Artist Alexander Kornoukhov reflects on the ancient technique of fine art in the context of contemporary culture
According to the artist Alexander Kornoukhov, without dialogue with the classics of modern art lacks a system of coordinates. Approaching the ancient principles of the image, the penetration of the properties of the material allows the artist, avoiding the imitation, to achieve an unusually high level of skill. Kornoukhov works in the traditional religious art technique mosaic authorship and he owns many works carried out for the Orthodox churches. Among them are two Moscow church - the church Mitrophan Voronezh and Transfiguration Church in Tushino (for this work the artist in 1994 was awarded the State Prize laureate), as well as the Church of the Sign in Krasnogorsk, Cathedral in Tbilisi, and others. Secular projects Kornoukhov received no less famous. Alexander Kornoukhov - a recognized master, performing a wide range of orders, and his work, organically combining tradition and individuality, is in demand as never before modern audience.
- Do you work in technology, which has a long history, but your works with amazing precision fit into the artistic space of time. What, in your view, explains the relevance of the mosaic today?
- Mosaic - vehicle history: ancient, medieval. Her blossoming, of course, was at other times. On the scale of modern existence mosaic occupies the left position: it is exclusively material, and the current culture tends to virtualization to transform physical image in the idea. Perhaps the new interest in the mosaic can be called a kind of neurotic reaction to these strong ideological streams.
Mosaic - technique is very slow, viscous, is building itself. It is interesting is their process. The process is long and everything in it has its own format, its own rhythm. In parallel to the mosaic are two traditions: the construction technique and expressive, and between its construction and visual entities constantly being exchanged.
In addition, the mosaic can get closer to first principles, to the beginnings of an image, and it is extremely important - we live in a time before the images are very far away (so children get to know many phenomena on the first picture, and then only to see them live). This property contributes to the mosaic of its material: in the stone has a lot of evidence of properties, it is always different, and he easily agrees to be a way. From this perspective, mosaic today is justified: it gives the feeling of the very first, initial acquaintance with something real, unequivocal. The fate of mosaic in modern culture is linked with the broader issue of the classics: classic endlessly vynyrivayet to the surface, as it neither topish in the past. Between modernity and the classics certainly fastened dialogue, dialogue with something high, permanent. Without this dialogue, the art lacks a system of coordinates.
- Your art features of particular relevance to the materials that you use in the mosaic. It is not only the traditional smalt, and stone, ceramics ...
- There is obvious to me how important, energy-filled time of phenomena, that is, the whole process of the mosaic. The reality of the artist is that he should, thinking thing, find somasshtabny material. In a mosaic work, I often use a different module - that is the size of the particles that make up the mosaic. The contrast of refined materials, such as smalt, with a stone, with a larger module, in my opinion, is justified: thus increasing power of the image. It also comes from our time.
Materials which are on display in art galleries, as a rule, themselves become refined product, but rather windows, does not demanded by the master. It turns out that artists acquire materials to serve their images in any other way. A similar situation with mosaics. Buy Italian smalt not only expensive - often turns out that one is not always possible to do anything.
It is important that the materials have lived their lives, circulating freely. And often the fantasy of the artist resorted to what is achieved relatively easily. For example, waste from stone processing industry, or chipped facing stones. This is a wonderful material, and, once again brought to life in the space of art, they may decide surprisingly sophisticated tasks, obtains its special value. Hence my interest in ceramics baked or river stones-naked. Often in smalt mosaic and stone switch roles ...
Any material should not be considered only as a service. It should always shine the freedom of the material-bum, and not the business of stone. For example, wild krutolobye stones (they sometimes do not cut it and do not raskolesh) have got me a set of geologists, often play a leading role in the image, in contrast to the humble, those that are easily sawn and standardized.
Formula mosaics - a game between the two components - solid particles and the binder, mortar, they perpetuate. This binder component has traditionally been with lime, and it is arranged in such a way that the volume of stone is unsaid: that part which is immersed in the solution, not visible to the viewer. Thus, the eye does not detect it as a whole as a mass, as the energetic particles. This allows the viewer to actively finish building the image. The task of the artist - to leave the stone-free, not to block it, do not align for graphic lines, ignoring its mass, its energy potential.
- You have repeatedly made a mosaic for the Orthodox churches. This work is naturally connected with the great tradition of Orthodox art, including, naturally, and Byzantium. Which way did you come to an understanding of your place of work in this incredibly rich tradition?
- Many topics relating to the existence of mosaics in the Orthodox Church, still remain unsolved. Now I would like to talk about the mosaic as part of the architectural image of the temple, not the mosaic as an icon - a very special and difficult problem. The existence of mosaic in the temple area has its own peculiarities: it is a special place in the relationship of furnishings, paintings and architecture itself. Mosaic - this is not a panel or machine-image: it includes the details of physics, and all the concrete architecture.
