Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Found this picture online.. something similar to what I wanted to make in my collage last year.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Sohei Nishino

Born in Hyogo in 1982. Since he was a university student of Osaka University of Arts, he started his series Diorama Map which is created from his memory as layered icons of the city.

The creation of a Diorama Map takes the following method; Walking around the chosen city on foot; shooting from various location with film; pasting and arranging with enormous mound of pieces. Consisted from eight cities, Diorama Map is still ongoing and will be developed in cities all over the world in the future.
Since selected as an Excellence Award of Canon New Cosmos Photography Award, he has participated in several group shows including his solo exhibition. His works are shown at Paris Photo 2009 where he received critical acclaim by many collectors and attracts people all over the world.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Dziga Vertov

David Kaufman (Russian: Давид А́белевич Кауфман) (2 January 1896 – 12 February 1954), better known by his pseudonym Dziga Vertov (Russian: Дзига Вертов), was a Soviet pioneer documentary film, newsreel director and cinema theorist. His filming practices and theories influenced the Cinéma vérité style of documentary moviemaking and, in particular the Dziga Vertov Group active in the 1960s.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Title Ideas

Also! Thinking about possible titles for the project I found this quote by Winston Churchill

"Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"

Then theres obviously the really famous poem by Fyodor Tyutchev

Умом Россию не понять,
Аршином общим не измерить:
У ней особенная стать —
В Россию можно только верить.

This english translation isn't that great:

You wouldn't understand Russia just using the intellect
You couldn't measure her using the common scale
She has a special kind of grace
You can only believe in her.

David Anthony Hall

Was walking around marylebone today and stumbled upon this gallery that was showing David Anthony Hall's landscape photographs. Most of them are panoramic shots but some are exhibited in these circular shapes. Thought they would be relevant to Svetlana's project.

Here is the website of the photographer:

And here is the website of the gallery:

Russia: The Wild East

BBC programme about Russia by Martin Sixsmith.
Theres lots of different topics and I'm currently reading his book which I think is just basically the same thing as the main programme. Interesting read and very relevant in the understanding of Russia and its culture for the "West".

the programme:

and the book:

Rafal Milach

The polish photographer I talked about in the last tutorial.
He has a lot more work on his website and quite a lot of it is about Russia.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Regina Gallery

Russian Gallery in London
22 Eastcastle Street
London, W1W 8DE, United Kingdom
Tel. +44 (0)207 636 7768

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Calvert 22


Another gallery dealing with Russian artists.
There's currently an exhibition on that I think it would be useful to see!


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Russian Art Fair 2011

Private View
Wednesday 9th June 6pm to 9:30pm
Charity Gala Evening
Friday 11th June from 6pm
Public Days
Thursday 11am-6, Friday 11am-5 Saturday 11am-6pm
The Park Lane Hotel
Piccadilly, Mayfair
London, W1J 7BX


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Pushkin House London

Pushkin House has been established to serve as a home and dedicated showcase for Russian culture in London, a focus for Anglo-Russian cultural exchange, a provider of education and information on Russian language and culture, a resource and networking centre for individuals and institutions.

In pursuit of these aims, Pushkin House has developed a lively and varied cultural programme on Russian literature, art, film, music, theatre and dance, as well as history, philosophy and politics. Events include lectures and talks, seminars, conferences, exhibitions, films, concerts and readings.

The House also has its own reference library of Russian culture.

Besides its own events, Pushkin House welcomes and encourages collaboration with other institutions and groups dedicated to Russian culture. The House currently hosts lectures run by the Pushkin Club and the GB-Russia Society. Regular Russian language courses are provided by the Russian Language Centre. Creative partnerships are being established with major museums and libraries in Russia.

Learn more about the TRUSTEES of Pushkin House by clicking here

Pushkin House is owned and run by the Pushkin House Trust, Registered Charity no. 313111.


Sunday, 15 May 2011

Boris Mikhailov

Boris Andreyevich Mikhailov (Бори́с Андрі́йович Миха́йлов, born August 25, 1938 in Kharkov, Ukraine) is a fine art photographer who has been described as one of the most important artists to have emerged from the former USSR. He was twice nearly imprisoned by the KGB.
Born in the former Soviet Union, he lived and worked for several decades in his hometown Kharkiv, Ukraine. He received an education as an engineer and started to teach himself the practice of photography. Today he is one of the most successful and well-known photographers, who already was actively working in soviet times. His work very much is influenced in the means of Concept-Art and social documentary photography. At the end of the 1960s he had his first exhibition. After the KGB found nude pictures of his wife he was set off his job as an engineer and started to full-time work with photography. He shot a series of everyday-life scenes-documentation. His most famous work during this period (1968–1975) was the "Red Serie". In these photographs he mainly used the colour red, to picture people, groups and city-life. Red is the color standing for October Revolution, political party and the social system of soviet society. It is often said, that within those works critical elements toward the existing political circumstances can be found.

