In September 2020 an exhibition “Catching the Big Fish” took place in the Eastern pavilion of St Michael’s Castle of the Russian museum. It featured 86 artists from 14 studios and non-government organizations.
Its aim is to present to the public artworks by self-taught artists, the variety of techniques and materials, as well as studios and projects which support the authors with special needs from St-Petersburg.
The exhibition was visited by 1000 people. Two lectures by an art researcher Anna Suvorova were held online: about the phenomena of art brut, and how the interest towards it has been developing.
More studios and artists can be found in the exhibition catalogue and on the website (RU).
Catching the Big Fish. Part 1
OUTSIDERVILLE - Olga Fominykh, Nina Luchinkina - project organizers, curators
STUDIO 6 - Vera Svetlova - artist, Alexander Nedera - art critic
ANTON TUT RYADOM - Arina Zhuravleva, Ekaterina Vasilieva, Aleksandr Kedrov, Evgeny Rozov, Ekaterina Muravina, Ekaterina Yushkova
PROSTYE VESHI - Maria Opotskaya, Katerina Shraga – heads of the studio
Outsiderville provides art therapy and creating conditions for creative self-realization for people with mental disabilities. The project supplies outsider art artists with vital necessities and supports them on the way to financial independence.
Outsiderville interacts with art studios and art therapists of psychiatric and social institutions, independent outsider art artists and cultural institutions in Russia and abroad, implementing various exhibition projects and programs.
Ascension du Pate (2019) by Ilya TsarevThe State Russian Museum
Ilya Tsarev was born in Omsk in a family of sailors, studied philosophy, culture and management systems. At the age of 21 he moved to St. Petersburg, where he began to try his hand in prose, and began to master various musical instruments. In 2016 he took a painter’s brush.
Ilya is not afraid of experimentation, quotes and references to famous artists, which often provoke discussions around his works.
Olga Fominykh about freedom
First of all, we communicate the importance of a non-directive approach to educators. This is the very first thing. The task is not to teach how to draw correctly, but - how to use materials and techniques. The challenge is to discover your own handwriting, your own style, to reveal your potential. And now - the atmosphere of freedom and unlimited [this is the most important].
Ilya Tsarev's works become more and more complex and detailed. According to the author himself, his painting displays his inner experiences, inspired by fantasy, esoteric literature and existential prose of the 20th century.
Elizaveta Khudyakova began to draw at the age of 11 in graphic computer programs. Soon the symptoms of the disease appeared, so she had to stop for a while. Inspiration returned two years later when Elizaveta unexpectedly grabbed pencils and created her first self-portrait. After a break at the end of 2019, the artist began to work actively again. In 2020, she entered a college in Kaluga, became a nominee for several international competitions and took part in the first serious exhibition.
With The Last Bit of Strength (2020) by Elina DollThe State Russian Museum
Elina Doll studied art at children’s art school and the Children's Design Center in the Anichkov Palace. Later she graduated with honors from the University of Industrial Technology and Design with a degree in arts and crafts.
Creative searches helped Elina to survive the conflict with society, rejecting her extravagance and eccentricity. These problems ultimately forced the artist to isolate herself from the world and devote herself to art.
Mikhail Ardashnikov has been fascinated by history, anthropology and literature, myths and heritage of various cultures since childhood. Later an interest in art also appeared: he was charmed by the severity of geometric bodies, the expressiveness of the black line in illustrations. But the real craving for creativity emerged later, when he dived into art as a self-taught artist. The desire to explore the problems of cognition, archetypal cultural symbols and the architecture of dreams helped him to develop their own system of signs, which plunges the viewer into the whirlpool of mysticism.
Torn Out in the Spring. Triptych part 2 (2019) by Mikhail ArdashnikovThe State Russian Museum
Nina Luchinkina and Olga Fominykh: “Art Studios Are Needed”
You can see an artist. Why such studios are needed next to institutions, because a psychologist and an art therapist can help there. This is the best combination when both are possible. And better - a psychologist and an artist as one person. If this is a professional and competent person, he/she will always see the potential, or an already formed person, but who is silent and does not say that, for example, he has an archive of works at home. And here he draws, because he has a certain state.
