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Two wars

03 July - 28 July 2003
The Stroganov Palace

The exhibition showcases works by two artists - Soviet S.Shimansky and German A.Remmer - who took part in the Great Patriotic War as photographers, on opposite sides. The exhibition is already unusual because the war presented on the photos is absolutely not warlike - there are no bombings, no attacks, and even no weapon. In 1942, being a regimental signaler and a photographer by profession, Asmus Remmer found himself on a foreign land in order to take pictures of German graves so that to lighten search for relatives of those killed. However, so many were the graves that are turned out to be impossible to take pictures of all of them. The soldier-photographer was commissioned to France, where he ended up as a prisoner taken by Americans. Remmer did not take part in military operations and that is why he stayed alive and preserved all his shot material. He saw Russia as a painter, was enraptured with its beauty and emotional openness. Russia responded in the same way: posing people smile and look friendly. In his works Remmer showed Russian village as it was - without tractors and combines, without agitators and pace-makers of socialistic competition, without slogans and orchestras. And at the same time, though significantly closer to the north, another photographer - Sergey Shimansky, a military correspondent in the Northern navy, took pictures of military actions and operations but saw not only pain and blood. Having found himself in blockade Leningrad, Shimansky was astonished with grandeur of the unsubdued city. His photos show no bombings and corpses, but a fence built of beds on a dug-over-to-plant-potatoes flower-bed near the Kazan Cathedral tells more about the blockade city than some reports. Sergey Shimansky can be called a discovery both for spectators and specialists, since this brilliant photographer happened to be forgotten by photographic community, though for their quality and artistic perfection his works deserve to be shown at the most serious exhibition and to appear in publications. The exhibition has been organized by the Contemporary Art Department of the State Russian museum together with the Unit of art-photographers of Russia.