In his work Klebrigkeit (1982) he added explaining notes, or he is using diary-like writings. As an important part of contemporary art are considered his works "Case History". Here he examines the consequences of the breakdown of the Soviet Union for the people living there. Therefore he systematically took pictures of homeless people, who soon started trusting him. More than 500 photographs show the situation of people, who after the breakdown of the Soviet Union were not able to catch hold in a secured social system. In a very direct way Mikhailov points out his critique against the "mask of beauty" of the uprising post-soviet capitalistic way of life. It is one of the best works found within social documentary photography.

In 2004 Boris Mikhailov exhibited a first series of Berlin. Again his attention is drawn to people living at the edge of society.

Art Group Voina

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition

I've just visited sony WPA Exhibition and it was amazing!
London’s biggest ever festival of photography opens at Somerset House on 26 April. Following stops in San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Shanghai, the World Photography Festival comes to London for the first time and will run until 1 May. The Sony World Photography Awards Winners’ Showcase and Bruce Davidson exhibitions will be on display until 22 May. A private press preview of these exhibitions will take place on Tuesday 26 April at 12noon.

The inspiring and eclectic six day programme of events will celebrate the very best in photography from around the world and will appeal to everyone with a passion for photography from professionals to the photo-loving public alike.

The festival will feature celebrated photographers such as Tom Stoddard, Carol Allen Storey and Bruce Davidson as well as Pulitzer prize winning photographer Liu Hueng Shing and industry leaders such as Elisabeth Biondi (Visuals Editor, New Yorker) and Mike Trow (Photo Editor, British Vogue) – all of whom will gather at the festival to host exhibitions, talks, screenings, portfolio reviews, workshops and more.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin

Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin (Russian: Ива́н Ива́нович Ши́шкин; 25 January 1832 – 20 March 1898) was a Russian landscape painter closely associated with the Peredvizhniki movement.
Shishkin was born in Yelabuga of Vyatka Governorate (today Republic of Tatarstan), and graduated from the Kazan gymnasium. Then he studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture for 4 years, attended the Saint Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts from 1856 to 1860,which he graduated with the highest honours and a gold medal. He received the Imperial scholarship for his further studies in Europe. Five years later Shishkin became a member of the Imperial Academy in St. Petersburg and was professor of painting from 1873 to 1898. At the same time, Shishkin headed the landscape painting class at the Highest Art School in St. Petersburg.

For some time, Shishkin lived and worked in Switzerland and Germany on scholarship from the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Arts. On his return to Saint Petersburg, he became a member of the Circle of the Itinerants and of the Society of Russian Watercolorists. He also took part in exhibitions at the Academy of Arts, the All Russian Exhibition in Moscow (1882), the Nizhniy Novgorod (1896), and the World Fairs (Paris, 1867 and 1878, and Vienna, 1873). Shishkin's painting method was based on analytical studies of nature. He became famous for his forest landscapes, and was also an outstanding draftsman and a printmaker.

Ivan Shishkin owned a dacha in Vyra, south of St. Petersburg. There he painted some of his finest landscapes. His works are notable for poetic depiction of seasons in the woods, wild nature, animals and birds. He died in 1898, in St. Petersburg, Russia, while working on his new painting.

A minor planet 3558 Shishkin, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1978 is named after him.

Igor Emmanuilovich Grabar

Igor Emmanuilovich Grabar (Russian: Игорь Эммануилович Грабарь, March 25, 1871, Budapest – May 16, 1960, Moscow) was a Russian post-impressionist painter, publisher, restorer and historian of art. Grabar, descendant of a wealthy Rusyn family, was trained as a painter by Ilya Repin in Saint Petersburg and by Anton Ažbe in Munich. He reached his peak in painting in 1903–1907 and was notable for a peculiar divisionist painting technique bordering on pointillism and his rendition of snow.

By the end of 1890s Grabar had established himself as an art critic. In 1902 he joined Mir Iskusstva although his relations with its leaders Sergei Diaghilev and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky were far from friendly. In 1910–1915 Grabar edited and published his opus magnum, the History of Russian Art. The History employed the finest artists and critics of the period; Grabar personally wrote the issues on architecture that set an unsurpassed standard of understanding and presenting the subject.Concurrently he wrote and published a series of books on contemporary and historic Russian painters. In 1913 he was appointed executive director of the Tretyakov Gallery and launched an ambitious reform program that continued until 1926. Grabar diversified the Tretyakov collection into modern art and in 1917 published its first comprehensive catalogue. In 1921 Grabar became the first professor of Art restoration at the Moscow State University.

An experienced politician, Grabar stayed at the top of the Soviet art establishment until his death, excluding a brief voluntary retirement in 1933–1937. He managed art restoration workshops (present-day Grabar Institute) in 1918–1930 and from 1944 to 1960. Grabar took active part in redistribution of former church art nationalized by the Bolsheviks and established new museums for the looted treasures. In 1943 he formulated the Soviet doctrine of compensating World War II losses with art looted in Germany. After the war he personally advised Joseph Stalin on the preservation of architectural heritage.

