Global Underground

At the Galerie Blue Square in rue Debelleyme (3e) I was able to see the remarkable images from the Global Underground project by Valera and Natasha Cherkashin who I’d met earlier in the week at the Lensculture party.

They have been working together since the 1990s and using digital photography and video since 1999.  The Global Underground project began in 2005, and is intended to cover some 35 cities around the world, including Moscow, New York, Stockholm, Beijing, London, Paris, Berlin and Tokyo. The project aims to merge underground systems from 33 cities around the world into one Global Underground.

Their images make use of multiple exposures creating an almost mosaic effect both in their still images and video projection. The densely filled surfaces of their prints come to look like canvases that have been painted over and over, sometimes producing an effect that is more like an icon than a photograph.

The images from different cities reflect the different visual nature of the different underground systems. So far I’ve seen work from New York, Moscow, Stockholm, Beijing, Paris and Washington, and each is very different. New York has dark vertical columns breaking up the images of people standind on the platforms, Moscow is light and golden with oval motifs, while Beijing has a frontal fringe of Chinese faces in front of what seems more like a department store than a platform,  Paris seems more linear, while  Washington is a place of shadows. I wait to see how London will appear.

Although this isn’t the kind of photography that normall attracts me greatly it was impossible not to like this work and repsond to its intensity. For once the techniques seem to be being used to say something rather than for their own sake.

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