Exhibition "Colored Shards of an Empire", K. E. Berggren, 6+ Automatic translate
с 26 Марта
по 16 Мая
Государственный музей архитектуры имени А.В. Щусева
ул. Воздвиженка, д.5/25
State Museum of Architecture. AV Shchuseva and the "Dialogue" gallery present a unique exhibition of color transparencies by K.E. Berggren 1900-1910s. The series, included in the Colored Shards of the Empire exhibition, is a rare complex of over 200 hand-painted transparencies with views of Moscow and other regions of the Russian Empire, made in the period 1900-1910s by Karl Elof Berggren, Swedish military officer, officer of the General Staff… The presented collection is distinguished by an unusual photographic technology of a projection positive print on glass, the author’s own biased view and a non-trivial selection of subjects.
Berggren served in the Swedish Red Cross mission in the Russian Empire for about 10 years. He was in love with the country, knew Russian perfectly and traveled a lot, discovering and exploring the most secluded corners of the Russian Empire. As a photography enthusiast, during his travels he created a real photo chronicle of the life of Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. There is no mention of Russia in the official career of the Swedish military. Obviously, information about him became more vague after 1908 and until 1917 - exactly when Berggren undertook his trips on Russian railways. The history of KE Berggren’s stay and travels in Russia is full of blank spots. According to family legend, he lived in Russia for 8-10 years. Berggren’s grandson recalls that “the more he stayed in the country, the better he wanted to get to know it. It means,
The plots of the images presented are extremely varied. Of particular interest are the many colorful views of Moscow in the 1900s. They make up almost half of the collection - 90 transparencies. Knowledge of Moscow and interest in its antiquities and colorful everyday life suggest that KE Berggren lived in the city for some time and returned to it many times. The archive contains panoramic shots from the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, views of the Kremlin and the Moskva River, and images of many sights. Accurate shots of architecture coexist with direct pictures of urban life.
Part of the archive tells about the Crimean sights and has preserved unusual evidence of the life of the Crimean Tatars. A series of transparencies with views of the recently conquered Turkestan Territory, which also includes images of the inhabitants and ancient buildings of Samarkand and Bukhara, is extremely interesting. Another group is made up of remarkable views of the Caucasus Mountains, Tiflis and Mtskheta and portraits of local residents. Individual transparencies captured the charm of the village and a direct story about the traditions of Russian weddings.
As a career Swedish military man, KE Berggren is extremely interested in the military and various aspects of their life. The spirit of the times between the Russo-Japanese and the First World War is conveyed by the shooting of soldiers on the march in a snow-covered land, at railway stations during the transfer of troops. In Moscow’s life, the author is especially interested in military parades and maneuvers on Teatralnaya and Voskresenskaya squares, cavalry squadrons and infantry grenadier units, artillery batteries and imposing palace grenadiers. A small series tells about the life of the Sumy regiment - cavalrymen stationed in Moscow.
With the diligence of an officer and the tenacity of a discoverer, Berggren recorded the cultural, social and political codes of the time, permeated with the decisive optimism of the general mood of the empire and the still subtle dynamics of the new century. The paints with which the photographer saturates his photographs, transfer the sighting documentary shooting into the system of artistic coordinates, where those who got into the photographer’s lens are forever stuck. A chorus of unexpected voices, a host of routine sounds, many different angles, sometimes very unexpected, the unevenness of the general background, the transparency of color, the sensation of cold, the density of snow, the texture of fabrics or the roughness of the sole of a soldier’s boot, the pounding of horse hooves on Red Square - everything has been studied, carefully recreated rethought and recoded by the photographer, and therefore so tangible.
The First World War, revolution, the collapse of the empire, the Civil War, famine and industrialization - this is all later, but for now the usual plots, everyday scenes, architecture, military parades, trade trains. Ordinary events in a photographer’s lens are refracted from an unusual perspective, investigated and acquire a color that will not be in photography for a long time. Fragments of time into which we are transported by transparencies cannot be perceived as a single whole. All of them are fragments of another world, other social environments, another era.
Karl Elof Berggren, with the inspiration and skill of an artist, conveyed the spirit of his time, caught the mood of the last years of the empire, left a unique historical memory of events, places and persons.
Within the framework of the project, the Dialogue Gallery and the Kuchkovo Pole publishing house with financial support from the Moscow Department of Mass Media and Advertising published the book “Colored Shards of an Empire. Slides by Karl Elof Berggren 1900 - early 1910s. | Color Fragments of an Empire. Carl Elof Berggren’s Photographic Lantern Slides: 1900 - Early 1910s ”, which presents the entire collection of transparencies, research into the technology of their creation, as well as an amazing biography of C.E. Berggren.
Mikhail Prozorov, director of the "Dialogue" gallery and curator of the exhibition:
“I bought the transparencies over 10 years ago in Sweden. And although this collection is different from the works of art that I collect, it amazed me: transparencies seemed like thin fragments of time and space, the boundaries of which were much wider than the frame itself. I was interested in the unusual technology, the integrity of the collection and, of course, the color, or rather its presence in these frames. The set of frames lined up for me in a coherent narrative about the time, about which many facts and few details are known.
It took a long time and it took a thorough study of the material before the idea of an exhibition and a book was born. But the more I looked at the events of our history through the colored glass of K. E. Berggren’s transparencies, the more I wanted to make them available to the general public, so that the viewer could become an accomplice in these events. "
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