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Ilja Fišeris

The March
The Photographs by Ilja Fišeris from 1946-1953

"We have to show, by means of photography, the victorious march towards socialism" - this Soviet ideological agenda was pursued painstakingly during the Stalinist epoch, when Ilja Fišeris (1927-1983), in 1946, commenced his career as a photojournalist for the press of the young Soviet republic. Every year on May 1 and November 7, the photographer took off to the streets of Vilnius to shoot photographic reports of the demonstrations. He did not create a consistent chronicle of events, but captured the climactic moments sufficient to render the totality of norms governing the mentality and behaviour in a totalitarian state. Soviet photography was loyal to the "single correct" method of Socialist Realism; underpinned also by the party principles requiring an optimistic and militant picture of life, it was a true herald of ideological truth. The photographer creates a testament to the discipline instilled by the totalitarian system, while the participants are involved into the Soviet ideological game, rendering the boundary between reality and performance impossible to trace.

 

Curator of the exhibition Margarita Matulytė

Exhibition designer: Aleksandras Kavaliauskas

Designer: Tomas Mrazauskas

Digitizing: Irena Aleksienė

Sponsors: The Culture Support Foundation, Exterus

The archive of Fišeris' negatives of the demonstrations is safe-kept on deposit at the Lithuanian Art Museum

The National Gallery of Art expresses gratitude to Ilja Fišeris' family for their kind permission to publish his photography archive