In 1901–1902 Grabar presented twelve of his paintings at an exhibition hosted by Mir Iskusstva; these were the first "truly French" impressionist works displayed in Russia by a Russian painter. One painting went straight to Tretyakov Gallery, others were auctioned to private collections.
1903–1907 became Grabar's highest point in painting; according to Grabar's Autobiography, the summit (February–April 1904) coincided with the beginning of the Russo-Japanese War. In this season he practiced moderate divisionism with elements of pointillist technique. Three paintings of this period that Grabar himself considered seminal (February Glaze, March Snow and Piles of Snow) garnered wide and generally positive critical response. Kazimir Malevich wrote that, had it not been for linear perspective that Grabar preserved in his March Snow "as a remnant of narrative from the nineteenth century", the whole picture would blend in "a uniform painterly texture" without clearly defined front and middle planes. In 1905 Grabar travelled to Paris to study the new works of French postimpressionists and changed his technique in favor of complete separation of colours. Incidentally, although Grabar appreciated and studied Cézanne, Gauguin and Van Gogh, he himself ranked "the king of painters" Diego Velázquez above them all.
In the end of 1905 and the beginning of 1906, when Moscow was burning from riots and shellfire, Grabar tackled another challenging subject, frost, at the same time investing more and more time into writing and editing. Snow, and winter in general, remained his favorite subjects for life.
Relations between Grabar and the founders of Mir Iskusstva were strained. Sergei Diaghilev tolerated Grabar as a business asset but feared and distrusted him as a potential new leader of the movement; Grabar' financial backing provided by Shcherbatov seemed especially menacing. Diaghilev's sycophants Nurok and Nouvelle led the opposition, Eugene Lansere and Konstantin Somov followed suit; Valentin Serov was perhaps the only member who treated Grabar with sympathy. Grabar, indeed, used funds of Shcherbatov and Nadezhda von Meck to launch his own short-lived art society that failed to shake Mir Iskusstva and soon fell apart. Memoirs of the period, although biased, indicate that Grabar himself was a difficult person. According to Alexander Benois, Grabar practiced unacceptably patronizing tone and at the same time had absolutely no sense of humour. No one questioned his talent and encyclopedic knowledge, but Grabar was unable to persuade people or barely coexist with them in small communities like Mir Iskusstva. As a result, in 1908 Grabar broke with the movement completely and tried, in vain, to launch his own art magazine.

His work reminds me my recent photograph, i've made this easter.

Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander is a London based photographer, artist and director, internationally renowned for his portraiture and landscapes. His work forms part of the public collection at the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Kander's work is also exhibited in numerous international gallerys and museums.
Kander's most celebrated images include Diver, Salt Lake, Utah 1997, in which a lone women peers out into the vast lake, and his 2009 portrait of Barack Obama photographed for The New York Times Magazine as a cover feature. Diver, Salt Lake, Utah, 1997 was also the cover image for Kander's Monograph Beauty's Nothing.

On 18 January 2009 Nadav Kander had 52 full page colour portraits published in one issue of The New York Times Magazine. These portraits (from a series titled Obama's People) were of the people surrounding President Barack Obama, from Joe Biden (Vice President) to Eugene Kang (Special Assistant to The President). The same issue also included a series of cityscapes of Washington DC also taken by Kander. This is the largest portfolio of work by the same photographer The New York Times Magazine has ever showcased in one single issue.

Chernobyl , Half Life

"Reactor No.4 at Chernobyl's Nuclear Power Station exploded in 1986 leaving the surrounding area uninhabitable for many hundreds of years. I visited Chernobyl to mark its 20th anniversary, photographing the deserted spaces in what was once a model Soviet City.

Home to more than 40,000 people, the apartments, schools and hospitals that were hastily left following the controversial evacuation are stark reminders of past lives, leaving a disturbing sense of quite. An uneasiness that I had never previously experienced." —Nadav Kander


Britain and Russia have a symbiotic art relationship that stretches back centuries. Catherine the Great, one of history's greatest art collectors, caused splutters of outrage in England in 1779 when she snapped up a rare collection of old masters from Houghton Hall in Norfolk, home of Britain's first prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole.

Today, it's oil-gorged oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich who are buoying up the ailing international art market with purchases at auction in London, New York and Paris. The anglophile owner of Chelsea football club set records last year when he acquired Francis Bacon's Triptych for £53 million and a work by Lucian Freud for £20m.

It's not all east buys west either: a new generation of provocative Russian artists, such as Gosha Ostretsov and Pavel Pepperstein, has piqued the interest of British collectors with shows in London.

