Red Room, Yusopof Palace, St Petersburg, Russia

Medium: Pigment Print
Year: 2015

Burdeny’s Russia images, particularly in his photographs of the Moscow Metro, in which the artist documents the palatial grandeur of the city’s 85-year-old underground rail system. Burdeny was among the first photographers to be granted after-hours access to the subway stations, and his images Soviet-era stations, whose ornate designs and realist artwork were meant to reflect the socialist ideals of Stalinist Russia—“palaces of the people.” During the Cold War, some stations doubled as bomb shelters. Today, the metro system transports upwards of two and a half million riders per day across more than 200 stations, making Burdeny’s unobstructed views of the vaulted and brightly lit tunnels an especially rare glimpse, one that highlights the space itself rather than its more quotidian function.Next to his equally rare shots of actual Russian palaces, among them St. Petersburg’s Yusopof Palaceand Hermitage Museum, these metro views form a picture of Russian architectural history as a social-cultural current that moves both above and below the country’s storied cities.



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