Turgenev’s Girls

Turgenev’s Girls

24 Wednesday
From Wed, 24/02/2016 to Thu, 14/04/2016
Inauguration with the artist on February 24, 2016 at 6 pmVisit and lecture by Philippe Herbet – more details to come.


Exhibition with Philippe Herbet's work and documents from the Slavic collections of the Diderot Library.

"Turgenev’s Girls" combines a photographic project by Philippe Herbet and documents from the Slavic collections of the Diderot Library in Lyon.

Philippe Herbet:

"Russian writer Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev created in his novels and novellas young female characters we could easily describe as “romantic”. These heroines are introverted, very sensitive; they have grown up away from the city, or at least away from high society. (…)
Russia’s first “emancipated” women at the end of the 19th century began imitating these fictional heroines. They fell out of fashion with the 1917 Revolution (…) but throughout World War II, they came back in style and the character of “Turgenev Girl” became a sort of ideal.
But as time went by, these women’s personalities diverged from those of Turgenev’s novels and novellas, to become emancipated and true heroines, characters tied to the past, or even old-fashioned, with a dimension that was at times derogatory, at times asserting an identity. (…)
I went to discover them in Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Minsk and the heart of the Russian countryside, in the lands of Turgenev, Tolstoi, Ivan Bunin and Bakunin. And I photographed them at their homes, on the streets, and I associated their portraits with some symbols of their daily lives, such as milk, apples, trees, icons… I had in mind an iconography tied to the Italian Renaissance and the Dutch Golden Age that inspired all of my shots.
Turgenev’s Girls are a product of their times and yet timeless, inside this world and out of this world."