In the Russian capital the post-Soviet art scene is developing into a major international force. Three huge and vibrant new exhibition spaces have opened in Moscow in the last two years, one of them masterminded by Abramovich's socialite girlfriend, Dasha Zhukova. Edgy, arty hangouts are popping up too.

Born in Moscow, 1967
Lives and works in Moscow
Graduated from the Theatre Art School at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow
Solo Exhibitions
The Adventures of Robbing Good, Paradise Row Gallery, London
The Abyss, Volta Art Fair, New York City
Under Repair, Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow
Lawlessness, Marat Guelman Gallery, Moscow
Eat the Halfwi t: Wall Mural in the Tretyakov Gallery at Krymsky Val, Modern Trends
Department, Hall of Actual Art
War, Marat Guelman Gallery, Moscow
The Ceremony of Granting the New Government’s Order “Silver Badge of Honour” to the Best
People of the Russia Federation, S. Art Gallery, Moscow
Vandals and Generals of the New Government, Marat Guelman Gallery, Moscow
Contemporary Ar t in a Traditional Museum, festival organised by the Ford Foundation Antarctic
Eden, Arctic and Antarctic Museum, St. Petersburg
New Government, Marat Guelman Gallery, Moscow
Visitor, Marble Palace, the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Group Exhibitions
Play, Paradise Row + Prakke Contemporary, London
Russian Pavillion, 53rd Venice Biennale
Paradise Row Gallery @ Art Rotterdam, Netherlands
Invasion: Evasion – An Exhibition of Young Russian Ar tis t s, Baibakov Art Projects, Moscow
The Was te Land, Paradise Row Gallery @ Zoo Art Fair, the Royal Academy, London
Domes tic Appliance, Flowers East Gallery, London
Laughter Life, Paradise Row Gallery, London
Moscow Photo Biennial, Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow
Aust rian Story, with G.Litichevskij, Resanita Center of Contemporary Art, Graz, Austria
Salon Beaute, Rabouan-Moussion Gallery, Paris, France
Under Repair, Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow 2nd Moscow Biennial
Exhibition of Modern Art, “Sots-Ar t”, Tretyakov Gallery,Moscow
2nd Moscow Biennial Exhibition of Modern Art, “Ar tis t ’s Diary”, Central House of
Artists, Moscow
Cinemarathon, Curator Project, Marat Guelman Gallery, Moscow
Amateurs, Marres Art-Center, Maastricht, Netherlands
Spear-Hand, group show with Benjamin Barthel and Julie Sainton (Paris), National Center of
Photography of Russian Federation, St. Petersburg
Russia-2, Central House of Artists, Moscow
1st Moscow Biennial Exhibition of Modern Art, Gender Passions, Museum of Modern Art,
Front: Wechsel, Group Project, Stift Vorau, Austria
Soobshchniki (Par tners),1st Moscow Biennial Exhibition of Modern Art, Tretyakov Gallery,
George&George & In Process, State Center of Modern Art, Moscow
8th Biennale of Graphics of the Baltic Count ries, Koenigsberg
Cont rolled Democracy, White Space Gallery, London
Moscow-Warsaw, Modern Art Center, Ujazd Castle, Warsaw
New Countdown: Digital Russia with Sony, & The New Government Against Global Net, The
Central House of Artists at Krymsky Val, Moscow
Bulimia, Moscow Photo Biennial, Photo Centre, Gogolevsky Boulevard, Moscow
Reconst ruction, Rubber Tower, Las tomer (Pinniped), Cetinje Biennial, Shooting Gallery, Cetinje,
Contemporary Ar t Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
Collections, public and private
The State Tretyakov Gallery, novel trends department led by A. Yerofeyev, Moscow
The State Russian Museum, novel trends department led by A. Borovsky, St.Petersburg
The Moscow Contemporary Art Museum, Moscow
The Arctic and Antarctic Museum, St. Petersburg
The Freud Museum of Dreams, St. Petersburg
The Saatchi Gallery, London

Margarita Gluzberg

Margarita Gluzberg was born in Moscow in 1968. She completed her BA in 1990 at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University, and the MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in 1992. She has been exhibiting in Britain and abroad since the mid-1990s, and spent six months at the British School at Rome, as a Wingate Scholar in 2004. Her two recent solo shows, Funk of Terror into Psychic Bricks (2007), and The Money Plot (2008), both at Paradise Row, London, received much critical attention with articles in Frieze, Artforum, Art Review and Flashart. As well as exhibitions, she has also devised a number of performances: Tower Block Mod V Forest Soul, Camden Arts Centre, London, 2006; Solovey, South London Gallery, 2006; and Bird DJ, Zoo Art Fair, 2008.