Sarah Gertsman experienced mental illness in early childhood. Until the age of 20, she tried to cope without doctors, and then decided to seek help. Months of changing doctors and medicines followed. But now, for several years, the girl has been living on her own. She graduated from the “Free Workshops” School of Contemporary Art and works as a graphic designer. She knows firsthand what stigmatization of people with mental disabilities is, so she openly talks about her own experience. Recently, the artist herself started conducting art therapy workshops.
Studio No. 6
Art studio of the Psychiatric Hospital No. 6 (Studio 6) was founded in 2005. Its work was initially based on the Swedish experience of social and creative rehabilitation. In 2012, the workshops of the medical rehabilitation department were opened, where the population of the hospital practice painting, graphics, sculpture, ceramics, animation and theater: both inpatients and those undergoing outpatient treatment. The studio's archives contain over 6,000 artworks.
Aleksander Chellak is engaged in several workshops of Studio 6 and creates diverse works, among which there are large pictorial epics, graphics and sculpture. One of the artist's favorite themes is space and the universal mind. Aleksandr had several collective exhibitions, including the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial (2017), and his personal exhibitions were held in Marata 64 art center (2016), Colonel's Workshop Gallery (2018) and KunstVitrina (2018). The artist's works are in private collections.
The Architecture (2020) by KMThe State Russian Museum
The artist, who acts under the name KM, is the author of an original large-scale architectural terracotta model of 60 objects. KM's parents worked in the construction industry, and she herself has extensive experience in restoration work. KM is a participant of Studio 6 since 2019.
Igor Malyshev specializes in very fine and carefully designed graphics, which he makes with an ordinary ballpoint pen. He also creates ceramic sculptures, revealing in them the images of a monk or a wise old man. Participant of collective exhibitions of Studio 6.
Tamara Nikitina participates in the art workshop of Studio 6 since 2016. She also visits a sewing workshop and makes original textile collages and hand embroidery. Tamara is embroidering after drafts of another artist of the studio - Elena Glinina. Tamara participated in collective exhibitions of Studio 6. Her works are in the collection of the Museum of Street Art.
The Masks (2019) by Sergey SevastyanovThe State Russian Museum
Vera Svetlova about revealing a creative potential
When you are in the workshop, we start helping to realise this creativity. It can be for one day, that's all. And that will be enough. A man - an artist for one day does an excellent job and disappears. Or it will be some kind of project - a very long, lengthy, maybe painful, but on purpose we do not foster the authors, we do not teach them a lesson. No. This is complete freedom.
Sergei Sevastyanov creates ceramic sculptures. His works are characterized by an expressive surreal fluidity. It was Sergei who came up with the idea of the name of the rehabilitation creative workshops - Studio 6. He has been working in the art workshop since 2012, constantly participating in collective exhibitions and festivals. Some of his works are in private collections.
Elena Glinina works in the Expressionistic Naïve style, taking an active part in all the workshops of the rehabilitation department: she is equally fascinated by textiles, art, theater, sculpture and animation. Permanent participant of collective exhibitions of Studio 6. Winner in nomination “Expressionism” of the of the creative contest of Tsarskoselsky Vernisage Festival in Pushkin, 2018.
Comrade Stalin is Making a Report During the Intergalactic Congress at the Komsomolskaya Metro Station (2018) by Sergey FedulovThe State Russian Museum
Vera Svetlova about the meeting place
Just a meeting place, but among paints, brushes, cardboard, paper, full of confusion. And this is for a person who lives in the right forms of life, or vice versa - in extremely wrong ones: communal apartments or some, perhaps, difficult conditions. For a person who does not have the habit of being in an art workshop, this is already a form of catharsis. And if he becomes comfortable there, then this, one might say, is done.