The very architecture of the temple was perceived in ancient times not only as a design, but as a sacrament - the idea of superiority is very important for the church culture. Mosaic in the space of the temple, in turn, begins to work just as mysterious architecture. It creates a unified visual world: we can see how it is organized from small pebbles to a holistic manner and occupies the central position, fills all space. This technique has the energy forever arguing image, thirsty primacy to the actual design, to architecture. But once the mosaic into a decorative panel - that is, occupies a special place reserved for her, does not compete with the architecture - it loses its deep symbolic significance.
My first thought on this subject were related to the book, VN Lazarev's "History of the Byzantine style. I was immediately struck by the amazing strength and reality, provability form mosaic images. For many years I tried to understand how this was accomplished. The notion of reality, provability image in every age, it was his own, and mosaic has accumulated vast experience in this regard. The art of mosaic has come to an incredibly high level, when possible living, throbbing life of most songs, constantly changing depending on the point of view, the choice of details of scale. This quality of composition, to this higher form of artists, including secular, seek and XX, and XXI century.
Ecclesiastical art should always be true: traditionally, but not "zashtampovano. This becomes possible when the artist takes responsibility, does not transfer it to the technology. To accept the creation of an image, the artist must not simply copy existing sources, but also penetrate into the ideas that live deep in the material, in its properties. In addition, there are whole areas of culture, in which the accumulated parallel testimonial experience: for example, in the ancient technique of sewing, to some extent close to the mosaic, or in the technique of portrait miniatures. This experience allows us not simply copy and create a clear, strong "reconstruction of events."
- Each temple has its own specifics. Tell us how your art interacts with the environment, for which and in which it is created.
- After a fairly long period of work in this area I have formed an increasingly clear idea of what the very architecture and is the image: the artist can not drop out of architecture. As an example, I cite his work in the Church of the Transfiguration in Tushino. The temple itself can be called a "model" - of such churches in the late XIX century was based quite a lot. Work there had to be done from scratch - on the walls there was nothing. The peculiarity of this project lies in the fact that the temple was complete, a continuous mosaic decorations. In this I did not follow some ancient samples, because the most ancient temples rarely received continuous mosaic decoration. More often, mosaic was used only in certain critical areas in the token against the church - for example, in the sanctuary, the dome, the central nave. What Tushino temple was covered in mosaics - to a certain degree of intervention in the tradition. But thanks to this mosaic as possible to survive the re-building walls - in fact the very technique of mosaic can be seen as partly a building.
In medieval churches attended and other parallel technology and components, such as stone carving: capitals, cornices. When the whole decoration of the temple is performed exclusively in the mosaic technique, the artist has to solve the problem as major architectural articulation. Stone, who uses mozaichist, should be both beautiful and meaningful: it depicts the power elements of architecture and at the same time associated with certain subject compositions.
The design elements will include an image of the cross on the vault: in ancient times the cross was a locking element of the dome. After the temple oshtukaturivali, this cross is depicted in the painting. Other major architectural divisions - for example, the arch - also are chapters in the story, which is called the Painted Church. All this occurred gradually, not because I already knew a great deal. That work was done three and a half years, has allowed me to read, to guess, to learn from experience events.
- Tell us a little about the other churches, in which you worked, and of the artistic challenges that you had to solve.
- I would like to mention my work in the Cathedral in Tbilisi. This cathedral was founded in V century and rebuilt many times. I saw his goal was to identify the mosaic with very early origin of this temple. Before me an interesting task - to penetrate the most ancient layers of time. Mosaic was not only to grow together with the building, she had to watch from the depths of time on the later stages of construction and reconstruction, such as the XIX century. This problem - not just a virtuoso, but almost dangerous for the artist.
As for my last job, which is not yet over - mosaic for the Orthodox Church in Zurich, - and there I found myself in a completely different situation. This building formerly belonged to Protestant churches, and therefore lacks Orthodox architectural form in which it would be convenient mosaic. However, the image is constructed on the basis of what has already implemented architecture. I tried to create a project of mosaic decoration in accordance with the place where the temple, and not to transfer its space ready-made idea. I imagined the building of the Zurich church as a basilica - that is, the architectural form of the western church architecture. In accordance with the way I conducted its work, using the tradition of murals and mosaics in the early churches of basilica type. Another feature of this room - large windows, beautiful lighting. This allowed me to use the effects of subtle shades of natural stone, which might otherwise be invisible.
- The secular order, at first glance, gives the artist greater freedom. But, on the other hand, every customer and every order dictates the requirements ...
