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Exhibition November 29 − December 12, 2018

Salki and Civil Defense

On November 29, an exhibition of the famous Russian photographer Zalman Shklyar “Salki” will open in the Izmailovo Gallery of the Moscow Exhibition Halls Association. The gallery will feature about twenty large-format black-and-white photos taken at the Budapest Zoo. The exhibition will run until December 12.

“We are people (in any case, our company) is an extremely tragic warehouse, but very funny at the same time” (from the personal letter of Egor Letov to Zalman Shklyar, mid-1990s).

Russian photographer Zalman Shklyar works in the genre of street photography. The series of black and white photos is inspired by the ideas and images of Egor Letov, who had a significant impact on the author.

The world for a street photographer is a treasure that is invisible to most people, and the ability to see its details, which are inconspicuous at first glance, and for the time being the hidden edges is a blessing. Street photography for Zalman Shklyar is a way of life, perception and correction of the world inside and outside. The desire to understand the world through its visible manifestations is inherent in the author from birth, which is to some extent, paradoxically, not very good vision. What could be perceived as an obstacle, on the contrary, makes it possible to see more deeply, figuratively, symbolically.

For street photography, the refusal of staging is of principle, however, in the genre, the report, portrait, landscape, fashion-photo, the whole variety of experimental methods and artistic techniques are melted together.

Stylistically, the photographs of the series “Salki and“ Civil Defense ”” are an expressive, psychedelic-fantastic noir, a genre conceptual street.

From the author:

In fact, I was brought up on “Civil Defense” in the post-perestroika period. To some extent, this exhibition is devoted to my perception of a powerful charge, which carried Egor Letov. I was acquainted with him by correspondence of the mid-1990s: I sent him a letter to Omsk — he answered me. Letters still keep.

Egor's creative work is permeated, on the one hand, by the children's pure perception of the surrounding world, on the other, by radical revolutionism, a combination of lyricism and struggle. Therefore, I tried to show this symbiosis in my black and white photographs and combine them with the name “Salki and Civil Defense”.

It is very difficult to run away with a gun on your shoulder.
With a boomerang in the head, and a target on the back
Child's world
This is the children's world.
Yegor Letov

The essence of saloks, children's games, is the transfer of endless link movement, where everyone must pass the banner of struggle to the next player. Here, everyone carries a clean charge and at the same time carries a "circular" defense.

The main part of the series “Salki” was filmed in the Budapest Zoo. Only for me, the “zoo” is more a symbol than a reality.

I'm looking for people like me
Crazy and funny
crazy and sick.
And when I find them -
We will go away from here,
we leave from here in the night -
Mu leave from the zoo!
Yegor Letov

In fact, these are works that were not included in my recent exhibition BUD-A-PEST 16. Because they (these photos) were worthy, as I saw it, of a separate integral exhibition space. In addition, the photos themselves are designed to a greater extent not for the mass audience, but for those who are ready to perceive the conceptuality of unpopular street photography, and, of course, understands the work of Yegor Letov.

Zalman Shklyar