Author Topic: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA  (Read 11100 times)

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Offline MashkaShvybz4

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помните (Remember)

Last summer, whilst researching for a writing project based around the relationships between sisters, I remembered the Romanovs. I knew little of them then besides their tragic fate and so one day I typed 'The Romanov family' into Google and, without knowing at the time, it was a sliding door moment which has altered me in many ways.
After several months of research now, I feel I know them personally: know their likes and dislikes, their virtues and flaws; know how they would greet me if I met them, and that it isn't impossible that someday that could happen; that somewhere out there they are alive just as I am, because they are just as alive to me now as any living person I can see around me.
I wanted to do something to strengthen their memory and so i decided that the best way for me to do this would be to dedicate my final major project of my college art course to them. I wanted to create an installation that commemorated the girls and Alexei in particular because I feel i have the most synergy with them, being within their age range, as well as other reasons.
I wanted to post the outcome up here because I am very interested in learning the thoughts and reactions of people who nurture the same strong passion for the family and this nugget of history. Therefore, I would be extremely grateful to receive any feedback from you. Thank you,




















Visit: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/laurenrossfad

Помните
(Remember)

'Remember' aims to memorialise the children of the last Tsar of Russia by presenting an immersive environment from which viewers can form a vivid concept of the family's reality. It also strives to highlight the juxtaposition between the objectified monarchs or saints they were viewed and are still remembered as being and the ordinary family they were at heart. With this installation I am attempting as well to bring the past back into the present through the contrast between the modern layout and vintage elements that combine to create it.
I feel that I have been successful with achieving these principle aims. I managed to execute each part with precision and care and assemble the final piece I envisaged.

The breakfast table (1) acts as the primary element of the installation. I used the photos which the girls took of each other as they sat around a table one day in 1917, and scaled and cropped them accordingly in order to print life-sized versions of them and create an almost panoramic effect around a real table with crockery.
I wanted the table to be a representation, not a reproduction of the real one, and so the plain crockery goes a way in creating this effect.

Each sister has placed in front of them on their print a handcrafted concertina book, made from deconstructed vintage novels. Their Russian signatures have been imprinted by hand with liquid gold leaf. Inside, each book acts as a compressed compilation of facts and corresponding photos personal to each girl, to give viewers who are interested in learning more about them the opportunity to do so.
I wanted my installation to have several layers: to have a striking semblance at first sight and then for each added element to give some further context, and these books act as the final and most in-depth part of this spectrum.

The text embroidered into the tablecloth is a statement given by one of the guards of the Ipatiev House. The last sentence is left undone for symbolic purposes: in Russian Orthodox burial tradition, a deceased person is dressed in slightly unfinished clothing, with the purpose of this being for it to be completed in the next life. These end lines describe a thought considered by the guard but never acted on. In this way, it is in both ways incomplete.
It has further relevance in regard to symbolism as well, as the girls were brought up to never sit idly, to always have a piece of clothing to mend or embroidery to work on.

On the computer screen, a compilation of footage of the family is presented on loop (2). A piece of music also plays called the Cherubic Hymn, which serves to reinforce the strangeness of glorifying or stigmatising individuals who are no different from you and I, which continues to happen in modern celebrity culture today.
   
The same concept is communicated through the icons presented on the left wall (4). They combine the casual poses the girls take on in the life-sized prints with the glorification of Byzantine iconography. I placed them on the wall directly facing the table setting to further promote the message the icons themselves serve to communicate.

For Alexei, an attempt is made, with the help of the viewers, to fulfil his desire of a small monument of stones to be build in his memory, as well as that of his parents and sisters, by asking viewers to write their own commemorative messages on one of the pebbles provided, which will collectively go toward creating a stone cairn (3) after the time of the exhibition. This gives an outlet to communicate what has been gained from this instruction.

Lastly, a second life-sized print is presented on the outside wall (5). With some effort, you can imagine the four of them amongst the company of those in the studio, who are living one hundred years later.

Offline Превед

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2015, 02:37:26 PM »
Sounds interesting, but I can't see the pics you've uploaded. Perhaps your post has too many pics?

On the computer screen, a compilation of footage of the family is presented on loop (2). A piece of music also plays called the Cherubic Hymn, which serves to reinforce the strangeness of glorifying or stigmatising individuals who are no different from you and I, which continues to happen in modern celebrity culture today.