- When working with any secular, private ordering is demanded of the experience of the artist, which he at this moment can realize. Value for the customer desires and what can an artist - this is a very delicate balance, and there are many questions that simply can not be resolved in advance. If the customer has full confidence to the artist, it could be that he actually copied one of their existing work - and it is a disgrace to the artist. But if you trust the artist, then its internal state and level of skill, which he reached this point, can be fully manifested in the order form. Typically, large work, which stretch a year or two - a process whose outcome is unknown. Passage of this long journey is new for the artist, and for the customer. If both are sensitive enough, there may be unexpected and interesting solutions.
- Sometimes if the customer gives you full freedom to work on the project?
- Of course, this happened, and very often. In addition, I was engaged in its practice is not only a mosaic, but also the decision of the interior in general. In this case, a mosaic could be only part of my work, along with stained glass, paintings, ceramics, cast. The ideal situation for me - a work in collaboration with the architect. One of these experiments was a mosaic in the wellness center in Strogino. The mosaic is at the windows of which overlook the pine forest. It continues the theme of landscape, but in a different, mythological space. I have used in this work motivation Villa Adriana - monument of ancient architecture.
The task of the artist - poeticize a room, with whom he works. In this case it was a swimming pool: accordingly, I compared the theme of real water and water, which is depicted in the mosaic. I tried to present as a way of swimming as a wonderful mystical holiday. In this room, mosaic was needed to maintain a high level idea of the process of bathing, but she was not supposed to turn into a moral tale, as often happens with a monumental art in the era of socialism. Clipping should be physically consistent with the medium, the appointment of the interior. Я вижу в этом роль современной мозаики: она должна провоцировать реальность.
I had other very interesting secular orders, for example, projects for the Center for Space Communications in the city of Dubna. This work can be attributed to architectural design: the aim was to translate the form of architecture in the category of sculptural phenomenon. Walls go inside and stand forward design of metal and glass, which figuratively associated with large Japanese radar and other technical masterpieces, the appointment of this building. Thus, the whole building turns into a large three-dimensional sculpture.
From this standpoint, I proceeded to work for the German center in Karaganda, using the technique of stained glass art to make sense of the very texture of the walls, changing the properties of their material - in this case the concrete. When working with an interior for me is always very important to identify the life of materials and their contrasts. For example, when I did stained glass for the building of Russia's embassy in Bonn, I submitted a cast bronze stems - the constructive elements of stained glass - as cracks in the glass. Imagery, concluded in the very nature of the material is always present in secular and religious orders - in this I see the specifics of my work.
Mosaic gradually ceases to be an attractive technique and returned to its architectural nature. As one of its tasks in the future I see the expansion of urban space, figurative building of modern city. A new image mosaic connects urban and natural landscape, beyond the purely interior solutions. Moreover, the very modern world becomes more diverse, mosaic, and this ancient technology now comes in a kinship to her environment, in which all the disparate parts gradually acquire integrity.
Interview by Maria Roguleva
On materials of the site "Russian businessman"
Alexander Davidovich Kornoukhov was born in 1947. Graduates graphics Moscow Polygraphic Institute, since 1978 - Member of Arts Council Works of monumental and decorative art since 1984 - Member of the Bureau of monumental section of Moscow Union, laureate of international competition mosaicists in Ravenna, Italy (1986), State Prize winner (1994), winner Gold Medal of the Academy of Painting (2002). At the invitation of Pope John Paul II and with the blessing of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II has created a mosaic decoration Redemption Mater Chapel in the Vatican Palace.
Mosaics in the House of Culture. Reutovo, 1978.
Architectural composition. Space Communication Center, 1980-1982 (with L. Kurylo).
Mosaics in the winter garden. House of Culture Cheboksary appliance factory, 1982 (with L. Kurylo).
Stella "Nature and Man" (working for the international competition mosaicists), Ravenna, Italy, 1986.
Mosaic tympanum. Cathedral, Tbilisi, 1989.
Mosaic in the apse. Temple Mitrophan Voronezh, Moscow, 1989-1990
Mosaic in the dome and in between. Church of the Transfiguration, Tushino, Moscow, 1990-1992 (with L. Kurylo).
Frescoes and mosaics. Private house, Sassari, Sardinia, Italy, 1992 (with L. Kurylo).
Mosaic in the dome and Chetverikov, mosaic icons and the king's gate. Church Signs, Krasnogorsk, 1992-1994.
Mosaic "Last Supper" and frescoes. Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Newspaper lane., Moscow, 1998.
Mosaic in the wellness center Strogino, 2001.
Gate mosaic "Resurrection". Church of the Resurrection, Danilov Lane., Moscow, 2001.
Mosaic interior in private apartments. Mansion on Kozikhinskiy lane., Moscow, 2003.
Mosaics of the east wall. Church of the Resurrection, Zurich, Switzerland, 2003.
