Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present “The Leningrad Trilogy,” the first New York solo exhibition by Carlos Motta. In a 3-channel video installation and a series of 36 photographic diptychs, Motta presents a thought-provoking meditation on St. Petersburg, Russia, a city whose rich and tumultuous history can be revealed through its public spaces, architecture, and monuments, as much as by how its current inhabitants relate to these historical markers.
“Leningrad,” (8 min., B&W, sound) is a contemplative montage of some of the city’s monuments built during the years of political repression under Stalin. A reading of two important poems (Anna Akhmatova’s Petrograd, 1919, and Osip Mandelstam’s Leningrad, 1930) serve as a soundtrack to the images, which suggest Leningrad’s character as a literary muse as well as a witness of political victory and defeat.
“Leningrad, Petrograd, Petersburg (Part 1)” (44 min., color, sound) offers an intriguing before-and-after look at landmark cityscapes, based on a 1954 government-published book of photographs of the city. Visiting the city 52 years later, Motta re-photographed each of these locations, revealing changes to Soviet monuments and architecture. The accompanying voiceover is a recorded conversation between curator Elena Sorokina, artist Yevgeniy Fiks, and Motta in which they respond to the images and the many political, historical and cultural aspects that these invoke. Thirty-six of the location pairings are presented also in photographic diptychs, which show a wide spectrum of degree of change over time.
In the third video,”Leningrad, Petrograd, Petersburg (Part 2)” (40 min., color, sound), Motta conducts a series of interviews with local residents around St Petersburg’s two most prominent Soviet monuments to V.I Lenin. The interviewees respond to questions that attempt to investigate the public perception of these monuments and how they affect the contemporary landscape of the city fifteen years after the fall of the Soviet Union.
As a whole “The Leningrad Trilogy” presents St. Petersburg as a contested site of confronted ideologies in an attempt to inquire about the imprint of historical events onto the fabric of individual and collective subjectivities.
Carlos Motta is a graduate of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (2006), received an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, in 2003, and a BFA in photography from The School of Visual Arts in 2001. His work has been widely exhibited, including in the CCS Bard Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Palazzo Papesse, Siena, Italy; Foam Fotografie Museum, Amsterdam, Holland; Museum of Modern Art, Bogota, Colombia; SF; and Fries Museum, Groningen, Holland. Recent awards include the International Artists Studio Program in Sweden (IASPIS), 2007; the Swing Space Program, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, 2007; the DaNY Arts Grant (with HOMEWORK), Danish Arts Council, 2007, and the Subvention Grant, Cisneros Fontanals Foundation (CIFO), 2006.