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DAVID BURDENY : Russia, A Bright Future

February 17, 2016

RUSSIA: A Bright Future, 2014-2015

The Russian Metro is a lesson in Russia’s history and architecture.   As you make your way through the system, the history of the city’s past eighty years manifests itself before your eyes. The stations range in design, from palatial baroque marble and granite structures to modern iron and glass, revealing the aesthetics ideals , hopes and failures of communist Russia.

Purposefully Juxtaposed next to Russia’s finest cultural intuitions, these images reveal that these stations were conceived of as more than transitional spaces.   Instead, they were to be experienced as underground palaces, an extension of the urban fabric; a deliberate ideological move to eulogise the young Soviet country

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Source: DAVID BURDENY : Russia, A Bright Future

 

Russia’s Stunning Palaces Can Be Found Above and Below Ground

By David Rosenberg

Elektrozavodskaya
Elektrozavodskaya Station, Moscow, Russia, 2015.

David Burdeny

David Burdeny was doing research on Baroque and Rococo interiors when he came across an article on Russian palaces titled “Palaces for the People.” It turned out not to be about palaces at all but rather the ornately designed Russian Metro System found in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

He wanted to work on a series that juxtaposed the palaces and museums of Russia with their underground counterparts, so he contacted a local producer to help secure permits.

“As it turns out, the stations are still functioning nuclear bomb shelters and carefully safeguarded by the Russian military,” he wrote via email. “The permits were vey specific on how and when we could shoot and we were given a time specific schedule.”

Mikhailovsky
Mikhailovsky Theatre Curtain, St Petersburg, Russia, 2014.

David Burdeny

Taganskaya
Taganskaya Metro Station, Moscow, Russia, 2015.

David Burdeny

Belorusskaya
Belorusskaya Station, Moscow, Russia, 2015.

David Burdeny

Those specifics included a timeframe of 20 minutes to shoot in each station (if escalators were running that would give him a few more minutes) and exactly where he would be allowed to shoot. Burdeny, who is also an architect and designer, said he normally shoots “from the seat of his pants” and although the more regimented schedule had its benefits, even with the permits that were signed by a dozen different people, the police still sometimes denied entrance to the stations.

“In one case we waited outside during a 2 a.m. snowstorm for 45 minutes while the guards called around to see if we were legitimate.”

jordanstairs1
Jordan Stairs I, State Hermitage, St Petersburg, Russia, 2014.

David Burdeny

One of the biggest surprises was being allowed to shoot the Jordan stairs inside the State Hermitage; the fee turned out to be only $45. He created all of the images (in 30 metro stations and a handful of museums and palaces) in 2014 and 2015 for the series he titled “Russia: A Bright Future.”

“Culturally, being in Russia was as distant a place I had ever been to and I found the spatial progression through the system beautiful cinematic,” he said. “There’s a real journey as you enter the above ground vestibules toward the escalators and down into the subterranean labyrinth that leads you toward the platforms. … It was beautiful and artful and in a construction whose instrumental function was to get you there from here; I found it profound and years ahead of its time.”

Burdeny’s work will be on view at Bau-Xi Photo in Toronto from March 5 through March 16 and at Heather Gaudio Fine Art in New Canaan, Connecticut, in April.

Komsomolskaya
Komsomolskaya Metro Station, Moscow, Russia, 2015.

David Burdeny

Arbatskaya
Arbatskaya Metro Station, Moscow, Russia, 2015.

David Burdeny

redroom
Red Room, Yusopof Palace, St Petersburg, Russia, 2015.

David Burdney

Source: David Burdney photographs Russia’s magnificent metro systems and palaces.

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One Comment
  1. Beautifully illustrated photos!

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