Image above: © Didier Vanderperre, Emin Minaret and Mosque, Xinjiang, China, 2014 / Courtesy of Didier Vanderperre
Large-format color photographs by two master photographers, Lynn Gilbert and Didier Vanderperre, of the ancient and modern realities of the Silk Roads are currently on view at Queens College's Godwin-Ternbach Museum until December 15th, 2015. These roads linked the civilizations and cultures of China, Central Asia, West Asia, and Europe for much of pre-modern history—as early as 100 BC—and are long famous as the route of Marco Polo. As a precursor to today’s global world and economy, the cultural and political significance of these ancient routes cannot be overstated.
Image above: © Lynn Gilbert, Grandeur, Bhukara Uzbekistan, 2014/ Courtesy of Lynn Gilbert
Exhibited at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum for the first time are Lynn Gilbert’s photographs of Uzbekistan. Her photographs of Turkey have previously been exhibited at the Roosevelt Library in San Antonio and throughout cities in Turkey. Gilbert’s serene, intimate images of people and domestic interiors are in striking contrast to Didier Vanderperre’s visually dynamic “street photography” of the bustling, sometimes volatile region of Xinjiang, a terminus of the Silk Road. Its borders on Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Tibet account for the region’s exceptional diversity, making it an important crossroads throughout history.
Image above: © Lynn Gilbert, Turquoise Domes, Bukhara, Uzbekistan, 2008 / Courtesy of Lynn Gilbert
“Lynn Gilbert’s passion for Central Asia has resulted in a series of contemplative images of interiors and portraits of people engaged in their traditional way of life,” says Amy Winter, museum director and curator of this exhibition. “Unlike the voyeurism of tourist photography or the romanticism of travel photography, her thoughtful work offers us ‘cultural anthropology as art,’ as stated by noted photo editor Marie Simon.
Image above: © Didier Vanderperre, Kashgar cattle market, Xinjiang, China, 2014 / Courtesy of Didier Vanderperre
“In Didier Vanderperre’s series on Xinjiang, pictures of people active in their daily lives display the photographer’s talent for direct, spontaneous imagery that captures the decisive moment in the manner of his countryman Cartier-Bresson,” she continues. “Totally without guise and charged with energy by his frequent 35-mm view, Vanderperre’s work lives up to Robert Capa’s belief that your pictures are good enough only if you’re close enough.”
Image above: © Didier Vanderperre, Hetian jade merchants, Xinjiang, China, 2014 / Courtesy of Didier Vanderperre
As a special addition to the photographs on view are ikat robes and textiles from the collection of George Anavian, a highly respected authority on Eastern arts. A complex and beautiful method of printing woven fabric by tie-dyeing the warp and weft yarns before weaving, ikat is widely practiced in Central Asia, and Uzbekistan in particular. In addition, selections from the Godwin-Ternbach’s permanent collection, representing the Silk Roads’ civilizations and cultures, will be on view in the museum’s Lobby Gallery.
Image above: © Lynn Gilbert, Surprise, Urgut, Uzbekistan, 2014 / Courtesy of Lynn Gilbert
Lynn Gilbert, a widely published photographer living in New York City, has traveled to more than sixty countries during the past six decades. Her book, The Silk Road: Then and Now (2015), is the result of her travels throughout Turkey, where she documented for the first time the traditional houses of Turkey, a significant part of that country’s cultural heritage. Photographs for Along the Silk Roads, from her recent travel to Uzbekistan, again record the people and their traditional ways of life that have persisted into the 21st century. Gilbert’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in Turkey and is currently on view in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. She is represented in New York by Throckmorton Fine Art.
Image above: © Didier Vanderperre,Turpan Bazaar, Xinjiang, Xinjiang, China, 2014 / Courtesy of Didier Vanderperre
A native of France who has lived and worked in New York since 1986, Didier Vanderperre has been photographing for over 30 years, and is a member of the community of Getty photographers. His desire to photograph places off the beaten track has taken him to remote and less-traveled areas of Indo-China and East Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Xinjiang, and, most recently, Myanmar. His practice parallels the work of the “street photographers”—Bruce Gilden and Elliot Erwitt among those he admires. Closer to home, he is currently at work on a series on Coney Island.
Image above: © Lynn Gilbert, A Vista, Camlihemsin, Turkey, 2014 / Courtesy of Lynn Gilbert
Collector George Anavian apprenticed with his father, Rahim Anavian, the late innovative dealer of Eastern arts. The Anavian family has been involved in the sale, appraisal, and conservation of antiquities for over 90 years, providing artworks and acting as consultants for museums and collections around the world. For over 15 years, George Anavian has taught a course on oriental rugs at New York University.