Unusual art complements modern urban landscape

Avant-garde artistic installations to supplement ‘granite-bronze’ city architecture

By Andrey Veselovsky

Ales Kudryashov, 22, is a third year student at the Arts Academy, studying monumental painting. He loves to view intricate patterns using a kaleidoscope presented to him by a St. Petersburg colleague. The game of light and shade inspired him to create an installation entitled Corridor of Eternity, which mirrors the Simon Bolivar Park in Minsk. It even won the Art City contest (a Belarusian-German project aimed at transforming urban environments).

“Since the 1960-1970s, public art has gained increasing popularity worldwide. Instead of being focused on museums and galleries, painters create their pieces in streets. Static monuments give way to temporary installations and performances which always involve audiences,” explains the co-ordinator of the project, Minsk Goethe Institute employee Vera Dedok.
Public art combines the outrageous and serious. For example, German sculptor George Tsai (who gave a master class in public art for 20 Belarusian artists last October) is known for his zebra statue in a prison yard — a sad parody of the ‘world in stripes’.

“The contest gathered 14 people, uniting both young and already honoured artists,” Ms. Dedok tells us. “We’re suggesting that Minsk City Executive Committee create the winner’s project in 2012.”

Mr. Kudryashov shows us his drafts; an outlandish 10m construction aims to divert us from our daily routine and material values. Viewing this unreal mirror landscape inspires thoughts of eternity. “I’m interested in synthesising arts, being fond of poetry and cinematography. Working with architecture is important for me as a monumental artist. I will need to work with mosaics, stained glass windows and frescoes,” he says.

Installations usually exist for a short period of time — several days or weeks, mostly in spring or summer. We hope Minsk’s architectural appearance, with its monumental bronzes and rich Empire-style decorations, will soon be supplemented by public art pieces which are truly democratic and modern.

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