At the weekend before the press time I took the family to the subtropics — Saint-Petersburg Botanical Garden, and I’m ready to repeat after Alvar Aalto: «The best Committee for Standardisation is the nature itself»: I’m amazed at how some leaves are «drawn»! For the Instagram, we took a couple of summer pictures in the greenhouse and returned to the March frost of Saint-Petersburg
Entering a greenhouse, I feel as if Ihave started a winter trip from our latitudes somewhere warm. Here you are on the plane, jamming your meaningless winter jacket into a bag — and a minute later you go down the airstairs, smelling the different, thick, fragrant, southern air around you- this is an odd change, and it is impossible to prepare for it.
And yet I don’t want to live in a warmer climate. I like winter, snow, frost, rivers you can walk on (out of this seasonal line I don’t like only icicles after the December events). But the main thing I enjoy is commotion, and this is not only about the distinct change of seasons, which happens without my participation, but also the things which I can influence on. Surely, I love summer as well as the rest of the intermediate times of the year, but the beauty of each of them can be felt only in comparison with another one.
Instagram, Facebook, and Foursquare have lately let you be more or less informed about events taking place in the lives of friends, acquaintances, and even strangers at all. More and more often I pay attention that people somehow are migrating to warmer countries, and not on holiday, but more seriously — if not forever, then for a long enough time. I don’t know whether to link it with politics, economics or some general workflow fatigue or not. I remember making the publication about Stefan Sagmeister for the previous issue. He said that every seven years he has a break and goes somewhere faraway for a year. Stefan is a seasoned warrior, and it’s worth listening to his opinion. As for me, however, stars should be aligned in a very special way so that the work could call me for a long break. How come I can leave what I got up to for such a long time?! Moreover, every time I start getting bored within running and functioning projects, life throws up such a new venture, that gives a shake not worse than any six-month trip.
I am willing to understand the people’s desire to give it all up and leave for an island with palm trees just as a way to provide the diversity and changes in life. Downshifting gives, in my opinion, about the same effect as upshifting, which has been dearer to my heart so far. It’s surprising how opposite actions lead to the same result — the brain gets cleansed, energy is released, you’re green and eager to work hard! So far, I’ve filled my life with new projects and stir staying in a habitual climate zone. This probably indicates I’m still not that tired, or I just have too much free time. Meanwhile, travelling and changing places is, of course, great. But for not very long. Every time I depart somewhere, I feel my heart strives home, to its upshifting: how are they doing there without me?
Projector № 1(22) 2013
The cover of the twenty-second issue of the magazine has a new logo - ART1. Visual daily. This is our new project - an online magazine www.art1.ru, compared with the launch of which all other editorial news have somehow got overshadowed.
The new website, dedicated to visual arts, architecture, design and other related disciplines, was ceremonially launched on 1 March. The column «Was / Will be» tells about this event. And on next spread I’m introducing my colleagues — a real dream team.
The historical character of this issue is Finn Juhl (still a Dane, despite his name). Our expert Pavel Ulyanov speaks about his life and work: «Finn Juhl was an amazing self-taught, equidistant from both the mature traditions of Danish furniture production and the latest school design formed by Kaare Klint and his followers. But if Klint was strictly adhered to the modernist dogma of functionality and adaptability, Juhl went through intuitive aesthetic formation, revealing another side of Danish design».
Project №1 «Personification» is going on with a great interview given to Projector by the wonderful graphic designer and poster artist Dmitry Makonnen: «I would not stop making posters. Perhaps, I find more time to sleep I have dreamt of for many years. I want to finish the object exhibition and see how it is wanted. And if it turns out not to be, I’ll then forget about art. I still want to publish a lot. When I was a singer in different groups, I wrote numerius songs and experimented a lot. I even think that I became well-versed on poetry. I’d like to publish poetry — both new poets and old masters».
