n mid-August, the news came from Moscow — the magazine ArtChronika — the flagship of the Russian print media about the current visual arts, was closed. A few months before the magazine Big City had been abolished. Each piece of news of such kind makes me sad. The «turf» of quality issues about our visual arts is becoming increasingly deserted. I am very often asked if there is any future for print media, and whether it’s high time we liquidated the «paper» and stayed only on the Internet? This costs less and the audience is wider, and you don’t have to be bothered with the questions of logistics. Printing agencies worry what will happen to the multipage issues in the near future, say, a ten-year term.
I’ve got a couple of reasons on this. The first (and quite rightly) argument of those who believe that the paper will die out and there will be one continuous web, is that in matters of providing relevant information the paper hopelessly loses to the online media. Even weeklies don’t not keep up with updating news feeds. It is no coincidence that the biggest news publications, still having a paper version, are increasingly shifting to the Web. Politics, economy, social sphere, sport — everything goes to the Web. «Paper» can not cope with the cases where immediate response to events is needed. And there’s becoming more and more of those who can perceive information only from the screen rather than paper. But this all is about extremely fast media — those who are required to respond to events immediately. However, there are unhasting areas featuring contemplation and tranquility. Paper periodicals of such kind, of course, are not going to pass away. On this subject, I have recently spoken to my London friends. And London, delicate for the Russian abundant whim, is a long-standing role model. So, the paper periodicals in the field of creative industries feels great there — dozens of thick magazines on fashion, design, architecture, the visual arts are published. These are not fanzines but mature multipage issues, having no shortage of advertisers. And that’s fine, they feel perfect as a first-class publishing product and as a business. Moreover, they haven’t heard of any crisis among paper periodicals.
Well, that’s in London. And how about us? Coming back to the first paragraph — good magazines are being closed. That’s a drag. But they are the fallen centuries-old trees that fertilize the soil to make the sprouts of new, unhurried and juicy visual periodicals grow. In the end, there are two basic approaches among the «slow» media — to work on the magazine to make money, or to earn money to make a magazine. Unfortunately, many publishers from the outset can not make up their mind about their own approach. Hence, due to unrealized expectations, media projects close down. If the project does not provide at least one position- fame and status, or pleasure and money, of course, dash it all! But such examples are still a rarity. Typically, at least one of the constituents is present. However, if you want to earn as a publisher on the media, and they give you anything other than money, then there is an incorrectly chosen strategy (or the sphere of the issue’s activity). In general, it is necessary to confess to yourself honestly, why you want to dive into publishing, so that there will occur no surprises later.
Projector, for example, has never been conceived as a business. And it has been well for six years and 24 issues in total harmony with itrself, the founder, publisher and senior editor. That’s what I wish all of you.
Projector № 3(24) 2013
First, our friend photographer Dima Goryachev came to the editirial and gave us a beautiful old meat grinder. It was a long time ago. Then, one day before the press time, when all the publications were ready, I could not come up with the cover. Suddenly I spotted the chopper! That was definitely the right object. And yet something did not work, until I decided to jam all the headlines along with announcements of the publications into this meat grinder. After all, what is the magazine in fact? It’s a mincer. We process design information into informative «minced meat».
The protagonist of the historical perspective is Joe Colombo, the famous Italian designer, the futurist of the 1950-60s. He died too early and did not have time to embody all of his radical designs. But everything he managed to do was abundantly enough to have taken his place in the history of design.
Next character of the issue, Dima Kavko, belongs to the group of designers who expand the boundaries of the profession. It’s now getting more and more difficult to describe the scope of his professional activity cleraly. The range of his interests involve graphics, artistic actionism and video. In the large interview with him we’re trying to understand why Dima Kavko has started feeling tight within graphic design. Also, this summer Dima was the guest of the program Poster Stars, which we organized in New Holland.
19 June the New Museum opened the exhibition of the international poster campaign Mayakovsky-120. Sergey Serov, the curator of the event, gave off a call among in the professional community. 28 designers from Russia and all over the world responded with posters dedicated to Vladimir Mayakovsky. Projector has published all the works participating in the action. «In the general cultural, non-design discourse Vladimir Mayakovsky is considered a poet. At the same time, from our graphic design point of view, the situation is a bit different — the development of graphic design of all the XX century owes to Mayakovsky considerably more than the poetry».
Project № 4 «Object» opens with the story by Vladimir Pirozhkov about Russian design and how he engineered the Sochi Olympic torch: «Russian design is simple, functional, resourceful and cheap. Kalashnikov, tank T-34. It’s simple, reliable, functional, maintainable, ugly. Thick, robust, heavy, will work until you die. The car Niva, the spaceship Soyuz. What are we conveying? The triangular pyramid packet of milk. A bottle of kefir — a very cool story — the top which flexes under your finger, and then you return the bottles — an awesome system! Ring-shaped cracknels — that’s fantastic! The bread which is transported over long distances and soaks in your stomach. You can gather a lot of stuff, and this all is the part of the Soviet and Russian design. It has the understanding of simplicity, functionality and a popular print».
To continue the topic of objects, the new luminous sculpture of the project Color music we are running together with my friends from the company Artlight is coming: the chandelier-drum and the floor lamp of unknown typologies, reminiscent not of the drum but the revolver cylinder, where you can see flutes and clarinets with white frosted light bulbs instead of the cartridges.
