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26 March 2021, 18:00

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State Museum of Architecture named after A.V. Shchusev and the Dialog Gallery invite you to an exhibition of color transparencies by Karl Elof Berggren of the 1900s –1910s. It will be possible to see it from March 26 to May 16 from 18:00 to 21:00.

The series consists of over 200 hand-painted transparencies of Moscow and other regions of the Russian Empire, taken by Karl Elof Berggren, Swedish military officer of the General Staff. The collection is distinguished by an unusual glass impression technique and the author’s own eyes.

“I bought the transparencies over 10 years ago in Sweden. And although this collection is different from the works of art that I collect, it amazed me: transparencies seemed like thin fragments of time and space, the boundaries of which were much wider than the frame itself. I was interested in the unusual technology, the integrity of the collection and, of course, the color, or rather its presence in these frames. The set of frames lined up for me in a coherent narrative about the time, about which many facts and few details are known. It took a long time and it took a thorough study of the material before the idea of ​​an exhibition and a book was born. But the more I looked at the events of our history through the colored glass of Karl Elof Berggren’s transparencies, the more I wanted to make them available to the general public so that the viewer could become a participant in these events, ”said Mikhail Prozorov, curator and director of the Dialog Gallery.

Views of Moscow in the 1900s make up almost half of the collection – 90 slides. The archive contains panoramic shots from the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, views of the Kremlin and the Moskva River, as well as images of many sights. Shots of architecture coexist with pictures of urban life.

Part of the archive tells about the Crimean sights. An interesting series of transparencies with views of the Turkestan region, which includes images of residents and ancient buildings of Samarkand and Bukhara. Another group is made up of views of the Caucasus Mountains, Tiflis and Mtskheta, as well as portraits of local residents.

As a career Swedish military man, Karl Elof Berggren was interested in the military aspects of life. The spirit of the times that prevailed in the period between the two wars – the Russo-Japanese and the First World War – conveys the shooting of soldiers on the march in a snowy land, at railway stations during the transfer of troops.

In Moscow’s life, the author is especially interested in military parades and maneuvers on Teatralnaya and Voskresenskaya squares, cavalry squadrons and infantry grenadier units, artillery batteries and palace grenadiers. A small series tells about the life of the Sumy regiment – cavalrymen stationed in Moscow.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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