Moscow Girls and other stories
Exhibition at Haus am Waldsee, Berlin
Moscow Girls and other stories is a solo show of photographs and video works by the artist Melanie Manchot. Through her large-scale installations the conceptual artist initiates a dialogue between Moscow and Berlin, developing a cultural exchange on the basis of storytelling. For the work Moscow Girls Melanie Manchot asked young women from Moscow to tell a personal story that takes place during the historical changes of the 1990s. The photographs are supplemented by the acoustic narrations to which visitors can listen via headphones.
Oral history plays an equally central role in the seven-channel video installation Hotel Moscow. This work reanimates the luxury hotel that was commissioned by Stalin in the mid-1930s. As he mistakenly had signed blueprints by two different architects, the hotel was rigorously constructed in two halves. The old-established hotel has been pulled down in 2004. In Melanie Manchot’s work its history is reconstructed through the varying memories of contemporaries.
Groups and Locations (Moscow) continues the investigation of individuals and their local contexts. For this series of large-scale colour photographs Melanie Manchot has invited random passersby to pose for a spontaneous group portrait at historic sites in and around Moscow. The collected group, staring focused in the camera, is also a statement on the current assembly ban at locations of political importance.
The show “Moscow Girls and other stories” is intended to occupy all of Haus am Waldsee’s 400 square meters of exhibition space. It is complemented by works that have been completed in Berlin not until spring 2006.
MELANIE MANCHOT was born in 1966. She studied at New York University and at City University of London and graduated in 1992 with a Master of Photography at London’s Royal College of Art. Since then her work has been awarded international prizes and forms part of several private and public collections. It has been shown in numerous exhibitions worldwide, for example at the Photographers Gallery (London), the MIT List Visual Art Centre (Boston), the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg and the 1st Moscow Biennale. Manchot achieved first international attention through her photo series „look at you loving me“ (1998). In sensual portraits of her mother as a nude, Manchot confronts the aging body with the media-made myth of beauty as permanent youth.
The exhibition “Moscow Girls and other stories” at Berlin’s Haus am Waldsee presents the first large solo exhibition of Melanie Manchot’s work in Germany.
A catalogue accompanying the exhibition is available (60 pages, 10 €).
Curator: Dr. Katja Blomberg, art director Haus am Waldsee