Water & Cities

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The Admiralty, the Stock Exchange

I’ll not forget you when I’m gone,

I’ll not see Leningrad again,

Its water shivering at dawn.

Andrey Voznesensky “Saga”

Translated by William Jay Smith and Vera Dunham


Reflection of cityscapes off the water introduces the audience to a specific reality.

The photographer-artist presents the reflected urban landscapes of St. Petersburg and Amsterdam, Riga and Paris, Lisbon, Rome and Bruges.

Two objects are present in every reflection – a visible and an invisible world. Water plays the role of emotions and colours conductor. When separated from the physical world, reflection becomes phenomenon itself. When such reflections are intentionally recreated the results are always an artistic commentary, whether they are a photograph or a pictorial landscape.

Reflections, like the nature of all things, are vague and often inexplicable. The human mind is merely a reflection of its environment. Every individual lives in the physical world as well as in the world of reflections.

Maria Kremneva’s photographs depict reflections of cities that coexist with watery spaces, where canals and rivers are life arteries and history roads.

To refer to reflections in the water as “mirror images” is merely convention. The water is never still, it fluctuates, moves, ripples, changes colours and shades. Reflections, as independent phenomenon, are always altered in one way or another. Images reflected off the water are modified in a special way, in accordance with the laws of wind and light The play of colour and light in these dynamic photographs charms the audience and leads the viewer deeper into mysterious Looking Glass.

In the ‘reflections’ of Maria Kremneva thoughtful spectators, with the romantic imagination, will see not only facades, bridges and other pieces of city architecture, but also strangers from the Looking Glass, not actually existing but inhabiting fantasy and imaginary world.

Knowledgeable viewers will certainly see allusions to Impressionists and Postimpressionists artists such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and, certainly, Van Gogh.

The bright and rich colour palette of the photos reminds the audience of the enamel technique. Although not all reflections are captured in southern cities, the photographer has caught sun, happiness and the vital force in kind of covered with patina old northern cities. Despite the fact that usually reflections are dimer and more obscure, on these photos they represent their own bright and fascinating world.

The creative play on the world of reflections will not only fill the viewer with aesthetic pleasure but with appreciation for the volatility of the reflected reality.

The true identity of the phenomenal and reflected worlds is unfeasible. Nevertheless they form a coherent whole such as shadow and light, impression and reality, fantasy and physical existence – without them our lives would not be so rich with colours and shades.

Years, humans and peoples

Run away forever,

Like flowing water.

In the flexible mirror of nature

Stars are seine, we are fish,

Gods are ghosts of the darkness

Khlebnikov, “Years, people and peoples…”

(Translated by Anastasia Kostetskaya)

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