Project №3 «Lettering» starts with the interview with the French magician Thomas Bernhard, the person, who does something miraculous with letters. «I allow myself to think as much time as I need to invent something experimental. On the other hand, I have to be very efficient at applied design job, so as not to lose even a second of precious time. For example, saving a file on your computer may take a few minutes! Some lose these minutes surfing blogs, websites, Facebook. I prefer to spend these them on my another project. If I calculate these moments at the end of the week at the agency, it comes out they allow me to push almost two working weeks into one, without any rush job at night.
And again about letters: there comes a new work by Yuri Gordon — the Map of Moscow, every corner of which corresponds to a certain literary quotation. The map has been released in English (the publisher is the American magazine Russia!). As Projector has found out, the literary fragments were selected by an American editor, but some texts (eg, Mandelstam and Brodsky) were suggested by Gordon, who, therefore, acts not only as a designer, but also as a co-editor of the literary part.
The Project №4 «Subject» continues the series of Color music: «The co-project with Artlight in all respects fits my favorite concept of redesigning the things with a rich life experience. Each item we come across is unique and has its own personality. Old musical instruments, not suitable for sound extraction, become interior design objects and take on a new function, while their original shape is maximally preserved».
Next there’s coming the story of the Finnish desk Alku — the item seems quite innocent at first sight only: «The Alku desk is also distinguished by charisma of its architectural structure, in which the technical design elements are the key factors forming the subject aesthetics».
Project №5 «Environment» opens with a historical publication about the outstanding engineer and inventor Vladimir Shukhov: «Shukhov’s name is connected to all the major construction works of the first five-year plan: Kuznetskstroi, Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, the first cross-country pipelines. In 1927-1929 Shukhov participated in the implementation of the electrification plan. The same time he got over next height restrictions, this time for the power lines. According to his project, there were three pairs of hyperboloid towers over the Oka River in Dzerzhinsk district in the region of Nizhny Novgorod».
Next, Projector’s attention is grabbed by such a significant change in environmental navigation as adopting the new scheme of the Moscow subway. «A miracle happened: the state structure has involved designers into a serious design development! A responsible contest was held, and most worthy works reached the final. The popular election selected the winner among the three finalists. And soon the scheme, developed in Lebedev Studio, will appear in all cars and at all subway stations of Moscow». Projector interviewed all the finalists — the Lebedev Studio, Ilya Birman and Ilya Ruderman. Read in the issue, what we got.
Project№7 «Photography» shows the works by Vadim Stein. Vadim spoke about how it all started, and what’s going on in his work today: «The story began long ago with the fact that, when I was still at the Restoration School, I took up classes of amateur pantomime. After that, the group developed into a professional theater, where I worked for seven years — the Plastic Drama Theater. By the way, this is also where I learned to manage the light. I mean, I started doing this it in the theater, not in the studio. And now my wife is a dancer. My latest approach to photography is four years long, and she was my only model for a couple of them».
The Stachka gallery under the supervision of Yuri Molodkovets has introduced another exhibition. This time it’s Venice and Saint-Petersburg in the works by Marina Snigirevskaya and Piotr Lebedev.
In the project №8 «School» I am happy to show a remarkable work by the students of the winter intensive class of the «Briton»: «Every final review of the works I choose the best one. In my subjective opinion, Jana Popovic has won with a slight advantage over her colleagues. In a very quick-witted manner she simulated the design method used by the authors of the vernacular lettering by having taken two modules — the round one of the bottom of a paper cup and the rectangular — on the tape width».
Next, the researcher and chronicler of Soviet design school Sergey Helmyanov talks about the Construction bureau of Rostislav Alexeyev: «In 1950 in the town of Gorky a special design bureau for ships on hydrofoils was organized. The revolution in the perception of what a ship is as a means of moving, took place, as usual, at the «storm front» between the demands of society and the brutal, inertial system of the state. SEC was not a boat in the traditional view. It was almost a plane in many ways. That’s why the newly created Bureau involved not only the graduates from shipbuilding faculties, but also aviation ones».
