Újezd 19, Praha 1 - Malá Strana


© Martin Wágner: Night trip on Beruse River - Eastern Siberia 2006©Martin Wágner: Journey to Lultin - Chukotka Peninsula 2004
© Martin Wágner: Bay of Piltun - Sakhalin Island 2001© Martin Wágner: Walrus hunters - Chukotka Peninsula 2004
© Martin Wágner: Rites of Russia - South Ural 2010© Martin Wágner: Rybnoye harbour - Kuril Islands 2001
© Martin Wágner: On the train Moscow - Vladivostok 1999© Martin Wágner: Kirsantyevo village - Krasnoyarsk region 2006

Martin Wágner (born 1980) is currently a student at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava. Since 1997, he has been interested in Russia. He has photographed volcanologists on the Kuril Islands, the Trans-Siberian railway, an out-of-the-way bakery in Chlebozavod, salt wells and gold mining in Partizansk, oil wells in the Far East, and has had many other adventures. He has visited Siberian reindeer hunters during the hunting season and also when it was very cold. In so doing, he is trying to accomplish a visual essay about the social and aesthetic horizons over which the sun is rising rather than setting from a Central European perspective. He has photographed the whale hunters in Chukotka, including a shamanic ceremony, as if he were witnessing a hunt for mammoths. He took part in the Cross March Near Yekaterinburg and experienced the Christening of Russia. He saw the frozen Lake of Baikal, the hunting of ducks on the Angara River and travelled on an ocean-going cargo ship...

Wagner's travel experience tells us that it's easy to go to areas frequented by tourists. But it becomes more difficult if one wants to go somewhere else. Problems started in Western Siberia: where oil is being extracted and there are Lukoil guards. "When I was seventeen and started travelling to the east," Wagner remembers, "each journey was incredible because I was meeting new people, having new experiences and was getting to know myself. I divided my life by my journeys, not by years or schools. I was wandering around Europe a lot and one day, luck took me all the way to Japan; but it wasn't travel as we know it. Only in Russia, especially in Siberia and the Far East, I discovered the special relationship the locals have towards pilgrims. If I can look into the life of a new person, it makes a special day for me. I keep returning to Russia mainly for the people I meet and make friends with, in particular those who help me. I have experienced friendliness on every trip even though I have little to offer in return."

Wagner has had exhibitions in Moscow, Nizny Novgorod and Sakhalin. At his opening in Yekaterinburg, Wagner was pleased that people appreciated his kind outlook on Russia. He has a classical take on the Russian countryside. Ales Kunes, one of Wagner's teachers, summed up his work as follows: "His pictures are typical for precise structure building with clear syntactical order easily comprehensible by the spectator. In his later work, we can often sense his inspiration from the Russian pre-revolutionary genre photography by authors such as Sergey Lobovik, Nikolai Petrov and others."

Wagner is obviously not interested in news coverage and neither does he try to depict all the characteristics of the vast one-sixth of the land he learned about as a schoolboy. He allows himself to be led by the intuition of a man who is curious about the lives of his contemporaries living in far away places. I was mainly interested to see whether he found the notional heart of Russia. There are two indications that he was lucky. First I noticed a poignantly formulated intimacy on the Internet: "He even found his wife on the Angara River". Wouldn't it be correct to give her a name? It sounds symptomatic: Svetlana. On top of that, the Siberian Old Believers accepted him. They split from the old Orthodox Christianity three hundred and forty four years ago because they disagreed with its liturgical innovations. The photographer says: "In the end the Old Believers parted with civilisation and went far north into Siberia. Today they still keep their religious and cultural traditions. Their villages are far from inhabited areas where there is no influence of political events or modern culture. In contrast with the people from Russian villages, who are without work and become alcoholics as a result of their hopeless situation, the Old Believers have never lost their ability to survive on the resources that nature offers. They remain independent of the outside world."
Josef Moucha, Host No 8/2011