Margarita Gluzberg’s work ranges from paintings and large-scale drawings to performance and sound installation. Her images are a mesh that weaves together Romanticism, consumer culture, fashion, sport and aspects of love.
Her practice ranges from painting and drawing, usually on a gigantic scale, to performance and sound installation. From the subject of boxing, to the history of consumer culture and how it affects human relations, Gluzberg creates a visual territory from historical, autobiographical, and literary references. Her most recent project, The Captive Bird Society, centres round early recordings of birdsong, and generates a wider investigation into the story of phonography, and the mechanics of capture.

The Russian Club Gallery

The Russian Club named after it's previous incarnation as a russian snooker club. Is a creative space consisting of galleries and studios, housing an assortment of artists, photographers and designers.
The Russian Club is a versatile & adaptable venue suitable for a variety of events. From lunches to launches, twenty people to two hundred.

Previously they have hosted salons, dinners, book launches, exhibitions, meetings, corporate and creative pitches, fashion shows, pop promos, weddings, performances & film screenings.

It could be suitable for our future exhibition.

Russian Gallery

New russian gallery in London- Orel.

On 22 April, Orel Art launched its London premises in an impressive 350sqm space at 7 Howick Place, London SW1, currently the prestigious address of Phillips de Pury & Company. An expansion from the Paris-based gallery and a major addition to the London art market, Orel Art will be primarily devoted to bringing contemporary Russian art to a wider western audience. The gallery will also provide a fresh platform for topically engaged international artists to implement inventive and challenging site-specific projects. Director Ilona Orel, operating from Paris, has played an instrumental role in raising the profile of Russia’s most significant contemporary and emerging artists through a series of acclaimed exhibitions. Founded in 2001, the pioneering space supported the careers of Andrei Molodkin, Valery Koshlyakov, Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexandre Vinogradov,Georgy Gurianov, Komar & Melamid and Olga Tobreluts, alongside emerging artists including Dasha Fursey and Chtak. Daughter of an artist and former student of the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, Orel’s experimental ethos is informed by her direct experience of the challenges faced by young artists. Orel is acutely aware of the pre-eminence of visual culture in contemporary society and strives to promote artists who address current affairs and globalized problems with exceptional aesthetic prowess. Looking beyond internal curatorial projects, Ilona Orel has fostered successful collaborations with established European museums, including the Tretiakov National Gallery in Moscow, the National Russian Museum in St Petersburg and MACRO in Rome. Her stable of artists has entered the prestigious collections of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao, the Martin-Gropius Bau in Berlin and the MAK Museum in Vienna, amongst others. Today, under Orel’s distinctive direction, the Howick Place gallery is set to deliver an outstanding programme of solo exhibitions and group shows, bringing together Russian contemporary artists, established curators and international figures such as Raffaella Nappo, Stephen Shanabrook, Rupert Shrive and Ivan Messac. To spearhead this agenda, Orel Art will launch with Liquid Modernity (Grid and Greed), the first UK solo show of Andrei Molodkin, the artist representing Russia at the forthcoming 53rd Venice Biennale. The show will be curated by celebrated scholar Victor Tupitsyn, who sits on the advisory board for Third Text, with the catalogue written by Margarita Tupitsyn, Co-Curator of ‘Rodchenko and Popova’ at Tate Modern.

Gallery visit- Barbara Kruger

Staring out of a window into the wintry drizzle on London's Dover Street is a small black- and-white image of a man's face, streaked in blood, with wide, maniacal staring eyes. The image looks like a still from a Hammer horror film. Strips of bold text have been pasted onto the man's face, creating the appearance of a chic, ironic advertisement. "Our prices," it reads, "are insane". The work is a collage by the American artist Barbara Kruger, hanging in the window of Sprüth Magers gallery as part of Paste Up, a small exhibition of her collages from the 1980s. While hanging this piece in the window might be something of a joke on the commercial gallery's role as "shop", trying to entice in viewers during times of recession, there is something darker in the horror of the man's terrorised expression that hints at the true insanity of economics, an insanity that is now continually making itself felt.

Barbara Kruger is best known for her works such as this: bold, direct, graphic combinations of words and imagery so compelling that their influence has pervaded beyond the artworld. Her work, often a strong mix of red, white and black, includes such deadpan, now familiar, images such as a hand holding a credit card which reads "I shop therefore I am", and an image of a classical marble sculpture of a beautiful woman's face with the words: "Your gaze hits the side of my face".

What remains so important about Kruger's work is the way in which, with just a scalpel and some glue, she managed to subvert the common modes of address from advertising and the media. Well-versed in punchy layouts, she once worked (like those important cullers of America's pop culture, Richard Prince and Ed Ruscha) at a magazine – Mademoiselle, as chief designer. Traditionally the "we" of an advertising text is the company, and the "you" the potential customer. In Kruger's work, however, this persuasive, almost hypnotic tone of address is dramatically destabilised, and crucially, most often her "we" talks from a feminine standpoint and her "you" addresses an often oppressive male spectator. In Paste Up we see examples of this: another disarmingly wild-looking image depicts what appears to be a woman in the throws of some kind of fit with hair obscuring her face, overlaid with the words "We decorate your life", while in another horror movie image, a woman cowers in bed from a giant claw-like hand accompanied by the words: "We won't be our own best enemy". However important these gender distinctions are in many of Kruger's works, there are other complicated depictions of power-play at work. It's hard to see an image of a graceful pair of hands submerged in water, pulling out a plug with the words "Now you see us now you don't" without thinking about the AIDS crisis in New York, which was affecting many artists during the 1980s. Visibility, in that case, was becoming a matter of life and death.

