Russian Culture News
Russian Cultural Heritage Network news agency.
Issue #222 (16.12.2003)
1875 subscribers, since october 1997.
Registred by Ministry of Mass Media Russian Federation July,6 2001, #77-4675 SRT-016320 06.07.2001, ISSN 1684-9574
(c) 1997-2003 Russian Culture Heritage Network, supported by JSC "Internet"

An international project "Russia - Great Britain"
December 17, 2003 - March 10, 2004, Federal State Institution "State Historical-cultural Museum-preserve "The Moscow Kremlin"

There was opened an exhibition "Russia - Great Britain", this international project is dated for a 450-anniversary of an establishment of trading and diplomatic connections between Russia and Great Britain. It's a big cultural event in modern international relations between Great Britain and Russia and in the whole history of Russian-Britain cultural relations, which have a centuries-old tradition.

The chronological frameworks of this exhibition cover the so-called "Moscow" period (XVI-XVII centuries) in the development of mutual relation between Russia and England - from the first official contact in 1553 before Peter I epoch till the beginning of XVIII century. 450 years ago the ship " Edward Bonaventure " under Richard Chensler command appeared in Russian North in a mouth of the Dvina - river. The captain was accepted at a courtyard of The King Ivan the Terrible, and from this event began development of the English-Russian relations during the next centuries.

BodyCathedrals. Dieter Blum's Photography
BodyCathedrals. Dieter Blum's Photography

(Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum)

November 27 - December 27, 2003, The Benois Wing

Dieter Blum's "BodyCathedrals" exhibition introduces oeuvre by the famous German documentalist press photographer, traveller, adventurer, and widely known artist-photographer, whose works bear the spirit of freedom, insouciance, and enthusiasm. The title of the exhibition - BodyCathedrals - shows certain "sacral" intonation of the exhibition. In the centre of all Blum's works is "a work of art called Man". Through this the artist brings back reverence, respect, and admiration to the one who especially needs them - to the Man with their exceptional ability. Dieter Blum builds "cathedrals" of human bodies, lays the foundation of a new form of studio photography.

Blum has find his own special way of expression in photos of soaring ballet dancers and dancers of "imponderable" ballet. However, the artist is attracted by those skillful rather than by the technique of movement itself. When choosing subjects for his photos, Blum always try to find out what does all he hears and sees imply. His camera catches these hidden motives. This is why his portraits of politicians are so interesting. Among them are Willy Brandt, whom he calls "the opener of Eastern direction", chancellor Ludwig Erhard - "the father of free market economy", the present chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder presented not in a very vantage pose - with a hand in front of his mouth, as if yawning.

All the photographs of the "BodyCathedrals"series, which is the main exhibit of the exhibition, were made in studio, transformed into digital imageries, and transferred onto large-size aquarel paper (or hand-made paper). Blum calls this paper "the material which is good for museums and which will certainly last a century". Circulation never exceeds 10 copies not only because of expensiveness of producing such photographs. The idea of "the original" is very important to Blum; and it has been damaged due to endless reproductions, which appeared after technique of photographic replication was invented.

Benois Wing
Saint-Peterburg Griboedova channel, 2

Moscow - Paris. Igor Mukhin's Photography
From December 3, 2003, The Stroganov palace

The exhibition presents two series of works by Igor Mukhin, an interesting Russian photographer. "Moscow-Paris" project reveals unique atmosphere of either megapolis. At the same time, the author emphasizes common problems of citizens, especially those of Russian and French young people.

Igor Mukhin created his first works in the mid 1980s. It was the time when Soviet Underground art first appeared openly in Russia and became popular among western art-institutions. Owning to such representatives of the new generation of Russian artists as A.Rodchenko, V.Ignatovich, and A.Shaikhet, Russian photo modernism of the 1920-30s was rediscovered abroad. In Russia, all kinds of modern art were changing so quickly that photography seemed rather inert. However, works of certain authors exceeded the bounds of traditional camera journalism. Igor Mukhin, along with I.Kabakov, E.Bulatov, G.Bruskin, demythifies Soviet reality, using various schemas of modern art, especially those of the most powerful trend of the Russian Underground - Social Art.

