The Zhili Byli (Once Upon a Time) series brings together portraits and pictures of living situations in the Russian town of Archangelsk. Eight months of the year, this town in north west Russia is subject to icy temperatures that fall to as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius. These climatic conditions lead to a marked contrast between indoors and outdoors. In pre-fab homes and old wooden houses, the inhabitants create the spaces in which they will spend the largest part of the year. Protected from the outside world that often appears deserted, the homes are welcoming and cosy dens.
Lützen's atmospheric series focusses a lot of attention on these interior spaces and their inhabitants. “At first and from our Western perspective, a town made up of pre-fab structures and wooden houses and stuck in the middle of the snow and ice, can appear rather bleak. But this is not the case, because inside the homes people organize themselves, move and behave towards each other in a different way. The cold brings them together. The individual space that has become a fundamental aspect of our society doesn't exist there. Helping each other is also more in evidence.”
Further information at: Robert Morat Galerie and André Lützen