It’s time for the dacha

The Roza Azora Gallery, Moscow
from the 30 of May to the 17 of June 2012

Don’t make any plans for this Saturday, Katia called and we are going to the dacha, from one dacha to another, from Peredelkino to Snegiri, the usual route. Happy children will lock up in the kids’ little house where they will have a full array of old, heavy, iron toy cars collected by grandpa and you will not be able to smoke them out, even though smoke will be plentiful at the dacha, that nostalgic tarry pine cone smoke from the samovar that Katia got for her birthday and somehow got upset and we were comforting and teasing her about a new great chance to drink tea by the bucket.  Continue reading “It’s time for the dacha”

Dovecotes and mausoleums

“Every building has a cultural aspect and if we decide to notice it, then we observe the building as architecture”
Andrew Ballantyne. Architecture

“No theoretical constructs can explain architecture. Architecture is still the synonym of mystery”
Konstantin Mel’nikov (from his diaries)

Imperfection, which conceals the surrounding world, or more often joyously highlights it, overwhelmingly annoys ordinary people. On the contrary, for an artist, this imperfection is a source of endless happy surprises. It happens that while the artist is looking for these “samples of imperfection”, he gets ready to overcome obstacles, which could be space, time, overgrown weeds on an abandoned cemetery or a lot of construction garbage which closes the entrance to a resettled yard in the centre of Moscow (another victim of the admirers of “perfect shapes”)…  Continue reading “Dovecotes and mausoleums”

The mysterious yourt

Arxitekturny Zhurnal, 2009

Once I went to Katia’s yurt.

It happened in Karakalpakstan. I remember well that state of total peace and protectedness from the outer otherworld, a feeling that was neither hostile nor familiar. It was simply a different environment, so much different from anything I have felt or tried before, that I felt my escape to the bosom of the yurt as a return to where I had initially come from, to the place where most people usually forget the way. A whole set of feelings was painted in unknown colours: the smell of the felt, the hum of the wind, the absence of windows in a spherical space. Only scattered light from the top defined the objects, many of which looked far from archaic, but rather quite respectable, taken from the world of vanity and madness. There was a hearth in the middle — far from centrifugal repulsion, it exerted a magnetic pull. You are hidden in the cocoon of good — no corners, no hysteria. This is a model of the world, of the universe. You are on the ground, surrounded by the colorful gauze of patterned ribbons, engirdling your safe atmospheric layer around its circumference. Beyond is ruin, darkness, and emptiness.  Continue reading “The mysterious yourt”

Weapons and tools

by Ekaterina Rozhkova and Bogdan Mamonov
Fabrika Project, Moscow
from the 15 of March to the 3 of April 2009

The title of the exhibition “Weapons and tools” is highly topical.

Indeed, what is modern art — a weapon or a tool? This question was raised a little less than a century ago in the time of historical and cultural emergence of the avant-garde. Since then the discussions about the functions of art have not stopped.

This question cannot be separated from the general debate about history: how can a New World start, through revolution or evolution? In this century we have heard different answers.

Let’s remember what Mayakovskiy said: “I want the pen to be on a par with the bayonet…”. Even then not everybody agreed with the author of A Cloud in Trousers. Tatlin and El’ Lisitsky, heroes of the Russian avant-garde, thought about their work as a construction of a new consciousness and art as a tool for this work.  Continue reading “Weapons and tools”

The Masereel dome

It turned out that silkscreen is associated for me less with the States and Andy Warhol but more with Flanders and Frans Masereel, the expressionist painter. There is also a printing studio of his name near Antwerp.

I worked in Flanders two years in a row, spending there entire November each time.
Only this strange settlement of artists breaks the peace of Kasterlee village, surrounded with frozen blackberry bushes on one side and cornfields on the other. A uthors of the printing studio project clearly did their best to blend it into the surrounding environment. The main building is roofed with black dome, like a huge yurt; around it there are hovel like houses for the nomad artists. It seems to have been conceived as a temporary site, a camp assembled with light construction, always ready to dart off and be carried away to some other pastures. A spiral stairway is screwed into all the interior spaces of the studio. Printing machines, presses and litographic stones stand around.  Continue reading “The Masereel dome”

A strange house

A strange house? A strange day or shade?
No one strange is here, no stranger.
Simply new flesh.
A story about the time without bodies,
without the bodily.
There were just souls.

