Dmitry Konradt was born in St Petersburg in 1954. He graduated from Leningrad Geological Institute in 1976 and, without a formal art education, started photographing the underground artists and rock musicians of Leningrad, in collaboration with the St Petersburg avant-garde theatres Derevo and AKHE.
From 1986 he started working in colour, focusing on abstract forms in the city landscape. Unlike ‘official’ photographers of the time, who adhered to the revolutionary formalistic standard in place since the late 1920s, Konradt unveiled a very different St Petersburg. Through his lens, the city suddenly acquired colour. These were not the brash, vivid colours of pop art, but subdued and opaque, much like the cinematography of Andrei Tarkovsky and Alexander Sokurov that Konradt so admired. Konradt’s preferred technique is to magnify reality. He roams the city’s backyards in search of a hardly visible crack in a wall, and then magnifies it with his camera so that others can admire it too. He relishes minute details: the texture of an old wall, peeling layers of paint. His St Petersburg is modest and unobtrusive, drawing out the quiet beauty behind the facades of imperial grandeur.
St Petersburg art historian Gleb Yershov describes his talent as ‘gently embracing and ghostly; it inhales that colour and paint which defines both the mystical and earthly palette of our city’. Russian painter and writer Vladimir Shinkarev appreciates that Konradt’s images are grounded in reality: ‘There’s as much everyday as the mystical in them, as much coldness as there is warmth. These photographs are truthful and beautiful. They remind me of the world I knew when I was child – the real world, but not angry or dark.’
His works have been shown by and are included in the collection of major Russian museums and galleries including The State Russian Museum (St Petersburg), Nabokov Museum (St Petersburg), Moscow House of Photography, The Museum of The City Foundation (St Petersburg), The Free Culture Fund collection (St Petersburg) and the Huis Marseiille Museum of Photography (Amsterdam).
Visible Métamorphose, Galerie La Ruine, Geneva, Switzerland
Abstraction/Constructivism: British and Russian Responses to the City (with Richard Pare), London City Hall, London, UK
The Other St Petersburg, White Space Gallery
Leningrad Rock of the 80s, PICR UP Gallery, Helsinki, Finland
Justifying the Colour, Norilsk Art Gallery, Norilsk, Russia
The Other St Petersburg, Tallinn City Hall, Tallinn, Estonia
The Close-up View, St Petersburg Central Art Gallery Manezh, St Petersburg, Russia
The Other Shores: Paris, St Petersburg (with Marc Le Mene), Peter and Paul Fortress Gallery, St Petersburg, Russia
The Harmony of the Small Things, History of Photography Museum, St Petersburg, Russia
The Other St Petersburg (with J.J. Kissling), Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland; Chambre de Commerce, Strasburg, France
Three photographers (with A. Kitaev and A. Chezhin), Maison Visinand, Montreux, Switzerland
The Work of Time, Selskaya Zhizn Gallery, St Petersburg, Russia
The Other St Petersburg, Maison des Sciences de L’homme, Paris, France
Wells & Walls, Moscow House of Photography
Une Ville, Deux Photographers
(with J.J. Kissling), Bibliotheque de la Cite, Geneva, Switzerland
Chasing the Colour, Museum of Kuindzhy, St Petersburg, Russia. Sponsored by Pro Arte and the Ford Fund (photography and video)
The Muteness of Colour, State Centre of Contemporary Art, St Petersburg, Russia
Konradt’s Pics, Gallery Pushkinskaya-10, St Petersburg, Russia