Born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) in 1962, Alexey Titarenko has devoted his life’s work to depicting the atmosphere and inhabitants of his beloved city. Titarenko draws his inspiration from the music and literature he’s loved since childhood, and his long walks through the city filled with lines of tired people standing in stores, wandering through flea markets, or crowded around subway entrances. The new post-Soviet era required new forms of expression that could serve as the visual equivalents of the new social and political reality, characterized by the anxiety-laden, gloomy period of economic catastrophe following the empire’s collapse. All in all, Titarenko gives us an empathetic depiction of this transition: when old values are being discarded and new values, in the process of formation, are in doubt. Titarenko rose to prominence in the 1990’s for his series of photographs in his native city, where his application of long exposures, intentional camera movement and expert printmaking techniques to street photography produced a powerful meditation on an urban landscape still infused with a history of suffering. In the decade that followed, his pursuit of the city of his youth took him to Venice, whose architecture served as a model for St. Petersburg and Havana, whose streets and buildings remained frozen in the Soviet era.
The past decade, Titarenko has turned his lens on New York. In this work, Titarenko brings his longstanding concerns with time and history to bear on a relatively young city known for its relentless headlong pace.
While the artist utilizes nineteenth century techniques such as prolonged exposure, he is constantly searching for new possibilities. As a result, Titarenko has developed a unique style, “metaphorical photography,” defined by the third dimension, that of time. By translating time into a purely photographic language, he exposes the frailty of human existence and reveals those precious moments in life that move our soul.
Alexey Titarenko’s photographs have been shown in overe thirty solo exhibitions and over forty group exhibitions around the world. His work can be found in the collections of many major museums, including the Boston Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, The J. Paul Getty Museum, George Eastman House, Yale University Art Gallery, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris and the Statt Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.