The Gallery for Classic Photography, with the support of the Italian Institute of Culture in Moscow and the Cultural Affairs section of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, is proud to present the solo exhibition
'Evaporations / Испарение' by John R. Pepper
18 May - 27 July 2016
Opening: 18 May, 8 pm
GALLERY FOR CLASSIC PHOTOGRAPHY
Savvinskaja naberezhnaja , 23, str. 1, Mosca
The solo exhibition 'Evaporations / Испарение' by Italian-American photographer John Randolph Pepper features 38 pictures taken on the shores of various corners of the world - Naples, Thessaloniki, Chicago, New York, Geneva, St. Petersburg - in 2012-2013. Pepper's pictures investigate the possibilities of the encounter and show moments of life that are not meant to be captured by a camera or fixed in memory. Often observing scenes from a distance, John R. Pepper portrays human life at its most essential, cleared from any cultural and chronological peculiarities, and, in particular, in complete solitude. Pepper draws from street photographers' decades-old practice of travelling the world with a 35mm camera, waiting for situations to present themselves extemporaneously. Sticking to the classic - or, as some would say, now archaic - tradition, he works exclusively with analogue cameras and black-and-white film, focusing the images through the viewfinder and presenting them as they actually appear. He thus conveys a personal view of the world that sets realism against an almost enigmatic narrative, and physical observation against psychic revelation.
One of the most fascinating features of these pictures is the way they reject time, a characteristic that might seem to contradict the very nature of photography. In fact, Pepper reveals a relationship with time that strikingly differs from most other street photographers' who seek to capture a fleeting moment. His pictures - even those that portray people moving quickly - seem to render more accurately a lasting moment, a slowing down of time and the figures in the composition, who become motionless the very moment they are captured by the camera lens.
'Evaporations / Испарение', Pepper's most recent work, is not merely a collection of views: it is a journey through the realms of solitude, fragility and alienation. Silent, isolated figures stand on the shore, facing distant horizons, against cloudy skies or gloomy city skylines. A sense of uneasiness permeates these intense, lyrical, disturbing pictures.
John R. Pepper is an Italian-American photographer, theatre and film director and screenwriter. He was born in 1958, the son of journalist/author Curtis Bill Pepper, then Rome bureau chief for 'Newsweek' magazine. It was his father who introduced him to photography by giving him his first camera, a Pentax, when he was 12. Pepper developed his artistic vision under the influence of Henri Cartier Bresson, Sam Show, John Ross, and David Seymour, who were hosted regularly by his parents. At the age of 14, he became the apprentice of Italian photographer Ugo Mulas, the legend of street photography. In 1976, he graduated in History of Art at Princeton University. Later, he was awarded a fellowship from the American Film Institute, Los Angeles. Through the years he has worked as a photographer, theatre and film director and has produced numerous outstanding plays staged in several New York theatres. Among them: "Cubistique" (Tom Cohen), "The Cruelties of Mrs Schnayd" (David Suesdhorf) and "Le Voci di Dentro" ("Inner Voices", Eduardo de Filippo). He currently exhibits in Italy, France, Russia and the United States.
Pepper's Russian production of the play "My Dear Mathilde" by Israel Horovitz has been in the repertoire of St. Petersburg State Drama Theatre since 2013. After the successful reception of "Danny and the deep blue sea" by John Patrick Shanley in Palermo and Milan this year, Pepper has directed "True West" by Sam Shepard together with the students of St. Petersburg Theatre Arts Academy.
In 2009, supported by the American Academy in Rome, Pepper worked on the project "Sans Papiers" that resulted in several catalogues and itinerant exhibitions in Rome, Venice, St. Petersburg, Paris, and Palermo.
In 2014, the pictures shown at 'Evaporations / Испарение' were published in a book edited by the Istituto Superiore per la Storia della Fotografia (Italy). After previewing in Palermo (at Paolo Morello Studio Gallery), the exhibition opened at the Rosphoto State Museum and at Officine delle Zattere during the 14th Venice Biennale di Architettura at the same time. In the course of 2015-2016 the exhibition has been travelling through Russian cities (Vladivostok, Irkutsk, Omsk, Yekaterinburg, and Samara), finally getting to Moscow. 'Evaporations / Испарение' will arrive to Rome, Paris, and New York in 2016-2017.
Together with 'Evaporations / Испарение' at the Gallery for Classic Photography Moscow, John R. Pepper is exhibiting works dating from the 1970s ('Rome, An Hommage to Neo-Realism') at The Art of Photo Gallery in St. Petersburg (May 15-June 18, 2016).
Pepper is currently working on his new photography project, 'Deserts / Droughts', complemented by a book that will be published in 2017. In 'Deserts / Droughts' he explores deserts and their effect on time, history and the population. Here, he wonders if man's presence has changed the landscape or, rather, if the land, i.e. the desert, still bears any resemblance to what it was before man's appearance, when it was uncontaminated and untouched. Could it be possible that the desert, the "landscape", persisted as a living, distinct entity despite man's presence?