David Yarrow and the Japanese masters at MAMM

April 2021
This spring the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (MAMM) presented several new exhibitions at a time, among which were works "Wild Encounters" by world famous British photographer David Yarrow.

During many years David was travelling to remote and inaccessible areas of the world, making stunning black and white photographs of animals on the brink of extinction. To achieve maximum impact, Yarrow captured animals at a dangerously close distance.
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Each picture required meticulous preparations. Sometimes the photographer would "wait in ambush" for hours to get the right moment, or have his equipment almost destroyed by the animals…
When I was photographing a polar bear in Alaska I had to go closer than anybody had ever done before... I was shaking so much that I thought I'd never get the shot,' - recalls the photographer.
It seems incredible how David Yarrow was able to make such beautiful images of wild animals, with harmonious composition and light. The museum also presented an amusing series of interactions between wild animals and people in an industrial environment.
The editorial team was particularly moved by the photographs, prints and works of Japanese photographers and artists dating from 1830-1890. Generally speaking, Japanese visual culture then was not the same as that of the West, and even now there are so many fundamental differences. The authors sought inspiration for their subjects from the diversity of urban life in an attempt to capture the elusive reality.

The photographs in the exhibition were created using the technique of albumen print, which fades inexorably in contact with sunlight. And these photographs, unlike the Western ones, were often partially coloured, not for the sake of acute naturalism, but to set visual accents.

The exhibition "Ancient Japanese Photography and Prints" combines staged images taken in the streets with photographs made entirely in a photo studio, in which the collective images of geishas and samurais are portrayed by costumed actors. But even in the staged pictured the breath of that life is inadvertently caught - blurred ghost figures in the streets and spontaneous displays of emotion in minor characters. Many images often portray deep symbolism, when there are plants of lotus, iris and wisteria, as the have a certain meaning.
It was possible to look in detail at the attire of Japanese women of the time and find out what the differences between courtesans and geishas were.
On the top floor of the museum was located Mimmo Jodice's exhibition "Transformations of Vision".
Its mood echoes that of the Japanese artists. It's a talented work of the curators who organized the exhibitions and showed three series by the photographer: "Attesa", "Eden" and "Transiti".

In the "Attesa" series, Mimmo Jodice reflects on the relativity of the categories of time and space. The handmade objects, taken out of their usual context, froze either in the past or in the future at the will of the photographer. Laconic black and white pictures invite the viewer into a new dimension beyond time and space - the dimension of Expectation.
"Eden" series is a story of temptation, passions and mysteries of the human mind.
The "Transiti" series is a kind of dialogue between the characters of the great masters' paintings, photographed by Jodice in a Neapolitan museum, and the modern Neapolitans whose portraits the photographer took on the streets of the city.
The Multimedia Art Museum is located in the city centre, at 16 Ostozhenka Street, Park Kultury metro station. The museum is open from 12.00 to 21.00, except Mondays.
We remind you that every third Tuesday of the month the entrance is free for all visitors :)
Author Anna Laza
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