The knots are the prints of hands,
heedfully gathered,
as only KR can,
meanings swaddled tight by a mother,
images and experiences.

All is explored and appropriated.
Everything is worn out and worn OURS. Continue reading “A strange house”

A mechanical life

“For me the noise of Time is not sad: I love bells, clocks, watches — and I recall that at first photographic implements were related to techniques of cabinetmaking and the machinery of precision: cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing, and perhaps in me someone very old still hears in the photographic mechanism the living sound of the wood.”
Rolan Barthes. Camera Lucida

We live surrounded by things that make sound. Some of these sounds belong to sophisti-cated mechanisms which we ourselves set in motion. The soundtrack of our life is connected to time and place. I can imagine very well the sounds of a cycling road in Beijing, or the sound of the lift in the old grandma’s house. Some sounds have a magic power in them. For instance, Roland Barthes wrote that for him the organ of photography is not the eye, but the finger, associated with the click of the lens, with the metallic sliding of the plates. For the project The West. The time machine I offer four mechanisms, four machines, which personify their time and place in history and which, not quietly, did their job.

Ekaterina Rozhkova


Catalogue of the Art London exhibition, 2003

Ekaterina Rozhkova’s graphic series “Plates” has a special place among art that focuses on traditional aesthetic values and on plastic representation. Despite the clarity of the works, they contain no stylistic addresses: they show no photographic realism, although everything is drawn very realistically. The large format of the easel works, the technical extravagance of the classical drawing — all of this creates an unusual effect, where the oppositions of a tired technique seem neutralized. The very notion of “graphic art” can hardly be applied to these works — they show the monochromatic pictorial quality that was sought by the symbolic painters at the turn of the last century. The glimmer of the surfaces, created with the texture of the base, the scratches extend the boundaries of “graphic art”. As a result, one can talk about a painter who painted “live”, and about the works as mystical bodies that are created at the boundaries of the ordinary, quotidian, and because of this touch on the sphere of the invisible. Continue reading “Plates”

Another reality

Elle Decor Magazine, 2003

Georges Sand thought that simplicity is the hardest thing in the world, and only true professionals and geniuses can reach it. An exhibition of Katia Rozhkova was shown At the Artplay gallery. Rozhkova draws simple objects such as buckets, plates, typewriting machines, trees — objects we know since childhood, but in them is hiddent the entire universe.

Katia Rozhkova draws with an ordinary Koh-i-noor pencil. She takes her time, is thorough and meticulous. Every crack, every scratch and nick — the traces that time leaves on things… She likes to play with her pencil, to take pleasure in how the silvery lead follows the unattainable and yet extremely simple logic of the object being depicted. She likes to play on the surface of the paper with different shades of gray, black, and of the silvery metallic color. The objects of her pencil meditations are her personal mandalas. Continue reading “Another reality”

Catalogue of the exhibition in the Museum of the East

Museum of the East, 1997

Ekaterina Rozhkova is a very young artist, but a very mature viewer. She has been brought up by two traditions, the Moscow painting school of the 1970s and the traditional Japanese calligraphy. From these two very national sources her work draws a quality that transcends the national and temporal in art. She is a rare graduate of VGIK who found her place in the visual arts rather than in film. Due to a strange set of circumstances that brought her to Japan, she is a rare artist who mastered both plot-ful and plot-less art. Rozhkova began as an artist who depicted a person’s world through the person, and as such as an illustrator of human stories and moods. A portrait painter whose characters live in a fickle world, stretched and scattered by perspective. The Japanese experience was, as the artist herself has said, extremely difficult and at first alien. It was not easy to repreduce her usual literary characters on the hand-made paper, using transluscent ink and thin brushes. Continue reading “Catalogue of the exhibition in the Museum of the East”