Stroganov Palace
Saint-Peterburg 17, Nevskiy avenue
(812) 311-8238

Bernd Schwarzer. Europa
December 4, 2003 - February 2, 2004, The Marble Palace

This retrospective exhibition introduces oeuvre of the 1970s-2003 of the modern German artist - Bernd Schwarzer. He depicts both bright and dark pages of German and European history and calls upon to forget neither of the two sides. The artist sees himself as a pondering chronicler whose searching look investigates the world around him and seeks truth in our days. Bernd Schwarzer was born in 1954 in Weimar, a city in eastern Germany. Before the Berlin Wall was built, his family moved to Dusseldorf on the Rhine, a centre of West German capitalism and at the same time a centre of new art. In 1976 Schwarzer entered The Fachhochschule fur Kunst und Design in Cologne. Werner Schriefers, one of the leading German representatives of, originally French, Informel trend, was his teacher.

The Marble Palace
Saint-Peterburg 5/1, Millionnaya Ulitsa
(812) 312-9196, 312-9054

Bill Viola and Sherin Neshat. The International Video Art Festival [PRO] SMOTR
18 November, 2003 - 18 January, 2004, The Hermitage

On 18 November, 2003, in the General Staff opened an exhibition, which introduces the Russian public to the best samples of video art and shows how contemporary artists are using new media technologies to create works of art. The exhibition has been organized by The State Hermitage Museum in collaboration with PRO ARTE Institute, in participation with Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, with support from Ford Foundation; Consulate General of the U.S. in St. Petersburg; CEC International Partners, USA.

The Hermitage shows the video installations of Bill Viola, Greetings (1995), from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Sherin Neshat, Turbulent (1998), from the Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York. These authors have taken part in many international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, which is the oldest and most prestigious world forum of contemporary art. A valuable addition to the show are works by old masters, including engravings, drawings and Persian miniatures from the Hermitage collection, which make this exhibition a unique event both for Russia and most of the world's museums.

The State Hermitage
Saint-Peterburg 34-36, Dvortsovaya Nabarezhnaya
(812) 311-3601, 110-9604, 110-9601
Action Half Life. Episode 2
What is heroism in our times, when war, exploits, and pathos are just a part of a virtual show endlessly dissipating into mass circulation? Our show is total starting from its well-structured 3D computer games, its powerful Hollywood effects so wonderfully spent on saving private Ryan, its gala parade of Maximus' triumph in the Coliseum and ending with its especially selected TV reports from unknown and faraway places with exotic names.

Our heroes are teenagers emerging from the most "heroic" of life's phases. The teenage moment is the moment when a young shepherd can take heart and gain victory over a hulking giant and when an abandoned child can find the inner unction to extract the magic sword out of a rock to become king, vanquishing all enemies. All of our young heroes are conquerors in the virtual world. Their enemy is absent, and pain and suffering are forbidden by the very nature of the game. They are so alienated that nothing, not even their common virtual battlefield, inhibits their giving themselves over to pure personal exploit, to securing victory over an enemy that does not exist. The driving concept behind our art is our perpetual attempt to precipitate the "genome of heroism" out of today's world of glimmer reality.

Our title, ACTION HALF LIFE, is the name of real computer game.

Our heroes are teens carefully cast from among more than 500 top applicants who had first been screened by the best of modeling agencies.

The landscape for this project is the Sinai desert, which so rightfully deserves its selection as the main set of the next Star Wars episode. The armaments are specially crafted 3D mash blasters and instruments of other famous technologies that have been well tested and proven in previous virtual wars

Dwarf book of Saint Petesburg
The State Museum of Saint Petersburg invites you to visit an exhebition "Saint Petesburg Dwarf book" is dated for 25-anniversary of Saint Petesburg Dwarf book club.

You will be able to see about 700 editions of XIX - XXI centeres smaller then 10 cm on this exhebition. There are editions of Leningrad Bibliophil Society near Glasunov"s and Suvorin"s dwarf books. Also you can find books and brochures produced in blocked Leningrad there.

St. Petersburg Press History Museum
(812) 238-46-58, 311-0270, 312-0977

Gaining a Victory over Time
The first 'living' conservation center will be opened in the monastery of the Savior and St. Euthemius' dormitories on December 10.

At the museum the visitors will have the opportunity to see at first hand how the experts restore objects from the museum collection - icons, paintings, books, textiles and furniture - in their specially equipped workshops.

The exhibition is an experimental example of the open-to-the-public depository and represents the wealth and variety of the museum collection. Objects already restored and those in need of restoration shown together help to appreciate the valuable role of the conservator.

