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Benita Suchodrev
Benita Suchodrev
Benita Suchodrev

Benita Suchodrev

Country: United States
Birth: 1975

Benita Suchodrev was born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States where she received her Bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on Art History from SUNY Purchase, New York, continuing to a Master of Arts in English Literature, graduating with high honors. It was in the university darkroom where Benita developed and produced her first black and white prints.

In 2008 Benita relocated to Berlin where she began an extensive documentation of the cosmopolitan city's multifaceted art scene while working on diverse photographic projects. Later she studied at the Neue Schule für Fotografie in the class of Eva Bertram. Her portrait and documentary work has been exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally and is part of the Rafael Tous Foundation for Contemporary Art in Barcelona, the Michael Horbach Stiftung in Cologne as well as private collections in Moscow, Berlin and New York.

She has published Of Lions and Lambs (2019) and 48 Hours Blackpool (2018) with KEHRER Verlag. Her photographs have appeared in NACHTLEBEN BERLIN 1974 – BIS HEUTE (Metrolit Verlag, 2013), BERLIN NOW (teNeues Verlag, 2009) and have been covered by various media including ARTE, THE GUARDIAN, ZEIT ONLINE, ARD, RBB24 Kulturradio, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Berliner Zeitung, STERN.DE, AMICA Italy, ART, MARE Magazine, Neues Deutschland, Die Tageszeitung, Tagesspiegel, MIND China, The Moscow Times, Искусство – The Art Magazine Russia, among others.

Benita currently lives and works in Berlin.

Artist Statement

"I am attracted to the poetic and the bizarre, the bold and the vulnerable. But of all things I am interested in the transitional moment between states, between blinks; that elusive split of a second between what was, what is to come, and the traces it leaves behind. The drama and ambiguity of human expression and gesture during this transitional moment is what fascinates me the most."
 

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Trevor Cole
Zaharia Cusnir
Moldova
1912 | † 1993
Zaharia Cuşnir (1912-1993) was an amateur photographer born in Rosietici village, Floresti region, Moldova. He was photographing people within 1955-1973, and left a collection of negative films 6x6 cm, from which 3751 were discovered in his abandoned house in 2016. The photographs portray groups, landscapes, scenes from everyday life: work in the kolkhoz, weddings, funerals, national celebrations. Life Zaharia Cuşnir was born as the last child in the family of 16 children in Rosietici village, Soroca district. His father was a Moldovan businessman (born 1870), and his mother was of German origins (born in approx. 1870). Zaharia was born in Bessarabia, at that time part of the Russian Empire, educated in Romania (Iasi city), and after WW-II, became a USSR citizen. He went to school to the neighbouring Rogojeni village and later attended the pedagogical lyceum in Iasi, Romania. He began teaching in Rogojeni, then though he worked in kolhoz, performing works as carrying stones, digging the frozen ground, carrying loam, destroying fences, herding cows. Villagers also remember him as a blacksmith. He also built a family of 4 children with his wife, Daria. Zaharia learned photography from his nephew, who returned from the army. The nephew was living in another village, so they decided to split the territory for the photographic activities. So, Zaharia stayed responsible for the surrounding villages: Caşunca, Rogojeni, Țâra, Ghindeşti, Roşietici, and Cenuşa. The first pictures were taken in 1955. Zaharia was photographing mainly portraits of neighbours and then he was selling the photos. He had a bicycle, which he was usually lending to people for a photograph, as well he had a black blanket, which he was using as a background when he was taking portraits. Up to 1973, he had taken around 4000 pictures of the medium format 6x6 cm. In 1993, after he died, the house was abandoned and the pictures were stocked in a suitcase and placed in the attic. Discovery In spring 2016, Victor Galuşca, being a student at the Academy of Arts in Chisinau, Moldova, arrived in Rosietici village to film his documentary film for the bachelor's degree exam. He entered the abandoned house and found several negative films scattered through the trash all around the floor. Victor inquired from the villagers whose house was it and found the daughter of Zaharia Cusnir, living in the neighbourhood. With her permission, within several days, he picked all of them, and together with his photography professor, Nicolae Pojoga started the cleaning and indexing process of the archive. Among all, there were found old documents, among which was an edited request for admission to the school, adjusted to a stilted language used at the time. There was also found a table of exercises written in Russian Cyrillic script, as well as elementary calculus tests designed for primary school. Other documents and archival remnants reveal a struggle between life and death for the majority of the population; these include bread allowances and checks listing debts. Further Development The archive has a high resonance and was appreciated within several exhibitions: at the Museum of Art of Moldova (curated by Cervinscaia Nadejda) and the Romanian Peasant Museum in Romania in 2018, and at the Ethnographic Museum of Transilvania, the Subway Gallery of the House of Arts in Timisoara, Romania and at the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore MARAMUREş from Baia Mare, Romania in 2019. In 2017 a Moldovan Publishing house Cartier published a photo album "Lumea lui Zaharia" ("Zaharia's World"). At the beginning of 2020, was launched the website and facebook page, aiming to give open access to the usage of the Zaharia Cusnir archive. The team is working on few coming exhibitions in Europe in 2020.
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