While this exhibition is small and slight, it still has something to say, and those deft combinations of word and image still have enough punch to incite frustration. Money, another classically 1980s subject, reappears thematically throughout, indicating that we haven't learned much in the years that have passed. In a series of collages in the back room, each including a question, one sees a plume of smoke from a man's cigar rising toward the sky. "Who is bought and sold?" it asks, as we imagine the smoker relaxing back after making a big sale, exhaling as the smoke spins and twirls towards the darkness like a soul leaving a body.

Susan Hiller pt2

Susan Hiller does it big or she doesn’t do it at all. Her retrospective at Tate Britain charts a career that burnt for two decades on a long slow fuse without going anywhere in particular. Then, in the series of ambitious multimedia installations for which she is now famous, she began to look at areas of human experience that had rarely been explored in art before. Now over 70 and one of our most influential artists, she could easily take on the Unilever commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, but I still can’t imagine her having a show in Cork Street.

Hiller came to London from America in the early Seventies. I don’t want to dismiss the work she did during her first decade here, but neither do I want to linger on it. The text- and photo-based pieces you encounter at the beginning of the show are much more interesting after you’ve seen the installations she was to make 30 years later. That is because in early pieces exploring dream states, unconscious thoughts and automatic writing, Hiller wasn’t so much looking for her voice as finding her wavelength. That’s the right word to describe her developing interest in unseen realms of experience – things you can’t see, touch or measure and yet know to be real.

The breakthrough came with Monument in 1980, her meditation on the commemorative plaques in Postman’s Park in London. Created by the visionary Victorian artist GF Watts to call attention to acts of “heroic self-sacrifice” in everyday life, each memorial briefly recounts the story of a man, woman or child who gave their life attempting to save another person from drowning, a fire, a runaway horse or a train.

In a tape recording that we listen to while seated in front of enlarged photographs of 41 memorial plaques, Hiller speaks movingly of how these terse inscriptions can be experienced as channels through which the dead live on in our imaginations.

Here, for the first time, Hiller states the great theme that underlies all her mature work: the deep human need to be held in the memories of others.
Related Articles
Susan Hiller, Tate Britain, Seven magazine review 04 Feb 2011
Arts agenda: February 04 Jan 2011

If, ultimately, Monument fails, it is because in taking on the role of commentator, Hiller interprets the meaning of the memorial for us. What she needed to do was find a way to step back from her own work, to place nothing between her audiences and the “voices” she wants us to hear. Only then can we confront the universal fear of our own extinction. But to achieve this, she first has to locate that fear in our collective unconscious – and then make it audible as well as visible.

It took another 10 years, but when it happened it was in one of the most upsetting works of art I’ve ever seen. An Entertainment is a DVD installation that fills all four walls of a windowless gallery from floor to ceiling with clips from films of Punch and Judy shows. Hiller went to seaside towns around Britain filming these traditional shows with a hand-held camera, and then deftly edited the footage to exclude everything except the moments of horrific violence.

Over and over for 20 gruelling minutes Mr Punch beats Judy with his club, kills the Baby and goes to the gallows as skeletons dance with delight. Projected out of synch, an incident that appears on one wall reappears a few seconds later on another. So we stand in the middle of the gallery, surrounded by screams and turning our heads from left to right, like children watching parents argue about something they don’t understand.

The soundtrack is too grainy for us to understand what the puppets are saying, so Hiller provides a deadpan voiceover. When Mr Punch dashes the Baby against a wall, as well as Judy’s shrill cry of “Wicked! Wicked! Wicked!” we also hear Hiller repeating her words, like a police officer reading the transcript of the interrogation of a witness at a trial.

Hiller’s genius was to realise that Punch and Judy hold up a mirror to an unseen culture of domestic violence, child abuse and infanticide we normally acknowledge only when we read about cases like Victoria Climbie and Baby Peter. Children love these entertainments because they can watch from a safe distance as the puppets act out the deepest fear of all – that dad will kill mum and then come after me. I suppose a psychoanalyst would say that such entertainments are projections of thoughts and feelings that we don’t know what to do with and have to put somewhere safe, such as a book or a play.

To see Witness, Hiller’s breathtakingly beautiful installation from 2000, the viewer enters a darkened gallery in which 600 circular microphones dangle from wires attached to the ceiling. Place a microphone to your ear and you’ll hear a muffled voice speaking in English, French, Russian, German Japanese or Swedish, each telling his or her story of an encounter with an alien being or UFO.

