Umělec magazine 2010/2 >> Yekaterinburg: in the footsteps of one’s travel List of all editions.
Yekaterinburg: in the footsteps of one’s travel
Umělec magazine
Year 2010, 2
6,50 EUR
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription

Yekaterinburg: in the footsteps of one’s travel

Umělec magazine 2010/2

01.02.2010

Alena Boika | in transition | en cs de

Yekaterinburg is a city, which can rightly claim to be the chief, if we talk about In Transition. A city where every visitor is trying to find that very point, the Urals, where, you see, it is possible to have one foot in Europe and the second in Asia. A city which can be proud to have the largest number of royal family per unit area. A city which in the 1980’s, still under the name of Sverdlovsk, became the capital of rock and the underground scene. A city in which you can still find outstanding monuments to constructivism which, even though neglected, have miraculously remained intact. A city, where a market with cabbages and potatoes has the most gaping heights of constructivism in the background, is striking for its people; it seems all the inhabitants visit the, “Drum for running on the spot without moving anywhere.” The city where it is impossible not to consider how Bazhov would have been disappointed, as in his melodious tales he described the treasure, secretly hidden in those Ural caves and mountains, but that, here and now, everyone can buy for themselves. All these semi-precious stones and cheap glass shining next to paper calendars, with pictures of the dollar and other presidents, in every kiosk at the corner of Sacco and Vanzetti streets and already nobody remembers who these two people were and why the streets are named in their honor. But everyone knows that on Saturdays they should go to the market and buy potatoes, cabbage, honey and fish, in order to stock up to get through this long, dark and terrible winter, eating warm food, studying and preserving constructivism, reading the tales of Bazhov and arranging the next modern art exhibition or biennial.

Yekaterinburg met a cold wind, impenetrable darkness and classically bad Russian roads. In the hotel, named after one of the most beautiful rivers in the Ural mountains, Iset’, visitors were met with the significant plaque informing them that the Iset’ Hotel is a major part of the downtown architectural complex named Security Complex City (Architects V. Sokolov, I. Antonov and A. Tumbasov), one of the examples of the constructivist period and the symbol of Yekaterinburg city. The building was constructed in 1933 as a commune for the commanding officers of the NKVD, and after a refurbishment in 1961-62 it became the Iset’ Hotel. Never in my life have I had to live in places designed specifically for security officers. The rooms are characterized by their modesty and small size, the window looking out onto a dreary courtyard. I assume the life of a lonely security officer to be an ascetic life, placed in a similar chamber, he could only sleep, read and think about what more should be done to fight enemies and to dream for a better life. His own life in such conditions would not have represented for him any value, some sort of insignificant unit in a tiny closet.
Unable to sleep for excitement, I went for a walk in the night. The edifices of constructivism stood, restrained, everywhere, clearly distinguishable even in the dark. Passers-by with kind hearts, in a typically Soviet way, sincerely worried about my t-shirt, “Miss, you’ll catch a cold!” They were in coats, and the snow lightly fell. An announcement, which made me stop and read it in detail, was placed in the window of the library, where a column was written in large letters:

REQUIRED:
CUTTER
ELECTRICIAN
TAILOR OF HEADWEAR
CLEANER
SEAMSTRESS
LIGHTING TECHNICIAN
FIREMAN
YARD KEEPER
PROPERTY DECORATOR
HOUSE PAINTER

There was a strange feeling that this advert still remained from the olden times, when something was still required of everybody.

