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Press Release

Nailya Alexander Gallery is pleased to announce On the Altered Behavior of Sunlight, a photography exhibition by Igor Savchenko (Minsk, Belarus), the artist’s first solo show in New York. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm-6pm.

In the early 1990s, Igor Savchenko pursued conceptual forms of representation and his photography was often defined as conceptual symbolism. He used photographic means for exploring the phenomenon of time and the reconstruction of the moment. In series like Alphabet of Gestures, Shadows, About Happiness, About Love, and Mysteria, Savchenko concentrated on details to devise a philosophical code allowing the viewer to discover the time trapped in those images. In his further research – Commented Landscapes series – the artist introduced text, which led him to create a photograph with the help of verbal means (e.g.: “The Landscape which will be photographed in six minutes from this spot, when...”). In his essay On the Renovated Attitude towards Photography, 1997, Savchenko states: “The long- standing guesses have been proven. The world keeps on resisting having its picture taken - in the sense that we understand picture-taking today... Pursuit of a fleeting moment as well as focusing on a decisive one could have caused a reaction in return. A desire to find out what, in fact, occurs to the world when somebody decides to imprint – by means of an appropriate mechanism and the rays of light – and retain a fragment of the world, and what a photographic picture actually is, a destiny of a few advanced persons in the past, now has turned into a question of vital importance.” The current exhibition presents some of Savchenko’s experiments in his investigation of a photographic image, the texture and the magical nature of a moment. 

Though in 1998 Savchenko ceased the photo reproduction of the world, he continues to investigate the structure of time as an artist-mystifier and a special ‘secret’ agent. Among his recent projects are A Small Research on Contemporary Coded Radio Transmissions (audio, text) in 1999; Sergeyev’s Temptation (art-object-book) in 2001; and Forbidden Heights (a set of three digital audio compact discs) in 2003. His photographs can be found in such major museum collections as: The Hasselblad Collection (Goteborg, Sweden); Fotografiska Museet-Moderna Musee (Stockholm, Sweden); Museet for Fotokunst (Odense, Denmark); Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX); The Zimmerli Art Museum (Rutgers’ University, New Brunswick, NJ) and the State Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia). 


We no longer have
A constant flow of sunlight.
Light appears to us
As a sequence of transient storms.
Everything around us is lit up for brief instants. The world picture shimmers.
But moments of light and darkness
Still alternate too fast,
For us to notice them.
We still believe
The visible picture is steady.
In fact the storms of sunlight
Blow past more rarely and less regularly. Darkness has been gathering.
Uncertainty keeps growing.

The visual picture
Is gradually being replaced
By its speculative model.
But this we can only guess at
From indirect signs –
Inexplicable and sudden failures
While photographing the moments which Miss just another sunlight storm.
We ourselves fail to notice that
Our perception of the world is changing. We ourselves are changing.
The consequences are not yet clear.

Savchenko, Minsk, 1996