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City of Shadows

Alexey Titarenko, Russia

City of Shadows (1991-1994) is a photography series that has captured multimillion Russia's social and governmental entropy in its desperate attempt to break with the Soviet Union's past and turn in a new direction. 

The images from this series were created after the collapse of the Soviet Union when thousands of people in St. Petersburg were either at the edge of survival or lost their lives due to a lack of primary living conditions and crime peak. The idea emerged unexpectedly but naturally while Alexey Titarenko had witnessed how his hometown citizens were slowly starting to lose their human face, overwhelmed with despair. 

To capture this catastrophe, Titarenko takes street pictures with long exposition that turn into a strong metaphor for people as shadows. His images became iconic for the events of that period and are a truthful narrative for the attempt of thousands of people to outlive the effects of a regime that took away all things human from the human being. 

Alexey Titarenko was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) in 1962. He began taking pictures at the age of nine and graduated from the Leningrad Public University of Society-related Professions at the age of 16 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, Titarenko received a Master's degree in Cinematic and Photographic Arts from the Leningrad Institute of Culture. He began work on the Nomenklatura of Signs series, a commentary on the Communist regime as an oppressive system.

His first solo exhibition in Western Europe was in Paris in 1989. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he produced several series of photographs in his native St. Petersburg, which documented the situation in Russia and with Russian people at the current moment. Those works won him worldwide recognition turning him into one of the most distinguished and significant contemporary photographers.
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 European House of Photography (Paris) and many more.

Alexey Titarenko's visit to Bulgaria is made possible by NCF' project 'Mobility Memento Vivere'.


30.06 – 14.08.

National Gallery,
1 Knyaz Aleksandar I sq.