an experiment! If I’ve been shooting with Zenith all my life, and then abruptly switched to Zorkiy, it’s an experiment. This is the logic of the section. Removing a flying stool is an experiment. Moving cursors back and forth in Photoshop is an experiment. At the same time, the fixed plots and ideas are so absurd in their usualness and artlessness that I want to make a film “Dumb and dumber than dumb 2” based on them. It’s a pity I didn’t get to the opening of the exhibition. I would like to look at these amazing people, Experimenters with a capital letter, and at the same time at those who formed this wonderful exposition.
Фото: Сергей Бондарук
I was later explained that such a structure was adopted in amateur FIAP salons. Strange, but this exhibition is not the salon of this respected international organization. It turns out that photo artists, members of the NSFCU not only cannot make art, but they cannot even figure out how to make an exhibition unusual, bright, not like everyone else. Well, they tore the structure, but in terms of content, it’s embarrassing with the stale smell of stagnation.
One could talk more about nude, as this is a special clinical case of loss of self-identification, control over internal vulgarity, which breaks out, sweeping away everything in its path. But here the photographers reveal something very personal, deeply seated in the labyrinths of the body, requiring special analysis. I will enter the medical university, read books on gynecology, proctology, sexopathology, and I will definitely write.
Text: Irina Popovich