The song of Tvarcheli
Photographs by Maria Gruzdeva
Story edited by Davide Barbera
Looking Tvarcheli as a visitor, this small town looks like a cathedral in the desert: abandoned buildings, an empty station and a small community that has known better times
This small town of Abkhazia was the flagship of the Soviet Union during the Great War, thanks to the coal reserves that supplied the entire Black Sea fleet. The depletion of deposits in the '70s, the gradual depopulation and the painful experience of the Georgian siege, tempered indelibly the pride of those who continue to inhabit it.
No wonder Maria Gruzdeva's project won the first edition of the Gabriele Basilico International Architecture and Landscape Award. In her images, the line of continuity with the works of the Lombard master is evident. However, can be also found a great influences from the Russian photographey.
Maria chooses not to focus her target only on city architecture and documents of a glorious past, expressed through the timely use of archival material, but recurs to the numerous portraits of the inhabitants. she does not limit herself to pursuing history through its traces, but rather lives it and crosses it from within. There are many references: from August Sander to Walker Evans, up to some productions by Joel Sternfeld, or even more recent ones from his student Alec Soth.
Maria Gruzdeva - www.mariagruzdeva.com