The Storming the Winter Palace (10.09 — 02.10)

The Storming the Winter Palace


One of the first images opening “The Month of Photography in Minsk” is a photograph of the Winter
Palace storming. There are two reasons why we believe it to be important for the exhibition. First of
all, 1917 and subsequent events that had a significant effect on the entire post-Soviet space still lack
a thorough analysis. On the one hand, the October Revolution is called progressive and liberating.
On the other – a number of historians consider it to be a conservative reaction to modernization.
One way or another, in the events of 1917 one can see one of the points of entry into modernity.
And the fact that the October Revolution, or the October coup, is still a painful topic confirms the
importance of the event itself.

“The Storming of the Winter Palace” has become a symbol of the revolution, and the image also
presents a particular interest due to its “non-documentary” nature. The photograph did not present
the historical event, but its large-scale reconstruction. In 1920, on the anniversary of the October
Revolution in St. Petersburg, the director Nikolai Evreinov showed a production dedicated to the
storming of the Winter Palace with more than 8,000 actors taking part in it. It was not a literal
historical reconstruction of the event, but rather, its hypertrophied version. According to Nikolai
Evreinov, the storming of the Winter Palace was shown “more as a heroic drama”.
However, a retouched shot of this performance had to play the role of documentary evidence. But
why, among numerous reconstructions and cinematic interpretations of the October Revolution, did
this very photograph become a historical document?

Perhaps, the reason lies in the act of social choreography, which reflects our stereotypical ideas
about the revolution. We see a triangle of protesters running towards the Winter Palace. This shot
repeats El Lissitzky’s formal composition “Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge,” where the red
triangle invades the white space. The choreography of the event in the pseudo-document “The
Storming the Winter Palace” illustrates our ideas and lives up to our expectations, thereby
contributing to the “reality effect”.


10.09 — 02.10
“Ў” Gallery
12:00 – 21:00, daily

“Ў” Gallery, 19:00