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Mirage-House. Installation ( 2010-10-07 )

Mirage-House is an installation conceptually bound with the Museum named after P.V. Kuznetsov, the latter being one of the most prominent representatives of Saratov School of Painting in the late XIX - early ХХ centuries. Museum named after P.V. Kuznetsov is one of the centers of the cultural life in Saratov. Art exhibitions and events held in this Museum are aimed at integrating the actual art into the city space. Museum curators are carefully studying the city history and its interrelation with national, cultural and timing aspects. Museum named after P.V. Kuznetsov is located in the historic center of Saratov, on the picturesque slope of the hill. It views the church, ‘Zhuravli’ Monument, and Glebuchev Ovrag – once a river bed, now a multilayered landscape spotted with squatter settlements, chaotic plantings and urban wastelands.

The Mirage-House project is a part of the event initiated by the Museum curators together with architects and arranged to coincide with Pavel Kuznetsov’s anniversary. The idea was to create a design object on a certain place on a set topic. The place for the project realization is located outside the Museum estate limits. It is a small open space well viewed from all sides and being crossed with a number of footways. This place has a potential for a compact, landscaped promenade area. This place has been already familiarized with temporary events, pavilions, objets d’art. The topic for the present event is ‘Gulyanka’ - a word used to indicate small boats carrying people across the Volga river. This word also means a party, fun event. The main function of the projected object is to serve as an arbor, a place for meditation, relaxation. The object design has accumulated a number of different characteristics. We’ve found this place attractive due to its multidimensional perception from various angles. Existence of communications and paths running through the hill creates an effect of a certain transparency and a possible transformation of the object perception while passing by or even through it. Proximity to the Museum and conceptual relationship with it refer to the creative work of Pavel Kuznetsov. His painting ‘Mirage in the desert’ has become a starting point for the present project. Like many others, this work conveys an airy and ephemeral atmosphere of the Russian steppe. Color plays an important role. Cool palette, airy tones, the so-called ‘maiden coloring’ being characteristic of Kuznetsov’s works is also typical for Saratov places since the time of the Golden Horde (judging by some archaeological findings). All these resulted in the ‘mirage’ design concept of the installation object. From the distance the arbor seems to be something material, when getting closer it becomes simply a mirage! The object consists of 72 square timber beams connected together only at the bottom. Such an ‘unsolid an incomplete’ construction is an allusion to the given topic ‘Gulyanka’. The construction is slightly ‘walking’ in the wind like a plant. Each side of the object painted with a different color is either tuned with plants and sky, or contrasting the surroundings. When walking along or around this object, its different colors create the effect of color vibration and play. At the same time every color when taken apart, gives an impression of a newly created object. The spirit of the place, of archaic ‘wooden’ Saratov is interpreted in the material chosen for the installation - a rough hewn timber. The name of the installation as if ‘sprouting’ out of the earth, one can read when up on the Museum terrace. This kind of encrypting indicates the invisible link between the objet d’art with the Museum named after Pavel Kuznetsov.