Neoclassical Cinema

Neoclassical Cinema.

Demonstration of neoacademist movies in terms of St. Petersburg’s Svjetopis exhibition.

Booklet. The turn of the century often witnesses a reassessment of the cultural heritage of the past. The refined technologies of printing, once believed lost, have now been revived by the professors of the New Academy of Fine Arts — T. Novikov, D. Yegelsky, A. Medvedev, Y. Ostrov and S. Makarov. The result is the emergence of a real school of artistic photography in St Petersburg, emulating the one that existed in Russia at the turn of the last century. While following the aesthetic traditions of the St Petersburg school of illusionists (including Petrov and Trapani), the artists have updated the technological processes of the past. The general means of achieving an image is to combine several natural substances called colloids (gelatine, albumin, gum arabic) with chrome salts under the impact of light. The pigment in the composition of the emulsion remains fixed, and the prints remain more or less free of discolouration. One of the leading pioneers in the quest for alternative means of printing was S. Sveshnikov. In the late 1980s, this local photographic artist developed an oil-based means of printing, making a series of works in collaboration with D. Yegelsky. Thanks to the explorations of D. Yegelsky, the artists assimilated various forms of photography, including gum pigment printing, the Savrasov method, the Sery method, chirotype (hand printing), the Fresson method and combined gum pigment printing. Yegelsky works mostly in his favourite genre of portraiture. A subtle draughtsman, he regards the aforementioned “noble” techniques as the best way to convey the spiritual essence and psychology of the model. Since 1993, working under the guidance of Timur Novikov (leading artist and director of the New Academy of Fine Arts) and Professor Yegelsky, two post-graduate students — Y. Ostrov and S. Makarov — have contributed to the experiments, helping to assimilate the methods of silverless photography. S. Makarov has revolutionised the technique of gum arabic printing. The artist has made it possible to replace the former method of contact printing with projected printing. Yegor Ostrov is an artist and philosopher whose profound and rich tones intensify the dramatic sensation of the insubstantiality of existence. Ostrov experiments by combining gum pigment printing with painting and drawing. Another professor of the New Academy of Fine Arts, A. Medvedev believes that the basis of photography is the composition. The composition includes the artist’s will and freedom of plastic expression. Multi-layer gum pigment printing is remarkably similar to the technique of varnishing, by which the masters of the past applied thin and light layers of transparent paint to the dried coat. The members of Svetopis also study the attributes of various pigments and employ natural materials, making the appearance of such a group natural and logical in St Petersburg — a city rich in works of classical art. V. Medvedeva.