The project №9 «Book» begins, as usual, with the publication by our expert Mikhail Karasik. Mikhail continues the series on book history of the 1920-30s. Read about the «hedgehog-constructivist»: «In contrast to such important illustrated magazines of the second half of 1920-1930s as Soviet photo, The USSR in Construction, At the construction site of machine-tractor stations and state farms, Our achievements, 30 days, which are experiencing rebirth today due to reprints and constant references in the literature, there’s no need to open «Hedgehog» again. The selection of thin notebooks has become a kind of encyclopedia of children’s literature and illustration»».
Next, there’s the story about a remarkable issue, dedicated to the works by Paul Shillingovsky published by the Moscow gallery owner and educator Ildar Galeev. The co-author of the book, Andrey Kharshak, puts it under a microscope, draws historical parallels between the current issue and the one of 1926 and speaks of Shillingovsky: «There was the portrait of L.D.Trotsky placed on the forty-fifth page of the Kazan edition, which the author was awarded twith the prize for at the II All-Russian competition. But the fate of Trotsky was reflected in his images. I’ve handled five of the five hundred copies of the book, including the first and second ones, and in each of them the page with the portrait, had been neatly cut out».
Starting with this issue, both the special projects — «ProArt» and «ProFashion» will be issued under the heading ART1. Visual daily. In fact, the column devoted to the visual arts will have a selection of the best publications of the online version — those which I believe must be preserved black and white for the eternity.
The issue has four publications of such kind. Alexander Florensky talks about how he illustrated the book by Boris Grebenshchikov Ivan and Danilo: «We gathered a large company in Malaya Konyushennaya street at Borya’s, started drinking, reading and drawing. I drew a lot of pictures, but then got tired, and the process followed past practices: everybody got happily drunk, red wine was spilt onto some images, Borya finished reading, and I (that’s the moment I remember very clearly for some reason!) began to try to play Borya’s new twelve-string guitar and sing a ditty «How at the station Lanskaya I was given a blody nose with a plank».
Pavel Gerasimenko tells about the works by Evgeny Mihnov-Voitenko: «In the mid-1950s he makes a conscious choice in favor of the abstract visual language. It’s interesting how in conditions of Soviet reality Mikhnov and other young artists learned about the most modern and advanced art of those days, whose popularity in Europe had begun with the paintings by Pollock at the Venice Biennale in 1950. Mihnov had started creating absolutely independent works even before the audience saw abstract paintings at the American exhibition of 1959 in Sokolniki».
Next, there’s the publication by Andrey Fomenko about the exhibition of Vitaly Pushnitsky at the New Museum: «One colleague of Pushnitsky in a private conversation called his works «the new spirituality of Saint-Petersburg» — the definition seems extremely accurate, as it is known that it stands in tandem with the «masterpiece». A «masterpiece» is the main theme of Pushnitsky. To his credit: Pushnitskii isn’t not trying to convince us that he has found the direct access to the reasonable, the good, the eternal. On the contrary, his works are imbued with doubt, uncertainty and anxiety, which rub off on a viewer».
And now here’s the double interview given by the artist Vladimir Kustov and the head of the newest trends Alexander Borovsky about the exhibition Approaching the past, which has opened in the Marble Palace. Alexander Borovsky: «The artist, who had been devoted to Necrorealism all his life, bore the stigmata of it, approached the subject which in previous years people simply did a career with. I very well remember all these exhibitions related to the Victory Day, there were sometimes very opportunistic things. No, there also were beautiful works by Moiseenko, Korzhev, Melnikov, but in general the military theme was too compromised by the officialdom. And Kustov did well». Vladimir Kustov: «For today’s young people the war is a more general term, involving ones which do not exist — computer wars, star wars. I still belong to those people who associate the word «war» with the Second World War only. In this project I tried to convey the feeling I got travelling to the Sinyavino Heights, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers perished. For our generation, this place has always been associated with something like a zone».
The special project «ProFashion» is this time dedicated to an interseasonal event. «Between the autumn and spring fashion weeks not only is AFWR preparing for the upcoming big event, but also pleasing fashionistas with more intimate, but not less interesting ideas. February is no exception — the well-known journalist and fashion critic Diane Pernet has visited Saint-Petersburg. She brought a festival of shories about fashion ASVOFF (A Shaded View on Fashion Film)». We took a short interview of hers.