‘Artistic Style Is a Mirror of the Soul’
A personal exhibition of Alexander Dzhikia, Professor the HSE School of Art and Design and Supervisor of the School’s track in Environmental Design, is now open at HSE ART GALLERY. HSE News Service spoke with the artist about how to search for one’s own style and why our environment needs to be designed by professionals.
The displayed works of Alexander Dzhikia are executed in a range of genres, including graphics, installations, objects, and photographs. For the exposition creator, as he himself says, art has no limits. He has been painting, writing poetry, and creating graphics for decades.
‘If a person has a wide range of interests and he knows a lot (not only in terms of art), then his works will also be wide-ranging and reflect his identify. After all, an artist’s style is a mirror of his soul. When searching for one’s own style, it’s more important to discover yourself than to search for your method,’ says Dzhikia.
The exhibition showcases the artist’s earliest works—his first attempts of honing his own artistic language. Despite the fact that these works, in the artist’s opinion, are ‘inept’, they bear a trace of his identity and contain a special energy of youth.
‘In the 1980s, for us students, the artists who were exciting were the artists who had already long ceased to be so in the West. You can’t explain this effect of belated time to the internet generation, but we were inspired by the avant-garde of the 20s. We loved Picasso and Rodchenko, who were long “out of date” there,’ says the artist.
According to the artist, his works of this period are quite independent: he didn’t look at foreign art magazines, and was by and large not familiar with current western art. ‘However, even back then the world was one and the same ideas were in the air. If I had ended up in New York during those years, I would have been close to the punk expressionists like Jean-Michel Basquiat. Only even then, I probably would have been a little more educated and a bit more cheerful.’
The works of this period (the early 80s) reflect the life of the author and his friends. Students who visited the exhibition shared their impressions of the professor’s work.
‘I’ve been wanting to see Professor Dzhikia’s exhibition for a long time, since I’ve seen his works online. His work is unusual. Very few artists render forms like him. I like how he depicts people. These are magnificent pieces,’ says Liza Goncharova, a second-year student of the Environmental Design track.
Natia Ananidze, also a student of the Environmental Design, which is headed by Alexander Dzhikia, says that she applied to HSE specifically so she could learn from him. ‘The exhibition is stunning. I love Professor Dzhikia’s work and am always inspired by it. I advise prospective students to apply to HSE—here you can have freedom of expression, which really helps you develop as a professional.’
According to Professor Dzhikia, environmental design is a significant subfield of design that speaks to the current moment. ‘Environmental design is a large area of design, adjoining architecture, modern art, and even theatrical performance. We try to teach students how to create artistic images of the habitat of the modern human—most often this is a resident of a large city. You don’t have to go far for examples—they can be found throughout our entire urban space, from subway cars to parades on Red Square.’
Architects create structures, and environmental designers fill these constructions with meaning, determining what will happen in these spaces, says Alexander Dzhikia.
The professor believes that the main trait a specialist in this field should have is the ability to think in images and envision future structures. The ability to build relationships with customers and contractors plays a significant role, as well. ‘Environmental design is a more extroverted profession than simply design. It involves constant collaboration with other specialists. We do not teach psychology, but I always try to emphasize that the ability to find a common language with people is no less important than talent.’
September marks the one-year anniversary of HSE’s gallery of contemporary art, HSE ART GALLERY – an exhibition space for the HSE Art and Design School. HSE News Service spoke with gallery participants about the gallery’s first exhibition of the new season, the gallery’s future plans, and student art.
On July 24, HSE University Rector Yaroslav Kuzminov and State Hermitage Museum Director Mikhail Piotrovsky officially signed a cooperation agreement. The university and the museum will collaborate on joint educational projects and research.
For a long time, it was mainly art and theatre critics who wrote for a wide audience about dance from a spectator’s perspective. Later, philosophers and ethnographers began to study dance from different angles. But only when people with first-hand experience, i.e. dancers, joined in, did dance and movement studies get off to a real start. Irina Sirotkina explains how dance studies evolved in the 20th century.
On June 18, the HSE Art Gallery opened a new exhibition, Comrades of Light, a full-scale installation simulating the space of a Soviet apartment with barely noticeable mutations and distortions. Within this space an alternative history of the Soviet Union unfolds on a sequence of matchbox labels, some of which are copies of real labels from the 1950-80s, and some of which are the creations of project authors Alexandra Kuzetsova and Darya Dolgopolova.
Currently, the Russian art market is made up of more than 20 auction houses, about 100 major galleries, 9 big private collectors, and over 20 thousand professional artists. Though it shows a lot of promise, it still has yet to come into its own. Researchers of the HSE Centre of Development Institute studied the contemporary mechanisms in place for trading paintings, graphic art, photography and sculpture in Russia, and they published their findings in a paper, ‘The Russian Art Market: 2018’.
The exposition ‘Osip Mandelstam – End of the Road’ located in the HSE building at 20 Myasnitskaya Street in Moscow reconstructs the final 11 weeks of the poet’s life and profiles many of his contemporaries.
A new exposition in the assembly hall of the HSE building on Staraya Basmannaya is dedicated to the events of August 1968: the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet troops. Here, you can see declassified documents from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union archives; leaflets and posters; amateur photos by railroad worker Josef Kut illustrating what was happening on the streets of Prague; and a ‘graphic diary’ by Czech artist Jiří Jirásek.
The HSE Art Gallery is the first of its kind among Russian universities. The gallery is expected to become a space for established contemporary artists and students to work together and share their experiences with one another. They will be able to not only present their works at the gallery, but also participate in the creation of exhibitions.
The exhibition Design NEXT opened last Wednesday at the Central House of Artists in Moscow’s Krimsky Val area. This is the continuation of the first Moscow Biennale of Design, which took place in 2017. During the event, group exhibitions by Moscow design universities were all brought together at a single location. The exhibition also featured personal expositions by Russian graphic, industrial, and fashion designers, including Anna Kulachek and School of Design Curators Alexandra Lartseva, Stephan Lashko, Philipp Tretyakov, and Tim Yarzhombek.
HSE School of Art and Design, in conjunction with UNIQLO, has unveiled a new exhibition entitled, 'New Life for Old Things'. The exhibition showcases a vast array of ingenious ways to give new life to old things - the most important aspect of sustainable fashion.