Photographs: Dmitry Lookianov
Text: Irina Kochergina
Hard Cover, colour illustrations throughout, unpaged pages
24,5 x 28,5 cm.
limited first edition of 50 signed and numbered copies
Dmitry Lukianov, a young photographer from the Rodchenko School, devoted one of his first shoots to wrestling. As he photographed muscular bodybuilders in terrifying luchador costumes it was hard to ignore a striking contrast with the fight venue – Moscow’s Avangard Dvorets Kultury (DK: Palace of Culture). Interest in this alogism was the starting point for a new photo project, ‘Palace of Culture’.
Visits to DKs in the areas surrounding Moscow prompted a realisation that this alogism is entirely natural, and has been the norm for some time. After ceasing to act as conveyor of state ideology, the DKs were largely deprived of financial support from the authorities. Hence such profitable ventures as fairs trading furs or semi-precious stones and the leasing of available space often become their most important ‘cultural’ feature. Traditional ‘elements’ of the DK, on the contrary, usually provoke sympathy. With an air of tragic resignation a dance instructor models the stage costume she made herself. A projectionist stands proud and tall among stacked, unwanted reels of film. An orchestra leader strikes a formal pose against a backdrop of mildew-covered walls.
The photographer composes his shot with geometric precision (no surprise here – Dmitry is a physics and mathematics graduate). On one hand this creates a strictly rectilinear visual narrative. However, the faultless coloristic integrity of the picture gives an unexpected contrast between the less than positive realities of the DK and their ‘decorative’ representation. The material world also ‘yields’ to this device. True enough, in an unreal space nature morte paradoxically springs to life. This is particularly evident in the image with instruments and music stands. In the background stage suits ready for the next performance completely replace the actual performers (indeed, the orchestra meets only occasionally).
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