New York Artscape was created to focus on small but ground-breaking art events in our city, and over the past several years we waited with great eagerness for the completion and premier of “Classical Petersburg”, an original collection of 40 photographs of the legendary St. Petersburg ballet set against the backdrop of the historical city’s architectural gems.
The brilliant author, Natalie Bero, has for almost five years been resident in New York and was hoping to hold the world premier here. The pandemic, however, changed those plans, and the premier took place in her native St. Petersburg on Nov. 11 at Molbert Gallery.
Despite this loss, it’d be a pity not to write about this magnificent exhibition, even though it couldn’t premier in the Big Apple. In addition, Natalie’s exhibition is a historic event. For the first time ever, a photographer has skillfully caught each flawless moment when famous Russian ballet dancers achieve perfection in harmony with the surrounding historic city.
The exhibition shows the harmonious connection between the St. Petersburg ballet and the city’s architecture. Silhouettes of buildings, urbanized landscape, as well as the strict geometry of bridges and streets are intertwined with the movements and postures of top ballet dancers.
“Through photography, I demonstrate the language of spatial arts – ballet and architecture talk with the viewer about the mutual influence of man and the urban environment,” said Natalie in an interview. “I like to bring a little kindness and warmth to this world. I do it through beauty. It helps to distract from negativity, from sadness and grief, from problems.”
Indeed, Natalie’s photographic art is radical precisely because it’s a much needed return to all that is beautiful and noble. These photos, which combine the majesty of Russian ballet with the grandeur of St. Petersburg architecture, return the viewer to a time of classical civilization and beauty.
“Contemporary art often has ugly and negative connotations; I rebel against those notions. St. Petersburg’s ballet and architecture is universally recognized beauty,” Natalie added.
Natalie depicts St.Petersburg not just as a setting, but as a character in the ballet. She shows the dancers in impossibly perfect moments of balance that defy human physical limitations. These are the images that viewers worldwide appreciate and admire when we think of the beauty of Russian art, culture, and architecture, epitomized in the exquisite city of St. Petersburg and the perfection of its dancers.
Not surprisingly, this exhibition made a huge impression on Petersburgers, and was met with immense critical acclaim by local media and critics. Why? We already mentioned several reasons above. But there’s one more reason. Probably because locals have a chance to see the two best things that their city has to offer to the world — ballet and architecture. Not as during most of the year when the city is gloomy, cold and rainy; but rather, here they see their beloved city as positive, warm, and life-affirming.
We look forward to Natalie continuing this theme in other great cities around the world.