10 Russian public art works on display around the world (PHOTOS)

'Heart' by Vasily Klyukin from ‘La collection’ art park on the territory of the Lucerne hotel Chateau Gütch

'Heart' by Vasily Klyukin from ‘La collection’ art park on the territory of the Lucerne hotel Chateau Gütch

Press photo
Works by Russian artists can be found not only in museums and exhibition halls around the world, but also in parks, on squares and other public spaces.

1. Andrey Filippov. ‘Saw’. Thessaloniki, Greece

Artist Andrey Filippov conceived his ‘Saw’ project after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2006, he realized it at the ‘Modus R’ exhibition in Miami; a year later, he presented it at the first biennale of modern art in Thessaloniki. The steel surface of the saw with giant teeth literally grows from the ground – this represents both the border between the East and the West and the struggle between the capitalist and socialist blocs.

2. Sergey Katran. ‘Neo-Babylonian Dialogue’. Étretat, France

The ancient gardens of Étretat have more than 150,000 plants. In 2015, they were supplemented with modern art – the vast green space was transformed thanks to collector Marina Lebedeva and landscape architects Alexander Grivko and Mark Dumas. Walking the alleys of the gardens, you can see ‘Seashell’ by Alena Kogan and ‘Neo-Babylonian Dialogue’ terracotta sculptures by Sergey Katran. The latter is the visual embodiment of the sound wave when pronouncing the word ‘art’ in different languages. 

3. Aristarkh Chernyshev. ‘UserPic’. Lucerne, Switzerland

This video sculpture is the result of an experiment with 3D-texture and RGB LED technology. The artist himself calls this work a monument to a user’s profile picture. It’s constantly changing, which embodies how we only see the image people want to show on social media. Guests of ‘La collection’ Air art park on the territory of the Lucerne hotel Chateau Gütch, where the work is located, can take a good look at the image appearing on this ‘Möbius strip’. The park and hotel have other works by Russian artists, including the works of Vasily Klyukin (on the cover pic), Nikolay Polissky, Anya Zhelud and AES+F.

4. Ilya and Emilia Kabakovs. ‘The Observer’, Castello di Ama, Italy

At the Castello di Ama estate, they have not just been producing wine for several decades, but also looking for the genius loci along with modern artists. There’s also the work of the duo Ilya and Emilia Kabakovs, ‘The Observer’, hidden in the old gardener’s house. You have to peek at what’s going on within its walls through a telescope from the owner’s house – it reveals angels and people talking at the table.

5. Adil Aliyev. ‘Violinist Nestor’. Lintusalo Island, Finland

Near the Lintusalo Island ferry on Lake Saimaa, you can see a musician, sitting on a boulder and playing a violin for a ringed seal who is peeking out of the water. This sculpture by Adil Aliyev appeared in 2019. He was inspired to create it by the story of a local blacksmith named Nestor Reponen. He lived there in 1912-1986 and was, apart from everything else, a good musician and played the violin, the harmonica, the accordion and the mandolin well. Once, Nestor noticed that a Saimaa ringed seal had come to listen to him – an astonishing occasion, since it’s considered a rare and shy animal. 

6. Viktor Polyakov. ‘Exodus’. Shenzhen, China

Viktor Polyakov works at the crossroads of different genres, creating kinetic sculptures, where light and movement have become the main protagonists. In 2015, he created the ‘Exodus’ figure for New Tretyakov Gallery, which cast shadows onto the facade of the museum, turning it into an art object. Several years ago, a new version of this work appeared on one of the squares in Shenzhen, China. The six-meter kinetic sculpture is composed of four independently moving elements that cast colorful patches of light onto the surroundings. 

7. Nikolay Polissky. ‘The roots of the Loire’. Blois, France

The works of the main Russian land-art artist seem like they’ve always been where they were installed. There’s an object by Polissky on the territory of the Chaumont-sur-Loire castle, built by Diane de Poitiers in the vicinity of Blois, where garden festivals are held regularly. ‘The Roots of the Loire’ is a part of its permanent exposition – an object made from interwoven roots. 

8. Adil Aliyev. ‘Reach for the Sky’. Yiwu, China

The artist created the first work of this series at 16 years old: he depicted Gagarin not as an explorer of space, but as a child who wishes to travel to faraway stars. Since then, the series has also acquired Napoleon, Kutuzov, Suvorov and other historical personalities. Aliyev worked for two weeks on the six-meter figure for the ‘Futian Wet Land Park’ theme park in the Chinese city of Yiwu: a boy in a baggy t-shirt and a dented pot on his head instead of a helmet looks up, accompanied by two jolly dogs. 

9. Zukclub. ‘Mind gap’. Tulum, Mexico 

The ‘Zukclub’ association is well-known in Moscow, thanks to murals – portraits of famous writers and poets, created by the artists on apartment complex facades. But then, for the artists’ residence in Mexico’s Tulum, Sergey Ovseykin and architect Kirill Kosteev created an art object right in the jungle in the shape of a spaceship – titled ‘Mind gap’. The four-meter metal “flying saucer”, adorned by a bright pattern, is “a flying object older than 900,000 years”, in which homo antecessor, “the preceding people”, probably arrived on Earth. 

10. Roman Yermakov, ‘La Paloma’. Buenos Aires, Argentina

In one of his interviews, Roman Yermakov said that public art is impossible without a dialogue with the viewers. When such a work begins to slightly change the space around it, “creating a unique code of the place” – that means the artist has fulfilled their task. In 2020, a touching sculpture titled ‘La Paloma’ of a gentle-blue dove appeared in Buenos Aires, in Palmira Estudios. As the artist himself confessed, this was the first work for which he didn’t do any sketching.

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