Pavel Ulyanov, the expert in the history of the design of the XX century, shares another object from his extensive collection. «The armchair shows an interesting mixture of art deco, constructivism and functionalism. Such combinations are rare, since all of these styles were radical enough and didn’t tend to synthesise, but Denmark, staying away from the latest trends of the 1920s, could generate such compilations».
Project № 5 «Environment» is opened by the interview with Winy Maas, the star architect, head of the Dutch bureau MVRDV: «I think the architect’s toolbox today is rather limited. Stone, glass, steel. That’s firstly. Secondly, we look at each other much closer than before. People from Thailand or Vladivostok know our architecture as well as the Dutch do. We don’t copy each other, we do influence. I love that we share with each other, that the architects have got common goals. People want to work with urban spaces and nature. We are similar».
Then there’s the story of the «White City» — Tel Aviv — the world’s largest center of preserved architecture of modernism, the heritage of Bauhaus: «By the end of the forties Bauhaus legacy didn’t evoke any interest, and the buildings started to lose their refined appearance gradually — here and there wings were constructed, the loggias got glazed, the plaster crumbled and darkened. These houses seemed to be something quite ordinary until 2003, when the UNESCO recognized «White City» as the spot of world cultural heritage. Over two thousand buildings got into the protected zone, a large-scale restoration program was started».
In the project number 7 «Photography» Maria Gavrilchik tells us about the work of the Saint- Petersburg photographer Dmitry Provotorov: «When duping, one can take the glass with different amount of striation dust on it; to reveal the texture you may drip glue or diluted acrylic or put semi-translucent sticky tape onto the glass. Next stage is a complex toning, pseudosolarization, giving a clear gradation of four colors: black, dark brown, gray and white».
This year the British Higher School of Design celebrated its tenth anniversary. In terms of the project «School» I congratulate the «Briton» and take an interview with its founder and director Alexander Avramov: «We have no aim to grow for growth’s sake, we don’t have megalomania, there is a desire to continue doing something interesting and useful in the field of education, to fill the gap in the market of Russian creative education. We are developing due to this. As for the regional branches, we are planning different scenarios, but haven’t had any certain plans so far. It would be interesting to open a branch in Staint-Petersburg, but the decision hasn’t been made yet».
The «School» also presents a wonderful and crazy student project «Semёn», by Taisia Lysenko under the supervision of Konstantin Startsev: «The main hit of the entire thesis defence, of course, was manually grown live poster on hand-made paper. It’s just a miracle! Taisiya had planted the seeds along the outline of the logo, and it sprouted green leaves on exactly the diploma’s Day».
In terms of the book project our authority Mikhail Karasik tells about one of the masterpieces of constructivist books — Arithmetic by El Lissitzky: «Lissitzky accepted the new religion straight-out, and his later attempts to romanticize the creative enthusiasm of the generation blur and simplify this great artist’s essense of work in the eyes of the descendants rather than rehabilitate it.
Also, a bit about Mayakovsky in this issue. Timofey Markov’s publishing agency has almost completed the work on a new version of the famous Bug with the illustrations by Gaga Kovenchuk. The new edition will be presented in December, but already now the artist has told of how the historical Bug was being made in the early seventies, and how the new book is: «I made the book in one breath. The publishing house liked it at first, but gradually I began to notice some omissions. The editors were especially confused with the passage in the second part of the play, which deals with the resurrection of Prisypkin, namely that I’d painted the word RE-SUR-RECT on three spreads. I thought it was a very lucky find, but the publisher accepted it with hostility, apparently, they still had strong memories of Khrushchev’s anti-formalism: «Well, you’ve really left no stone unturned! There is no paper in the country, it’s too costly».
In the special project «ProArt» I publish best texts from the portal ART1. Our authoritative columnists write for ART1.ru what they see fit. We don’t edit their texts in any way and neither assign the themes of next publications. After all, they are columnists, so it’s not fundamentally important for us what questions they raise; it’s more important that these issues are raised by them. Next, the question is put into the agenda of the information space of art simply by the fact of making a point by these people.
Alexander Borovsky writes about the project of the Monument to a tyrant by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: «This was the moment Kabakov amazed me. He’s the father of Russian conceptualism. Having lost the resistance of the environment, he was engaged in intellectual games. He’s still gaining strength being in his eighties. In my opinion, the project Monument to a tyrant is the best of his works, because this is simple and clear, this is Russian narrative».
Alexander Dashevsky encourages artists to not hesitate to paint portraits of their children: «There is no need to flirt with the concept and simulate a special intellectual twist. Authors will inevitably project their personality onto alike experience. The feed data is equal, at the same time each has their own style and way to cope with difficulties. Someone will turn to the feigned sweetness, someone to the brutality, someone else to the social sphere or to the physiology. Why? Here is a «to grow into» group portrait (I mean both the authors and the depicted) of next generation of victims, producers and consumers of contemporary art. The spell, one can say. Tahir Salahov, for example, succeeded at it at the time».
And Lisa Savina summarizes the experience of the galleries’ collaboration with young artists: «We look at a portfolio in electronic format and have joy seeing just a little .jpeg, quietly dream of pdf-presentations and are indignant to be asked to download archived data. We beg you: please do not write texts and do not invent any mediocre titles such as brand realism to what you do — this will not justify the visual inconspicuouness merged with inner emptiness».