All speak in matter-of-fact voices that blend into a soft babble rippling through the gallery. Then, suddenly, all quieten down as one voice rises above the din to tell us what must have been the single most memorable experience of their life. The speakers appear sane and we listeners have no reason to suppose they are lying. And yet what they are saying cannot possibly be true.

So what are these stories? Fact? Fantasy? Psychiatric disorder? When I reviewed Witness 11 years ago, I concluded that the answer is “art”. Hiller’s true subject was the human need to tell stories, to hold a listener spellbound and in doing so to join hands with Homer or the Brothers Grimm. This time I saw something else – that the work is also about listening.

Whether or not the storytellers are telling you a verifiable fact, they are always telling you something about themselves – that they are unable to bear the thought that when they die, there will be no memory of them. So powerful is the need to live on, that the unconscious takes over and convinces the storyteller that what he saw in his imagination is true. Hiller asks us to pay attention to stories that are usually consigned to mouldering police reports or the pages of the tabloids and to respect them for what they are: a means to eternal life.

A darkened gallery, a black screen, the voice of an unseen man or woman speaking in an unintelligible language: The Last Silent Movie (2007) takes the theme of extinction and memory and what remains of us when we die to its logical conclusion. For what we are listening to are the last speakers of extinct or endangered languages. Hiller found their voices in archives and had their words translated into English. As they speak their words appear on screen. A few seconds later, we hear an English speaker repeating their words.

It takes a moment to grasp the strangeness of the experience. For as we stare into the darkness, we listen to the voices of the dead speaking languages that are also dead. What must these people have felt as they spoke these words for the last time, knowing their language would die with them? Hiller is an uneven artist, but the moral beauty I find in these works sends a shiver down my spine. How appropriate that through them she will live for ever.

Susan Hiller

Born in the United States in 1940, Susan Hiller has lived and worked in Britain for over 30 years and is one of the most influential artists of her generation. This major survey exhibition will provide a timely focus on a selection of her key works, from assembled postcard images made in the 1970s to her pioneering mixed-media installations and video projections. The exhibition will focus on Hiller's interest in the subconscious or unconscious mind, whether in the form of dreams and memories or as supernatural or visionary experiences. Highlights include the menacing video installation An Entertainment 1990 and the compelling audio-sculpture Witness 2000, alongside many other examples of her extraordinary and diverse practice

