"French people". Author’s project by Sergey Barkhin Automatic translate
с 12 Июня
по 7 Июля
Галерея искусств Зураба Церетели
ул. Пречистенка, 19
The Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Russian Academy of Arts opens an exhibition of works by the national artist of Russia, Honored Artist of the RSFSR, State Prize laureate of the Russian Federation, academician of the Russian Academy of Arts Sergei Mikhailovich Barkhin. The exposition presents more than 80 copyright graphic sheets with illustrations to the famous works of French poetry.
The author’s project “The French” by the famous scenographer, book artist and architect Sergey Barkhin was implemented by the Russian Academy of Arts in conjunction with the Open Club Gallery and the Piranesi LAB experimental print laboratory on the verge of exhibition and book presentation formats. In addition to exhibiting illustrations for the works of Francois Villon “Ballads in the thieves’ jargon”, Arthur Rimbaud “One Summer in Hell” and the heroic medieval poem “Song of Roland”, the book “The French”, published in a limited edition in silk-screen printing technique, is presented as part of the exhibition. Its appearance deserves special attention, since it goes beyond the typical tasks of modern book publishing. Having published the book, Gemini Publishing House, organized by Sergei Mikhailovich, his sister Tatyana and daughter Anna, has been preparing a series of monographs of the famous family since the early 1990s, as well as books of memoirs and compositions by other authors, for example, The Odyssey of the Poet. LORA translates TONINO ”(T. Guerra, 2009). “The French” is a thematic and experimental book that combines in three notebooks, at first glance, works of French literature that are irreducible in meaning, aesthetic direction and language. Look closely and attentively, because the line of artistic interpretation of the text found by S. M. Barkhin through a comparison of the historical and biographical nuances of individual texts allows us to talk about a dialogue that avoids the principles of the established literary canon.
In addition, this book interacts with various contexts related to particular moments in the history of publication and translation of texts. So, it is worth noting that in the notebook “A Song of Roland” illustrations accompany the free poetic arrangement of Sergei Pavlovich Bobrov - translator, literary critic, poet and representative of Russian futurism. This adapted translation was published only once - in 1943. Today, a book with a circulation of 25,000 copies, published by DETGIZ, is a bibliographic rarity. It is supplemented by the popular science introduction by Ilya Erenburg and atmospheric illustrations by Maria Sinyakova, who caught the cantilens and the epic spaces of the early events of the Reconquista by the graphic architecture of the images. “Free Arrangement” appears in the “French” as a tribute to the book by which many Soviet readers began their acquaintance with the French epic. Similarly, a reminder of a lost or unaccounted for cultural memory appears in relation to the notebook “One Summer in Hell”. Paradoxically, the French editions of Rimbaud are rarely illustrated, and, for example, one of the collections published during the poet’s lifetime, “Insights”, was never published with illustrations. Therefore, in 2017, Sergei Mikhailovich completed the drawings for "Insights" and two years later continued his creative and research work.
In an era when the status of a book has at least changed and hardly corresponds to the degree of social significance that was half a century ago, the preparation of such independent publications and exhibition projects becomes an important support for the formation of a renewed book culture. In a situation of information dissemination by means of digital media, it is a constant individual search and assessment of a regularly changing state of affairs that may be decisive in maintaining and developing this culture. A professional critical view of literature and art unrelated to ordering and third-party institutional financing will perhaps determine the nature of future book publishing. So far, combining the book as a thing with its exposition version in the space of the “white cube”, we have the opportunity to find out the specific point of view of S. M. Barkhin and get acquainted with his pastel “mise-en-scenes” showing French genius storytellers, wanderers and singers unthinkable freedom.
The text is based on an article by art critic Alexander Salenkov.
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