One Man Exhibits
2001 Prague - "From Kaliningrad to Kamchatka", exhibition hall Mánes - 1st floor
2002 Prague - "Yakutsk, Sakhalin, Kuril Islands", Martin Wágner and Filip Singer, exhibition hall Mánes - 1st floor
2002 Sakhalin - "Sakhalin and Yakutsk Through the Eyes of Czech Photographers", Martin Wágner and Filip Singer, National Museum
2003 Vienna - Institut fur Slavistik. Von Kaliningrad bis Vladivostok
2003 Prague - "Russia on the Way", Franciscan Monastery Cloisters
2005 Prague - "Kuril Islands Forbidden and Unknown ", Igor Samarin and Martin Wágner, Saint Jan Nepomucky Chapel
2006 Prague - Prayer for Chernobyl, Antonín Kratochvíl, Martin Wágner and Václav Vašků, Franciscan Monastery Cloisters
2006 Bratislava - "I Lived in Chukotka" EVEREST FOTO, Račianske mýto
2006 Odlochovice - Chernobyl Area, POPENEC 2006 or FESTIVAL OF COUNTRY CULTURE
2007 Opava - East of Eden. Gothic Hall of Minority Monastery
2007 Odlochovice - Russian Village, POPENEC 2007
2007 Kyjov - East of Eden. Cultural Centre Kyjov
2007 Odlochovice - Sakhali Island and Kuril Islands, POPENEC 2008
2008 Košice - East of Eden. Czech Centre
2009 Ukraine - Czech Landscape, Dnetropetrov museum
2009 Horní Bečva - East of Eden. Far From the Bar Gallery
2009 Yekaterinburg - East of Eden. Matenkova Museum
2011 Ostrava - Siberia, Gallery Opera
2011 Kladno - Siberia, Small Gallery CS
2011 Hodonín - Siberia, Cinema Svět, Teahouse Cup of Silence
2011 Bratislava - Siberia, Centraleuropean House of Photography
2011 Chelyabinsk - East of Eden. Ethnological Museum
2011 Irkutsk - East of Eden. Exhibition Centre V.S. Rogalja

Group Exhibits
1999 Prague - "Series of Photographs from Moscow", Interkamera (1st prize student competition)
2001 Moscow - "Russia Through the Eyes of Czech Photographers", Jindřich Štreit,Dana Kyndrová,Martin Wágner, Czech Centre
2001 Nizhny Novgorod - "Russia Through the Eyes of Czech Photographers", Jindřich Štreit,Dana Kyndrová,Martin Wágner, Foto festival
2003 Prague - Czech Press Photo, Old Town Hall
2004 Prague - "Ukraine", Martin Wágner and Andrej Matasian, Černá růže
2005 Prague - "Ukraine - Journey to Freedom", Singer, Suvorov, Brykczynski, Wágner, Saint Jan Nepomucky Chapel
2005 Prague - "Kuril Islands forbidden and Unknown", Igor Samarin and Martin Wágner, Saint Jan Nepomucky Chapel
2005 Prague - "Ukraine", Martin Wágner and Petr Šilhánek, Světozor Cinema
2005 Prague - Czech Press Photo, Old Town Hall
2006 Prague - Exhibition of books authored by photographers. Langhans Gallery
2007 Prague - Vilém Heckel Peaks, Old Town Square
2007 Prague - Czech Press Photo, Old Town Hall
2008 Opava - Opava Through the Eyes of Students of ITF, Dům umění
2008 Prague - One Day in the Life of the Czech Republic. Manes
2008 Opava - To the Point (...), Art House
2008 Prague - Czech Press Photo, Old Town Square
2009 Prague - Vilém Heckel Peaks, Old Town Square
2009 Warsaw - Warsaw Festival of Art Photography
2009 Prague - Czech Press Photo, Old Town Hall
2010 Prague - Leica Gallery exhibition Frame
2010 Brno - Twenty Years of Institute of Creative Photography, Reduta Theatre
2010 Prague - Czech Press Photo, Old Town Hall
2011 Prague - Vilém Heckel Peaks, Old Town Hall
2011 Vilnius - Twenty Years of ITF, Prospekto Gallery
2011 Prague - Czech Press Photo, Old Town Hall

Awards and Grants
1999 - Interkamera, 1st prize in student competition
2003 - Grant Make a Connection for Russia in the Palm of a Hand project
2006 - Partnership of Prague for the Prayer for Chernobyl exhibition
2007 - Photo competition Vilém Heckel Peaks, 1st and 3rd prize in Man and Environment category
2008 - Czech Press Photo, 2nd prize Everyday Life.
2009 - Photo competition Vilém Heckel Peaks, 1st prize Landscape and 1st prize Environment
2009 - Czech Press Photo, 3rd prize Everyday Life
2010 - Frame - 2nd prize IN category
2010 - Czech Press Photo - 3rd prize General News
2011 - Photo competition Vilém Heckel Peaks, 3rd prize Landscape, 3rd prize Environment
2011 - Czech Press Photo, 2nd prize Everyday Life


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