The TRIVA Manifesto
29 November 2013 — 23 December 2013
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On the 28 of November exhibition “The TRIVA Manifesto” opens at Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in collaboration with Siberian branch of the State Centre for Contemporary Art


Novokuznetsk photography of late-Soviet period is one of the most notable discoveries of contemporary art. Curator of the 55th Venice Biennale Massimiliano Gioni selected works by Novokuznetsk photographer Nikolai Bakharev for the main programme of the festival. Possibly, a more important phenomenon is TRIVA group which was the first officially registered association of photographers which existed in late 70s – early 80s in USSR. Abbreviation was made out of names and last names of the participants: Vladimir Vorobiyov, Vladimir Sokolaev and Aleksandr Trofimov. All three worked as photographers at Metallurgical Industrial Complex in Novokuznetsk. They documented daily life of the largest factory in the country while studying the world’s photographical heritage and developing their own style.

The group was fully formed by 1980 and had an official treaty. At that time TRIVA pur forward their own creative manifest which declared a method of reportage photography: absence of any visual manipulations, no framing etc. Similar rules were promoted much later by Dutch film-union “Dogma” with Lars von Trier as their head. As Vladimir Sokolaev puts it : ‘Theoretical aspect of photography was seriously considered, much attention was paid to its reportage basis while the limits of documentary approach were defined. Shooting with regular 55 mm lenses became characteristic. Pictures taken with it kept a familiar for a human eye perspective while they looked like a “window into an event”. “Immersion” method became fundamental. In order to highlight a documentary aspect we started printing the pictures keeping the perforating lines. After a while, we got rid of perforation – it looked too “artistic”. However, we kept the full-negative printing…’

TRIVA’s members took their pictures on the territory of the gigantic factory which was inaccessible for other photographers’. They were also the first ones to publically exhibit their works at the factory’s information stands. The photographers had access to a powerful film-studio in the city centre. During 1 year of its existence, TRIVA participated in 19 exhibitions in USSR and abroad. They were blamed for it by the Communist Party. Also, the local photographers were against the group. Due to a high chance of inspection, the largest part of TRIVA’s archives was destroyed. Under the governmental pressure, TRIVA’s registration was annulled and the factory’s administration had to change the entire staff of photo-laboratory. Officially TRIVA existed for less than a year but it left a significant mark in the history of reportage photography.

TRIVA’s first exhibition was organised by Siberian branch of the State Centre for Contemporary Art and was shown at Tomsk Museum in June 2013. This exhibition also participated in parallel programme of X Biennale of Krasnoyarsk (September–October’2013). And now this unique material can be seen beyond Siberia at Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art in St Petersburg.

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