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Mosaic - not the most common technique in modern Russia decoration of churches. Artist Alexander Kornoukhov - one of the few who are seriously engaged in this rare art.
Among his works - the decoration of Tbilisi Sioni Cathedral commissioned by the patriarch of Georgia, a mosaic of Moscow churches - the Transfiguration of the Savior in Tushino, Saints Cosmas and Damian in Shubin, of the Assumption at Assumption Vrazhek and other churches in the towns of Russia, Ukraine and Italy. Now the artist makes a mosaic mural for the Church of Three Saints in the suburban Archangel. Three years Kornoukhov worked on the mosaic of private chapel of Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
- This chapel is devoted to 2000 anniversary of Christianity - says the artist. - Working on its decoration, I took a lot of the traditions of early Christian churches such as Santa Maria Antiqua, Santa Maria Maggiore. It was almost a farewell glance at the plastic of the times: now it is in demand only in museums. Subject mosaic: Heavenly Jerusalem - twelve thrones, behind which sit on the three saints, mostly early Christian. The topic was interesting to me: it affects the time when the church was united.
WP|But to complete the work you can not: why?
Kornoukhov|I think the administration of the Vatican felt that the anniversary of Christianity contact with the Eastern Church have organized. Just then there was a meeting between the Pope and Patriarch in Graz. Do not romanticize the Vatican: like any church, is in a sense, the institution where ordinary people are engaged in career matters. The image of the Pope's interesting because he was in the Vatican a kind of Hamlet.
Look at how much has changed over the past decade: in the middle of last century was the postulate of the infallibility of the Pope's throne, hung above the floor, to head the guest was provided at the feet of the Pope. And suddenly - an unprecedented democratization! It is from the mouth of the Pope, I learned that he was not feeling very clever with the papal court and to much attitude with humor. Working in the Vatican, I did not go into the intricacies of etiquette. But when the Pope came once to see my work, and he has not filed the form that I broke etiquette, clad in a white suit: the visitor should not meet the pope wear red and white things. In general, he was very tactful, with the Greek behaved in Greek, with the Jews - the Jews.
WP|How do you, the Orthodox artists working in the center of Catholicism?
Kornoukhov|In this job, I received the blessing of Alexy II. When I talked to the rector of the Russian church in Rome, he said he did not consider the non-Orthodox city: there are many shrines that are meaningful for Christians, two million graves of the first martyrs of Christianity. And what was done by me in the Vatican, - a good non-belligerent mission, rather than "hard-core missionary activity."
WP|How do you think should be in the church strictly follow the canons of art, or should strive to create a new one?
Kornoukhov|Kanon - not a set of fixed rules, but a living legend. But we lost the continuity of this living. Soon people will get tired of the endless repetitions of the same, only in the worst case. On the other hand, the artist can not trust only their imagination. The main task - to adapt the famous themes for each house special, it just inherent proportions.
WP|How do you feel about the fact that many churches in Russia are now painted in a realistic manner XIX century?
Kornoukhov|If the artists at the same time begin to get involved in the ancient times, it is as unconvincing as the naturalism of the XIX century. Although the latter originally bad, because it reduces the high images. On the other hand, the majority wants to see it is, then so be it ...
WP|You think first image, and then the means by which it will perform?
Kornoukhov|In the Church ordered the very structure of the temple has given topic. For example, the image of Christ Pantocrator in the dome will be a key, hence the strong form, making His presence in the temple of the tangible. Generally mosaic - one of the manifestations of architecture, otherwise it becomes a souvenir. It is not always understand, and often a mosaic on the verge of kitsch.
WP|Who is in our country is funding the construction and decoration of the temples?
Kornoukhov|If this is a major object of state significance, going to the board of trustees, which is developing a program of funding. If a small parish, the collection of funds is the same as in the world: the priest addresses the congregation. And there are people who give money and it is always perceived as a miracle: after all, to lay out their own money, you need something in themselves to overcome.
WP|When working for the church, have internally set itself?
Kornoukhov |'s not a question that so many days of prayer, so many - fast. We must love the image that you are doing. I always start with a mosaic perebiraniya stones ...
WP|You among cultural figures signed an open letter to the authorities that in Russia destroyed the monuments of architecture ...
Kornoukhov|Yes, kill history, and soon we have nothing left except the place of execution. We have little responsibility - such a national trait. But any house, even if it is not built by architects of genius, interesting, bears the cultural information. We have also a keen desire to preserve the "dilapidated buildings", destroying them first, then re-erected, not observing technologies of the past, making, say, lime in concrete homes and destroying the historical image of the building. In Western Europe, worry about it! You come into a model house in Rome, and then the wooden beams that are saved with obscure times. And no one is afraid that everything will burn. We are all to be bound in the concrete ...
"Rossiyskaya Gazeta" - federal issue № 3759 from 29 April 2005
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