Friday, 6 May 2011

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Ural Mountains

a fragment of von Herberstein's map

The Ural Mountains (Russian: Ура́льские го́ры, Uralskiye gory) are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia. The mountains lie within the Ural geographical region and significantly overlap with the Ural Federal District and Ural economic region. They are rich in various deposits, including metal ores, coal, precious and semi-precious stones, and since the 18th century have been the major mineral base of Russia.
In Greco-Roman antiquity, Pliny the Elder thought that the Urals correspond to the Riphean Mountains mentioned by various authors, including Arabic sources of the 10th century. As attested by Sigismund von Herberstein, in the 16th century Russians called the range by a variety of names derived from the Russian words for rock (stone) and belt. The modern Russian name for the Urals (Урал, Ural), which first appeared in the 16th-17th century, was initially applied to its southern parts and gained currency as the name of the entire range during the 18th century. It might be a borrowing from either Turkic (Bashkir, where the same name is used for the range), or Ob-Ugric. From the 13th century, in Bashkortostan there has been a legend about a hero named Ural. He sacrificed his life for the sake of his people and they poured a stone pile over his grave which later turned into the Ural Mountains.
As Middle-eastern merchants traded with the Bashkirs and other people living on the western slopes of the Urals as far north as Great Perm, since at least the 10th century medieval mideastern geographers had been aware of the existence of the mountain range in its entirety, stretching as far as to the Arctic Ocean in the north. The first Russian mention of the mountains to the east of the East European Plain is provided by the Primary Chronicle, when it describes the Novgorodian expedition to the upper reaches of the Pechora in 1096. During the next few centuries Novgorodians engaged in fur trading with the local population and collected tribute from Yugra and Great Perm, slowly expanding southwards. The rivers Chusovaya and Belaya were first mentioned in the chronicles of 1396 and 1468, respectively. In 1430 the town of Solikamsk (Kama Salt) was founded on the Kama at the foothills of the Urals, where salt was produced in open pans. Ivan III of Moscow captured Perm, Pechora and Yugra from the declining Novgorod Republic in 1472. With the excursions of 1483 and 1499-1500 across the Urals Moscow managed to subjugate Yugra completely.
Nevertheless, around that time early 16th century Polish geographer Maciej of Miechów in his influential Tractatus de duabus Sarmatiis (1517) argued that there were no mountains in Eastern Europe at all, challenging the point of view of some authors of Classical antiquity, popular during the Renaissance. Only after Sigismund von Herberstein in his Notes on Muscovite Affairs (1549) had reported, following Russian sources, that there are mountains behind the Pechora and identified them with the Ripheans and Hyperboreans of ancient authors, did the existence of the Urals, or at least of its northern part, become firmly established in the Western geography. The Middle and Southern Urals were still largely unavailable and unknown to the Russian or Western European geographers.
In the 1550s, after the Tsardom of Russia had defeated the Khanate of Kazan and proceeded to gradually annex the lands of the Bashkirs, the Russians finally reached the southern part of the mountain chain. In 1574 they founded Ufa. The upper reaches of the Kama and Chusovaya in the Middle Urals, still unexplored, as well as parts of Transuralia still held by the hostile Siberian Khanate, were granted to the Stroganovs by several decrees of the tsar in 1558-1574. The Stroganovs' land provided the staging ground for Yermak's incursion into Siberia. Yermak crossed the Urals from the Chusovaya to the Tagil around 1581. In 1597 Babinov's road was built across the Urals from Solikamsk to the valley of the Tura, where the town of Verkhoturye (Upper Tura) was founded in 1598. Customs was established in Verkhoturye shortly thereafter and the road was made the only legal connection between European Russia and Siberia for a long time. In 1648 the town of Kungur was founded at the western foothills of the Middle Urals. During the 17th century the first deposits of iron and copper ores, mica, gemstones and other minerals were discovered in the Urals.
Iron and copper smelting works emerged. They multiplied particularly quickly during the reign of Peter I of Russia. In 1720-1722 he commissioned Vasily Tatishchev to oversee and develop the mining and smelting works in the Urals. Tatishchev proposed a new copper smelting factory in Yegoshikha, which would eventually become the core of the city of Perm and a new iron smelting factory on the Iset, which would become the largest in the world at the time of construction and give birth to the city of Yekaterinburg. Both factories were actually founded by Tatishchev's successor, Georg Wilhelm de Gennin, in 1723. Tatishchev returned to the Urals on the order of Empress Anna to succeed de Gennin in 1734-1737. Transportation of the output of the smelting works to the markets of European Russia necessitated the construction of the Siberian Route from Yekaterinburg across the Urals to Kungur and Yegoshikha (Perm) and further to Moscow, which was completed in 1763 and rendered Babinov's road obsolete. In 1745 gold was discovered in the Urals at Beryozovskoye and later at other deposits. It has been mined since 1747.
The first railway across the Urals had been built by 1878 and linked Perm to Yekaterinburg via Chusovoy, Kushva and Nizhny Tagil. In 1890 a railway linked Ufa and Chelyabinsk via Zlatoust. In 1896 this section became a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway. In 1909 yet another railway connecting Perm and Yekaterinburg passed through Kungur by the way of the Siberian Route. It has eventually replaced the Ufa – Chelyabinsk section as the main trunk of the Trans-Siberian railway.
The highest peak of the Urals, Mount Narodnaya, was discovered in 1927.
During the Soviet industrialization in the 1930s the city of Magnitogorsk was founded in the southeastern Urals as a center of iron smelting and steelmaking. During the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941-1942, faced with the threat of having a significant part of the Soviet territories occupied by the enemy, the gorvernment evacuated many of the industrial enterprises of European Russia and Ukraine to the eastern foothills of the Urals, considered a safe place out of reach of the German bombers and troops. Three giant tank factories were established at the Uralmash in Sverdlovsk (as Yekaterinburg used to be known), Uralvagonzavod in Nizhny Tagil, and Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant in Chelyabinsk. After the war, in 1947-1948, Chum – Labytnangi railway, built with the forced labor of Gulag inmates, crossed the Polar Urals.
The first ample geographic survey of the Ural Mountains was completed in the early 18th century by the Russian historian and geographer Vasily Tatishchev under the orders of Peter I. Earlier, in the 17th century, rich ore deposits were discovered in the mountains and their systematic extraction began in the early 18th century, eventually turning the region into the largest mineral base of Russia.
One of the first scientific descriptions of the mountains was published in 1770–71. Over the next century, the region was studied by scientists from a number of countries, including Russia (geologist Alexander Karpinsky, botanist P.N. Krylov and zoologist L.P. Sabaneev), England (geologist Sir Roderick Murchison), France (paleontologist Edouard de Verneuil), and Germany (naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, geologist Alexander Keyserling). In 1845, Murchison, who had according to Encyclopædia Britannica "compiled the first geologic map of the Urals in 1841", published The Geology of Russia in Europe and the Ural Mountains with de Verneuil and Keyserling.

Vladimir Trofimov

Vladimir Trofimov, a man, who helped me with my first camera and gave me master class tutorials about photography wisdom, my uncle and also professional documentary and nature photographer, who works for National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler and was participant in number of exhibitions.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Kino: Russian Film Pioneers

BFI Southbank.
Discover why Russian cinema set the world on fire.