The next morning we arranged an excursion to visit the rest of the constructivist examples, which it was not always possible to immediately recognize under advertising extensions. In Yekaterinburg there is less money than in Moscow and so, some may say fortunately, the historic buildings, the pride of Russian architecture, have not been reconstructed. I can not exactly say what attitude inspires the temple to be covered on all sides by the enlarged black-and-white photographs of the executed Romanov royal family, but I must say, I have never in my life seen so much of the royal family per unit area. The documents, both authentic and otherwise, diaries and art publications (in all languages) showed the infinite images of tortured princes, all of it showed abundance and diversity. At the entrance there were two baskets with the words “Skirts” and “Shawls”, immediately adjacent to an impressive donation box, and a steel fireproof safe, which seemed more appropriate for the town of security officers than the temple. Parishioners with a grim carnivorous countenance hurry into the temple against the backdrop of the city of the future, forever remaining in the past.
Our tour guide Darja Kostina said “Now let’s go to the exhibition of contemporary art!” “On what?” we asked. “On what? Contemporary art!” Dasha categorically exclaimed. The city was proud: contemporary art has been brought to them too. Museum workers, having to suddenly deal with these modern travellers, were in confusion, “Do you want the catalogue?” they mistrustfully asked me. “Actually, it costs 100 rubles, but if you like it, we’ll give it to you.” In the modest facilities, in which repairs were urgently required, the attention of the audience was presented with Dmitry Gutov, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Alexey Kalimma, Blue Noses, AES + F, and other pillars from Pierre Brochet’s collection, an active French connoisseur of the skills of Russian art. The project, as it is now fashionable, included something about the future and was based on the past, with the present at which nobody leaves. In one corner, against the great works of Pavel Peppershtein, stood a table and chairs, well who would have thought that such a child-like picture could be serious art? Besides, it is too long. However, the exhibition, despite obviously lacking any love from the townspeople, showed some works which were organically formed in the environment: the best perhaps being the works of Valery Koshlyakov.
Whilst walking around the city, I discovered many fascinating nuances, which visually speak for themselves. The park really pleased me, with the simulators placed for physical exercise that are accompanied by detailed descriptions of how they should be used. My favorite was the “Drum for running on the spot”. In the park there are grandmothers, girls in red cloaks, incomprehensible-looking men and scary looking ones. But time passes, bringing to the city changes and developments, which at times in the most comical way incorporate what is in fact, its very essence. We can learn about some parts of this essence from Darja Kostina’s article on Forgotten Utopia.


Translated from the Russian by Luba Sirina.
Photos by the author.




01.02.2010

Comments

There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Borrowing heavily from fairy tales, fables and science fiction, the art of Magda Tóthová revolves around modern utopias and social models and their failures. Her works address personal and social issues, both the private and the political. The stylistic device of personification is central to the social criticism emblematic of her work and to the negotiation of concepts used to construct norms.…
Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands Wicked / Interview with Jim Hollands
“A person must shake someone’s hand three times while gazing intently into their eyes. That’s the key to memorizing their name with certainty. It is in this way that I’ve remembered the names of 5,000 people who have been to the Horse Hospital,” Jim Hollands told me. Hollands is an experimental filmmaker, musician and curator. In his childhood, he suffered through tough social situations and…
My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution My Career in Poetry or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Institution
An American poet was invited to the White House in order to read his controversial plagiarized poetry. All tricked out and ready to do it his way, he comes to the “scandalous” realization that nothing bothers anyone anymore, and instead of banging your head against the wall it is better to build you own walls or at least little fences.
An unsuccessful co-production An unsuccessful co-production
If you know your way around, you might discover that every month and maybe even every week you stand the chance to receive money for your cultural project. Successful applicants have enough money, average applicants have enough to keep their mouths shut, and the unsuccessful ones are kept in check by the chance that they might get lucky in the future. One natural result has been the emergence of…
ArtLeaks
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
Read more...
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
Read more...
prize
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
Read more...
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Read more...
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
2003, 21.5 x 28cm, Colour Drawing
More info...
334,80 EUR
Stu Mead's paintings touch the art world at a tangent. Not that he's exactly an outsider, having received a formal art...
More info...
55 EUR
From series of rare photographs never released before year 2012. Signed and numbered Edition. Photography on 1cm high white...
More info...
220 EUR

Studio

Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...
 

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

DIVUS NOVA PERLA
Kyjov 36-37, 407 47 Krásná Lípa
Czech Republic

Gallery, Bookshop and Cafe
open from Wednesday to Sunday
between 11am to 10pm

and on appointment
at shop@divus.cz, +420 606 606 425

 

Divus Perla
Gábina Náhlíková, gabina@divus.cz, +420 604 254 994


Divus Publishing
Ivan Mečl, ivan@divus.cz, +420 602 269 888

 

Design, Pre-Press and Printing Studio Divus
studio@divus.cz

 

Magazine Umělec
Palo Fabuš, umelec@divus.cz

 

Cafe, Bookshop & Library
Hana Turynová, shop@divus.cz, +420 606 606 425

DIVUS LONDON
Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom

news@divus.org.uk, +44 (0) 7526 902 082

 

DIVUS BERLIN
berlin@divus.cz


DIVUS WIEN
wien@divus.cz


DIVUS MEXICO CITY
mexico@divus.cz


DIVUS BARCELONA
barcelona@divus.cz

DIVUS MOSCOW & MINSK
alena@divus.cz

DIVUS NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Divus We Are Rising National Gallery For You! Go to Kyjov by Krásná Lípa no.37.