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Leonid Tishkov & Boris Bendikov | ColorMute

Leonid Tishkov & Boris Bendikov

The sky is near. /Open the attic and you’ll see/ there next to the wasp nest/ rings the blinding light/of the lost moon.

Man has been fascinated by the moon for centuries; devoting Gods, goodnight prayers, and offerings to our celestial neighbor generation after generation.  Worried that our forgotten calender bearer had lost her due, Russian photographer, Leonid Tishkov, created a photographic poem telling the tale of a moon, who neglected, grew sick and came to Earth where a man fell in love with her and together they helped each other.

Having wrapped the Moon / with warm blankets / he treated her with autumn apples, / gave her a cup of tea.

Like a lunar unicorn/ Under the covers she/ shines even brighter

The story is beautiful, a modern myth recementing the connection between man and our “Gods”.  Both tied to each other, forever orbiting and watching one another.  Inspired by Rene Magritte’s painting of the moon in a tree, Tishkov teamed up with another Russian artist, photographer Boris Bendikov, to bring his story to life.  Their approach to “Private Moon” was simple, implementing a crescent moon shaped light box, the duo lent the moon a tangible fragility where it seems at once vulnerable and lost here amongst the world of men.

After everyone has gone to bed/ go to the window and there/ the crescent moon has appeared to you

The Moscow Moon/ in a starless sky/ has sat down on the edge of a roof

Each photo stands alone as it’s own story, emotional and isolated.  A man and his moon, seeming like outcasted lovers, as separated from their surroundings as the moon is from our Earth every evening.  Yet the loosely woven story line carries us through their affair as he weans the moon back to health and then undertakes a journey to bring it home back to the heavens.

I cross the dark river/ to the high bank/ where the lunar evergreens grow

I grope about in the dark/ carrying the heavenly light on my back/ in a swarm of sparkling bees

A bundle of light is the moon/ on a sleigh. The sky/ worries, when will he return?/ Where have they taken him?

To the high bank / overgrown with moon pine-trees.

The journey is stunning, a man tied to the moon braving the elements to return his love to where she belongs, far from him.  It is a true labor of love, utterly selfless, ending at the starting point of the whole project, an image of the moon at home amongst a grove of trees.  The images have a dream like aura about them, seeming like a childrens book but for adults. I think the work is wonderful, an epic poem told through images which seep with emotion and loss.  Though not a part of the running story line, Tishkov and Bendikov have a final photo, the burial of the moon, which reminds us of the circular nature of life and love.  The series is gorgeous, both in it’s portrayal of a sleeping Russia to it’s focus on mankind, our world, and the good that can be found in all of us.

The funeral of the moon – every morning/ Come nightfall you discover the body of the newborn moon/ and help return it to the sky/ leaving a mere trace in the snow/ a thawing light impression

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