Sasha Gentsis's photo exhibition
September 11 - November 8, 2020
Exhibition curator: Artem Loginov.
With the support of the Central Museum of the Air Force.
The 22 large-format works are unique in looking into the cockpits of historic planes and helicopters that are inaccessible to the public. Here, you feel as if you were at the controls. You can see the smallest details of these legendary planes. Sasha Gentsis has combined shots of the cockpits with scenery from his own photo archive to fully immerse the viewer in the experience.
Gentsis follows the tradition of the Düsseldorf school of photography, suggesting such masters as A. Gursky, K. Höfer and T. Struth. The works are 125x167 cm, making the images as detailed as contemporary digital art enables. Image processing and digital photomontage techniques go far beyond the mere copying of reality, creating a self-sufficient artistic world. Computer colorization considerably increases the expressiveness of the photographs. Sasha Gentsis's works vividly exemplify the latest achievements of digital photography.
The project Ruling the Skies aims not only to reflect on aviation in the modern age and history but also to express its enormous significance through art. The project is based on images of aircraft cockpits, each with its own unique history and distinctive aesthetics, such as IL-2, La-7, Pe-2, Tu-144, Tu-95, etc. In their time, these planes changed the course of history, setting records of speed and height, payload and flight distance, reliability and controllability. Some of them delivered vital cargo or famous figures of the era to their destinations; others crushed enemies and defended state borders. It is difficult to overestimate the role of planes in shaping the modern age â be it in the Soviet Union, or anywhere else in the world.
Today, these planes have become museum pieces of honour. Classified before, they are now opening their secrets to the public. Gentsis was able to see and photograph the interiors of cockpits, the sanctum sanctorum of modern aeronautics, previously unseen by ordinary people. Like elaborate church ornaments before, their complex combinations of devices express a society's deep faith: a faith in science and technological progress as the driving forces of civilisation. At the same time, they show how swiftly designs are being replaced by others in the technological race. The language of electronics and numbers spoken by these devices is so pure and clear that the viewer, failing to understand it, still perceives it as an abstract rhythm, as words of an unfamiliar chant. It is here that one can fully experience how, by flying an aeroplane, humankind celebrates science.
About Sasha Gentsis:
Sasha Gentsis has been a photographer for more than 20 years. He works in the genres of landscape and industrial fine art photography. He has held numerous solo exhibitions of landscape photography and participated in photo festivals.
The exhibition Guided Heavens is his third museum photography project in the large format. The exhibition features 22 limited-edition works and an album.
In 2018, Gentsis presented the exhibition Socialist Surrealism at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre in Moscow. In 2019, the exhibition became a special project of the V Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art in Ekaterinburg.
From 2015 to 2019, he was filming abandoned and operating factory halls of the ZIL and the Likhachev plant, collecting stories about the Soviet industrial giant. He was among the last photographers to take footage of the plant before it was dismantled.
The Air Force Museum in Monino:
One of the oldest Soviet museums of aviation technology, it was established by the Gagarin Air Force Academy on 28 November 1958. It houses a rich collection of civil and military helicopters and aeroplanes, tracing the development of aviation from the first airplanes to the aircraft of today.