Sergey Fedulov draws from an early age. After school, Sergei entered the restoration college, but never graduated. He began to paint from life, but always dreamed of finding his own special technique. The artist reads a lot, is fond of science fiction, is prone to supernatural interpretation of social collisions. Sergey's style can be called fantastic realism. He also likes to paint animals often portraying his own cat Masyanya. Sergay has been working in Studio 6 since 2018. He is also supported by the Outsiderville project.
The video interview with Sergey Fedulov
Anton Tut Ryadom Center [Anton is Right Here]
The center for systemic support for people with autistic spectrum disorders Anton Tut Ryadom was opened in 2013. The mission of the center is to help to its students to fulfill their potential, at the same time giving to society access to their creative resource resources.
The heart of the Anton Tut Ryadom Center is the creative workshops where students and craftsmen work together. Now there are 10 workshops in the center, which make ceramic dishes, wooden interior items, textile bags, notebooks and much more.
Ruslan Sosiev has been fond of painting since childhood. In the graphic workshop of the Anton Tut Ryadom Center, he paints his mood with concentration and confident brushstrokes. He achieves this effect with a subtle combination of colors and motifs. In the ceramic workshop Ruslan works with large forms, creating massive jugs, plates and mugs. Interests and hobbies become the main themes of his works, acquiring new meanings.
At first, in the graphic workshop of the Anton Tut Ryadom Center, Aleksey Alferyev drew with a pen or pencil, very rarely using paints. Once he painted bright yellow melons - and since then his attitude to color has changed. Aleksey likes to interpret famous paintings, adding noticeable details to them. Collage is one of his favorite techniques. He selects and combines elements of his works, grouping them according to themes and plots: disasters, technology, surfaces, and so on. Alexey prefers contrasting colors and willingly experiments with different graphic techniques (shading, scratching).
Ivan Gryaznov is fond of history, collects old postcards and newspapers; he is mesmerized by TV shows and newscasts. Television is one of the main motives in his paintings. Ivan draws up broadcasting grids, remembers the plots and the names of the presenters by heart. Another important theme in Ivan's work is people. He combines images of loved ones with documentary sketches of a bygone era, creating his own reality. His friends appear on screens in programs from the 1990s or in fictional sets.
Andrei Maystrenko works in the bookbinding workshop of the Anton Tut Ryadom Center: he draws, sews notebooks and prints on fabric. The heart of his work is cinema. At home, he often watches films, and then draws his favorite scenes and characters. Andrey prefers to work with colored pencils, focusing on shading shapes. His bright pictorial language is gradually changing: earlier the manner was more scrupulous, and now it acquires more air and freedom.
Ilya Smirnov came to the workshops of the center in 2015 immediately showing himself as a talented artist. Most often, he depicts plants - trees, flowers - with confident color control. In 2017, his works were exhibited at the Hermitage: for the exhibition "In Paints Alone" Ilya created paintings inspired by the masterpieces of Matisse and Derain from the museum collection. Now Ilya continues to progress as an artist in the bookbinding workshop, experimenting in graphics and printing on fabric.
Anastasia Ermolaeva received a tailor's diploma and since 2016 has been working in the sewing workshop of the Anton Tut Ryadom Center. Anastasia began to draw during breaks: she needed something to do to rest from sewing. In the process of drawing, she tends to be strictly ordered, as in sewing: over and over again reproducing certain forms and carefully tracking the number of elements. She takes plots from her life: favorite artists, plants and beloved ones.
For the years of work in Anton Tut Ryadom Denis Sirotkin has tried himself in different workshops, but it was in the bookbinding that his artistic and writer’s talents were revealed. In his works, he adheres to a strict design: he builds blocks of objects, and then divides them into parts, hatching slowly and confidently. Denis works only with felt-tip pens, paints repel him with their unpredictability. An important element of his work is text. He writes daily about everything he sees.
