On Site: Bogdan Mamonov – “The Intimate Life of Gregory Speer “ – Sputnik Gallery, NYC

In Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallery, Photo Print Collector on March 26, 2010 at 11:00 am

Bogdan Momonov (Gregory Speer)

In a moving display of family images combined with a political and historical statement, Momonov delivers a sensitive offering to his viewers.

We stopped by the Sputnik Gallery in Chelsea, pre-opening, and had a chance to briefly meet the artist while he was hanging his work. His deliberate manner hinted at the serious nature of this special project.

Bogdan Mamonov’s great-grandfather, Gregory Speer, found himself at the time of the Bolshevik revolution a
German bridge engineer hired by the government of the last czar in Kolomna, a city approximately 100 miles
outside of Moscow.

By 1932, at the height of Stalin’s purges, however, Speer’s luck had run out and he was arrested in a so-called“engineers’ case”. According to the official version, Speer hanged himself in prison.

One of the few possessions of Speer’s that was not confiscated after his arrest was his collection of glass plates of stereo photographs capturing the idyll of his family’s life and leisure. Although Speer did not consider himself an artist and captured his family purely as a record of happy times, he possessed an innate sense of composition. The collection of stereo photographs that survived through three generations of Speer’s descendants and twentieth century turmoil became the most tangible, most intimate link for Mamonov to his ancestor whose life and death so directed his upbringing.

The common thread of all works in The Intimate Life is a number of Mamonov’s favorite images from his great-grandfather’s collection, each examined, interpreted and reinterpreted by Mamonov the artist and Mamonov the great-grandson.

Take a trip back in time, with these vintage images, and stand in the artist’s shoes for a moment in history. Now, through May 1.

For more information: Sputnik Gallery

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