BIOGRAPHY

Alexey Titarenko was born on Vassilievsky Island in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg) in 1962. He began taking pictures in 1971, at the age of nine, and graduated from the Leningrad Public University of Society-related Professions in 1978 with a degree in Photojournalism. That same year, Titarenko became a member of the independent photo club Zerkalo (The Mirror) and held his first solo exhibition. In 1983, he received a Master's degree in Cinematic and Photographic Arts from the Leningrad Institute of Culture. Two years later, he was dismissed from obligatory military service after having served eighteen months in the Soviet Army as an infantry soldier. He began work on the series of collages and photomontages Nomenklatura of Signs, a commentary on the Communist regime as an oppressive system hat converts citizens into mere signs and, by 1989, received his first solo exhibition in Western Europe, in Paris. Also in 1989, Nomenklatura of Signs was included in Photostroyka, a major show of new Soviet photography that toured the US.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 he produced several series of photographs about the human condition of the Russian people during this time and the suffering they endured throughout the twentieth century. To illustrate links between the present and the past, he created powerful metaphors by introducing long exposure and intentional camera movement into street photography. The most well known series of this period is City of Shadows. In some images urban landscapes reiterate the Odessa Steps (also known as the Potemkin Stairs) scene from Sergei Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin. Inspired by the music of Dmitri Shostakovich and the novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky, he also translated Dostoevsky’s version of the Russian soul into sometimes poetic, sometimes dramatic pictures of his native city, Saint Petersburg.

Titarenko’s St. Petersburg body of work from the 1990s won him worldwide recognition. In 2002 the International Photography Festival at Arles, France presented this work at the Reattu Museum in the exhibition, “Les quatres mouvements de St. Petersburg” curated by Gabriel Bauret. In 2005, the French-German TV Channel Arte produced a 30-minute documentary about Titarenko titled Alexey Titarenko: Art et la Maniere.

Titarenko’s prints are subtly crafted in the darkroom. Bleaching and toning add depth to his nuanced palette of grays, rendering each print a unique interpretation of his experience and imbuing his work with a personal and emotive visual character. This particular beauty was recently emphasized during the exhibition of his prints from his Havana series at the Getty Museum (Los Angeles, May-October 2011).

His works are in the collections of major European and American museums, including The State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg); The Getty Museum (Los Angeles); the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art; George Eastman House (Rochester, N.Y.); the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston); The Museum of Fine Arts (Columbus, Ohio); the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston); the Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego); the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College (Mass.); the European House of Photography (Paris); the Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona Beach, Fla.); the Santa Barbara Museum of Fin Arts (Cal.); the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University (N.J.); the Reattu Museum of Fine Arts (Arles); and the Musee de l’Elysee Museum for Photography (Lausanne).

 

selected exhibitions

2016

Alexey Titarenko: The City is a Novel, Camera Obscura Gallery, Paris, France

2015
Alexey Titarenko: Venice (2001-2014), Palazzo della Ragione, Milan, Italy
Alexey Titarenko: Photographs from St. Petersburg (1991-1999), Galerie C, Neufchâtel, Switzerland
Alexey Titarenko: St. Petersburg in Four Movements, Manège Royal, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Paris, France
Les parfums dans tous les sens, Jardins du Palais Royal, Paris, France
Alexey Titarenko: New York, Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York, NY

2014
Russian Art from Nonconformism to Global Capitalism, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY

2013

Leningrad's Perestroika: Crosscurrents in Photography, Video and Music, Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, NJ

2012
Contemporary Russian Photography: Perestroika Liberalization and Experimentation, Fotofest, Houston, TX

2011

Alexey Titarenko: Havana 2003-2006 at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center as a part of, with others shows:
A Revolutionary Project: Cuba from Walker Evans to Now, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Alexey Titarenko: Photographs 1986-2010, Lodz International Fotofest. Atlas Sztuki Gallery, Lodz, Poland
Soviet Photography in the 1980s from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection, Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick, NJ

2010
Alexey Titarenko: Petersburg in Black & White, Late Revelations, Moscow International Photobiennale, Pobeda Gallery, Moscow, Russia

2008
Unfulfilled Time, curated by Gabriel Bauret, Thessaloniki Photo Biennale, Greece

2007
Vital signs: Place, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
DE L’EUROPE. Photographies, essais, histoires", Centre National Audiovisuel de Luxembourg, Luxembourg

2004
St. Petersburg: City of Water and City of Shadows, FotoFest, Houston, TX

2002
Alexey Titarenko: Four Movements of St. Petersburg, Reattu Museum, Arles International Photography Festival, Arles, France
Time Regained: Fragments from St. Petersburg series, Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, Moscow, Russia

2000
Alexey Titarenko, Retrospective Exhibition, Galerie Municipale du Chateau d’eau, Festival Garonne, Toulouse, France

1996
Black and White Magic of St Petersburg, Month of European Culture in St. Petersburg, The Grand Hall of St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society, St. Petersburg

1993
Nomenklatura of Signs, Photopostcriptum project, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

1989-1990
Photostroyka: New Soviet Photography, Burden Gallery, Aperture Foundation, New York (followed by a three‐year U.S. tour)

 

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD
Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA
Centre national de l’audiovisuel, Dudelange, Luxembourg

European House of Photography, Paris, France
George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, USA
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami, FL
Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT
Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Musée Reattu, Arles, France
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Columbus, OH
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, CA
Philadelphia Museum of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA
Santa Barbara Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Barbara, CA
Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
Theatre de la Photographie et de l'Image, Nice, France
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