Interview with Denis Sirotkin at the Anton tut Riadom Studio
Inclusive workshops Prostye Veshi [Simple Things]
Inclusive workshops Prostye Veshi are a space where adults with mental disabilities work and create alongside with professional craftsmen and volunteers. Now there are six workshops: graphic, sewing, ceramics, culinary, carpentry and art studio. This project’s aim is to build a sustainable system so that people with mental disabilities in Russia can have a paid job and become part of society, and not remain isolated. About 50 artists and artisans with special needs work in Prostye Veshi.
The fear of identification is relatively new and very actual. Daniil Berdnikov’s “Group Portrait of 9b Grade” clearly shows how we look, being all registrated and uniformed. All the pupils look the same, as if for the sake of the correctness of the pattern. This is a painting that replaces photography, which gradually loses its mystical effect.
Vyacheslav Mikhailov’s painting expresses the spirit of our time in parables and puzzles with the lightness of a comic book. Vyacheslav is a philosopher, but his philosophical language is volatile and metaphorical. Twins in identical bowlers and black deuces from his "Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Moonlight and Winter Evening" look more like the characters from “True Detective” TV-series. Their similarity is akin to the similarity of two lighthouses from another Vyacheslav’s painting, reflecting on the problem of difference and repetition.
The cars of Aleksandr Kurbatov seemingly composed of mosaic figures of Kazimir Malevich, could become huge colored stained-glass windows. Instead of multi-wheeled cars one can see a portrait, a face, a head with large. Aleksandr developed his own concept of color. The same color scale is reproduced with persistence and precision in different works. It invariably contains the sad purple of sunset and hot chicken yellowness of the first, encouraging sunbeam of the morrow.
Maxim Vorozheikin is passionate about animalistic genre and portraits. The expressions on the faces of animals and people come out similar, equally full of surprise at life. The spotted jaguar and Demi Moore in a T-shirt with mushrooms look somehow unkind, with anger and even fear. Maxim depicts his models decoratively, as if as a keepsake for unknown distant descendants, who in hundreds of years will see these characters as we now see the images of the pharaohs and cats of Ancient Egypt.
Mikhail Gavrichkov was born in an artistic family and has been painting since early childhood. Having mastered various fields of visual arts, manufacture of ceramics and wood painting, he has been participating in art exhibitions since 2015. A detailed description of the world as large collection is the creative method of an artist who is used to work with different and sometimes difficult materials. All these details make his portraits in the scenery of a house or garden, as well as fantastic paintings with colored multi-storey buildings equally truthful.
Embroidery is a ritual art. The stitches contain a message: a love spell, a wish, a talisman against the evil eye, a curse ... Natalia Astanova's embroidery is also her personal necessity. For her, embroidered paintings are a way to communicate with the world, share impressions
Still life (nature morte) is a favorite genre of a lonely artist. Melons, grapes, peaches, apples and pineapples are his friends. He can talk to them, tell them a story, and immediately perform it out by placing the model objects. Viktor Suzarev paints paired characters: two pears, two watermelons, two leaves. It seems that at first he painted only one watermelon, and a second appeared on the canvas by itself. Loneliness becomes cooperation, friendship, love. The artist puts paints thickly, and they glow brighter, as if he were painting on glass. Light overflows the picture.
Fragment from the guestbookThe State Russian Museum
The exhibition is held by the Department of Sociocultural Communications of the Russian Museum.
The Department of Sociocultural Communications is a team of specialists in different fields of humanitarian knowledge and art, engaged in creating an open and accessible cultural environment.
Anna Tsvetkova, Deputy Director General for Development and Public Relations of the Russian Museum
Olga Goncharova, project manager
Ksenia Torström, project curator
Anastasia Volodina, project coordinator
Natalia Petukhova, curator of the online exhibition
Sofia Krylova, Google Arts & Culture Coordinator
Anastasia Volodina, audio and video editor
Alfiya Shageeva, audio transcription
Anna Tankova, translator
Leonid Tsoy, translator, editor
The organizers of the exhibition express their gratitude to the Russian Center for Museum Pedagogy and Children's Creativity and philanthropist Kirill Shishkov for supporting the exhibition.
Поймать большую рыбу. Часть 1