Very interesting! And the discussion can be extended to: Is your artwork religious art? Or is it right-wing political art, since OTMAA were representatives of a reactionary system (of which you show no criticism) and they were the victims of left-wing violence.

Something in your artwork has interesting parallels to the Soviet cult of child hero Pavlik Morozov: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pavlik_Morozov
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline MashkaShvybz4

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2015, 03:05:58 PM »
Thank you. I really can't figure out how to upload photos on here. They're all on my blog page though that I've given a link to. I try again to post them on here though. Thank you for the artists link. I shall have a look at it. I specifically wanted the piece to not be political because, as the innocents they remain, OTMAA are exempt from any political position. It primarily aims to showcase the family as ordinary, relateable human beings.

Offline Превед

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2015, 03:25:16 PM »
Thank you. I really can't figure out how to upload photos on here. They're all on my blog page though that I've given a link to.

Is it because your tumblr account is private? When I click the link I come to the log-in page and I don't have a tumblr account.
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline Превед

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2015, 03:27:49 PM »
There are some rules about how many posts in which sections are required to post pictures. Check out the Help pages.

Is this your tumblr account? http://laurenrossfad.tumblr.com

I could upload this picture from it:


Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline MashkaShvybz4

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2015, 03:31:07 PM »
Oh is that the problem! Thanks for solving that mystery for me! Yeah, that's one of the photos. My Tumblr account isn't private, I'm not sure why it's not letting you see posts without logging in? I'll try and figure that out.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2015, 09:23:00 AM »
This is so intriguing I wish I could see it in person!

I love the books, and the life-size photos.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Превед

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2015, 10:58:22 AM »
I specifically wanted the piece to not be political because, as the innocents they remain, OTMAA are exempt from any political position. It primarily aims to showcase the family as ordinary, relateable human beings.

Well, is art ever unpolitical? Can art be unpolitical? :-) If all your art wants to is to inform, isn't it just like the information and "recreations of the past" of a museum? But then, are museums ever apolitical? If it is meant as a memorial, well they are never apolitical.

OTMAA, or at least OT, were not apolitical. One can argue that they as adults worked in the "family firm", supporting the thitherto most destructive war in the history of mankind and trying to save the imperialist world order. A war against their own German uncles, aunts and cousins. If anyone were to question the reason behind that war and realize its lunacy it would have been them. Yes, they were women in male-dominated world and had a very limited perspective of the world, but they had better formal education than the majority of the Russian soldiers who fought in WW1.

Any art extolling them will be praising the conservative virtues of duty, obedience and passive compassion.

BTW your choice of a breakfast table with a coffee / tea service set surely seems to be a grim allusion to Lenin's famous statement about the revolution not being a tea party!



« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 11:10:12 AM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline Превед

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2015, 11:16:59 AM »
OTMAA, or at least OT, were not apolitical. One can argue that they as adults worked in the "family firm", supporting the thitherto most destructive war in the history of mankind and trying to save the imperialist world order. A war against their own German uncles, aunts and cousins. If anyone were to question the reason behind that war and realize its lunacy it would have been them.

They knew the truth about Germany, whereas the ordinary Russians cheering the declaration of war in 1914 could be led to believe (let themselves believe?) that the Germans were the anti-Christ, hellbent on destroying Holy Russia. The strange thing is of course that their killer, Yakov Yurovsky, also had seen and experienced the real Germany. Perhaps it played into his motivation or justification for killing them?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 11:18:39 AM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline Превед

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2015, 11:27:59 AM »
BTW did you ever consider contrasting OTMAA with Putin's two daughters, all of them innocent children of reactionary men with blood on their hands? Strangely enough there is also a common German perspective, as Putin raised his family in East Germany. And a very long historical perspective, as Putin is the descendant of serfs owned by Romanovs in the 17th century. Just like the Romanovs rose to power as stable employees, Putin's grandfather was a cook to Stalin.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 11:31:49 AM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline edubs31

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Re: помните (Remember) - Installation Memorialising OTMAA
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2015, 08:37:26 AM »
'Mashka', it's taken me a while to catch up here and hopefully I'll have more to contribute soon. For now I just wanted to say I think your project is stunning, and I thank you for sharing it on the AP!

Hopefully more folks will notice this topic thread and have some feedback to offer you. But either way, keep up the great work!
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...