The Vladimir-Suzdal Historical, Architectural and Art Museum Complex
Vladimir region 43, Bolshaya Moskovskaya st, Vladimir
(80922) 42-0680, 32-4263 (тел. и факс), 32-2515
HRH The Prince of Wales to open new Enlightenment Gallery
December 11, 2003

On Thursday 11 December HRH The Prince of Wales will officially open the Enlightenment Gallery, the flagship project of the British Museum's 250th anniversary. The Prince will be met by the Duke of Gloucester and the Mayor of Camden, Councillor Nasim Ali, before proceeding to the magnificent new gallery where he will be introduced to the project team and benefactors and tour the exhibition. A number of key objects will be shown to The Prince, including the Maori tiki * exquisite ceremonial jade pendants - probably presented to Captain Cook at Hawke's Bay on the North Island of New Zealand in 1769 and now on loan from the Royal Collection especially for this new permanent exhibition. The Prince will formally open the Enlightenment Gallery in front of a sculpture of Zeus, King of the Gods.

The Enlightenment Gallery formerly housed the library of King George III "The King's Library" which was designed by Sir Robert Smirke (1780-1867) in the 1820s. Grade I listed, it remains the largest neo-classical interior in London and an unspoilt architectural gem. With the new exhibition Enlightenment: Discovering the World in the 18th Century the former King's Library now becomes the home to a 'library' of nearly 5,000 objects drawn from every part of the Museum's collection and focuses on mid-eighteenth to early nineteenth century Britain, the great age of discovery and learning into which the Museum was born, itself one of the Enlightenment's greatest achievements.

Arranged into seven sections which explore major themes of the Enlightenment in Britain, the wealth of objects on display range from a Maori handclub from Captain Cook's Pacific Voyages to Sir William Hamilton's elegant Greek vases and Sir Hans Sloane's curiosities, alongside classical statuary and contemporary busts of key Enlightenment thinkers and collectors. Also included are substantial loans from other institutions, particularly the Natural History Museum and the British Library which themselves sprang from the British Museum. The objects are arranged in the original glass cases, with each section divided by beautifully bound books on generous long-term loan from the House of Commons Library. The display is intended to be reminiscent of the way collections were viewed and experienced during the Enlightenment, when the Museum provided a virtual 'encyclopaedia of the world'.

Offering a new perspective on the Enlightenment in Britain, this Gallery will also act as a magnificent introduction to the Museum as a whole. Nowhere else in the Museum will such a broad range of objects from the collection be visible. Their presentation in an unusual and historic manner will complement and contrast with other parts of the Museum and will prompt visitors to reflect on the way that our understanding of the world has changed over the past 250 years and how it may change in the future.

Fred Williams: An Australian Vision
Etchings, Drawings and Gouaches in the British Museum

11 December 2003 - 25 April 2004, British Museum

Fred Williams (1927-82) is a key figure in 20th century Australian art, renowned in his native country for his singular vision of the Australian landscape. Williams remains little known in Britain, but a recent generous gift from the artist's widow of seventy etchings and nine drawings and gouaches has enabled the British Museum to present his particular interpretation of the Australian landscape to a new audience.

Printmaking is of central importance in Williams's work, and no other Australian artist of comparable stature produced such a large and significant body of prints. From the beginning Williams's practice as an etcher closely paralleled his development as a painter, and a striking feature of his work is the cross-fertilization of ideas and motifs between his painting and printmaking.

After five years spent working and studying in London in the 1950s, where his subject-matter focused on the music hall, Williams returned to Australia in late 1956 and realized immediately that he wanted to concentrate on the Australian landscape. Within months his distinctive vision began to emerge. Etching played a primary role in the development of his understanding of the subject, imposing the need to simplify and render abstract the motif. Williams's portrayal of the timeless and boundless Australian landscape through a discrete language of marks and new compositional formats profoundly transformed the way in which that landscape is viewed today.

The exhibition is the first comprehensive show of Williams's graphic work to be held in the UK and is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published by British Museum Press and written by Irena Zdanowicz and Stephen Coppel. The exhibition and catalogue are sponsored by News International Limited.

The Fred Williams exhibition is one of three concurrent Prints and Drawings shows scheduled for this period under the title Three Great Gifts. Also on display will be David Brown's bequest of modern British works on paper including major gouaches by Roger Hilton, and a century of gifts from the National Art Collections Fund (The Art Fund) by artists as diverse as Samuel Palmer, Tiepolo, and the Chapman Brothers.

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