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Valery Katsuba: Russian Romantic Realism

The Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) has selected 38 masterpieces from the oeuvre of Belarus-born photographer Valery Katsuba for an exhibition in Shanghai that includes more than 10 of his most important series of works: "Valery Katsuba: Russian Romantic Realism" Katsuba's works combine the aesthetics of Russian style with Western visual culture, a combination of romanticism and realism. This is the first time that audiences in China will have the opportunity to enjoy Katsuba's elegant exploration of the human body and human relationships through photography.

Painting session. Workshop of Professor Vladimir Pesikov. Academy of Fine Arts. Saint Petersburg | 100 Years On | 2013
©️Valery Katsuba, courtesy Anna Nova Gallery

Looking at the portraits by Katsuba, we are awed by their charm. The figures in the portraits aspire to be heroes of their time, as indeed some of them are in real life. In his Russian Olympic Project for the Winter Games in Turin (2006), Katsuba takes as models Olympic sportsmen and women, photographed in the rural towns or villages that are their native places. In these precious personal moments of return to their family origins, we see their souls, as well as the dichotomy between their achievements and fragility; Far Away from Home (2004-2014) tells a sailor’s story about love, loss, and the search for new love, where a man escaping from himself eventually begins to turn into a road to himself, a road to home; When turning to Morning (2011-2014), we feel a certain expectation but also the familiar uncertainty that we feel when we embrace a new day or the birth of new things. In either case, nothing obliterates the desire for life.

Air Flight. Moscow. Luzhniki IV. Moscow | Air Flight Series | 2016
©️Valery Katsuba, courtesy Anna Nova Gallery

Even though it is obvious from motifs in Katsuba’s works, like the staged settings, figure's expressions, postures, and the calculated ornaments that this world is unmistakably Russian, the indelible seam of romance - is the one all nationalities share in common, no matter who we are or where we are from. Just as the delicate question posited in all great Russian literature - human emotion is the very core of our existence. At this moment in the grand river of time, seen through the prism of dramatic changes in social economy and culture, the posturing of the figures in his photographs, their often introspective gaze, seem to point as much forward to the self-reliance upon which we will necessarily depend as they direct our gaze back to the past. Through Katsuba’s works, this exhibition tries to encourage viewers to pay attention to the personal life and to find their own romance in reality.

Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP)
2555-1 Long Teng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Until August 29, 2021

Shanghai Center of Photography (SCôP) was founded in May 2015 by Mr Liu Heung Shing. SCôP is a non-profit organization: the first such accredited art institution dedicated to photography in China, and Shanghai’s premiere museum for the photographic medium. SCôP showcases international and Chinese photography in all its diverse applications. Here you will find the best of journalism, documentary, social history, fashion and art photography from around the world. In tandem with its curated exhibitions, SCoP offers a range of educational programs from talks and lectures to practical workshops, for all ages and levels of experience.

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