Art History Aspects and Contexts of Studying Art Photography of Belarus of the 1990s-2010s

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Mikhail Barazna


Art photography of the 1990-2010s clearly sees the trends of mutual infl uence of art photography and easel graphic art, painting, graphic design, cinematographic and television screen culture. In general, art photography practice tends towards the style of conceptual art.

Art and historical museums have collections of photography. Famous masters of the second half of the 20th century, including M. Ananyin, V. Arkashov, V. Lupeiko, V. Baranovskiy, V. Butra, Yu. Vasilyev, V. Goncharenko, A. Dudkin, V. Mezhevich, Yu. Ivanov, E. Kazulya, M. Romanyuk, P. Tishkovskiy, V. Fedorenko, M. Zhilinskiy, G. Likhtorovich, will certainly have
their rightful place in the history of art in Belarus.

News agencies have a huge amount of material on the chronicle of life in Belarus after 1991. This is reporters’ material, but it contains many highly artistic achievements. However, neither Belarusian nor foreign researchers systematically worked with this material [1]. There were no sections devoted
to the development of photographic art in the previously published fundamental studies of Belarusian art. But today, the achievements of art photography in Belarus have become part of systematic art studies in the field of fine art. E. Kenigsberg, P. Lezhanskaya, Yu. Matskevich, N. Savchenko, K. Yanushkevich, etc. dedicated their scientifi c materials to the development of art photography.

A special role in the search for new authors was played by the people’s photo club “Minsk”. The project “Photo Manifesto: Contemporary Photography in the USSR” (1991) ensured a big success of the studio members of the 1990s. In 1994, a large exhibition “Fotografi e aus Minsk” organized by the IFA gallery with the support of the Goethe Institute in Minsk was held in Berlin.

In the 1990s, Z. Shegelman, P. Tishkovskiy, V. Goncharenko, M. Zhilinskiy, V. Titov, G. Karchevskiy become members of the international association of photography FIAP [2].

In 1990, the Union of Photo Artists of the BSSR was
established, and it lasted until 1992. In 2003, a creative union “the Belarusian Public Association ‘Photo Art’” was set up. In 2017, the Belarusian Public Association of Photographers with more than 150 members was registered.

Photography remains a necessary means of expression for book designers and illustrators. The national competition “Art of the Book” annually determines the winner in the category “The Best Photo Artist”. Poster artists make use of the photo.
The photo poster “LEVI’S. 30 YEARS OF WOODSTOCK”
made by V. Tsesler and S. Voychenko can be found in the collections of the Louvre.

The most important international thematic exhibition
projects “Texts” (1997), “The Illusion of Distances” (2000), “The Illusion of Time” (2004), “The Stop Europe” (2006) presented photographs by Belarusian and foreign authors.

A bright page of art photography is the work of the best Belarusian photojournalists. For almost twenty years, A. Kleshchuk highlighted the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster which aff ected children’s fate in his photographs. His well-known series is “The Zone of Sorrow. The Chernobyl Cycle – Children” (1986-1996).

The development of Belarusian photographic art in the early 21st century is characterized by a variety of genre forms, creative methods, conceptual approaches, and technical diversity. And new opportunities – online publishing of a huge number of photographic images - are widely used today by artists and designers.

Published: Dec 20, 2021

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Art Studies