Sculptor Sergey Falkin: "Sculpture speaks its own language, and stone—carving sculpture is a separate nationality"

Sculptor Sergey Falkin: “The sculpture speaks its own language, and stone -abroad sculpture is a separate nationality”

Sculptor Sergey Falkin: "Sculpture speaks its own language, and stone—carving sculpture is a separate nationality"

Sergey Falkin, whose works are kept in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum and in other museums, experts call the founder of a new direction in stone-cutting plastics. The master tells about himself and the peculiarities of working with solid colored stone.

— Sergey Alexandrovich, you are a journalist by education. By vocation — a sculptor...

— I was not born a sculptor. It's just that from infancy I had an interest in needlework. As long as I can remember, I've been coming up with something, then I tried to blind, draw what was swarming in my head. In a sandy ravine, I built roads on which cars, sculpted by me from plasticine, drove. Cut out of cardboard and painted soldiers. He made cannons out of coils and played out some kind of battle… At school, I was awarded a ticket to Artek not for my studies, but for my art — I made wall newspapers, painted, made.

It was interesting for me to do all this, and it was always present in my life, although for a long time it was something side. It was not perceived by either me or my parents as something serious. Therefore, after school I entered the Physics and Mathematics faculty of the Pedagogical Institute. Math was easy for me.

— But you didn't become a mathematician...

— One spring, at the end of the second year, I suddenly imagined my future: so I graduated from the institute, I work at a school, maybe even as a director… I felt uncomfortable, I realized that this was not mine, and threw out a trick — I went to the military enlistment office. It was, as it seemed to me then, the only way to leave the institute and change my fate.

I served in Lithuania, in the airborne troops, which I do not regret. And I don't think it's wasted time. I was engaged in self-education, went to the library, I had the thickest form in the shelf. In parallel, he drew, became interested in woodcut, graduated from the correspondence School of War correspondents. A little published in military newspapers. All this is in parallel with the service.

At that time I was already thinking about literature, about doing it seriously. About fine art — not yet. Before the demob, he took a referral to the Leningrad University Faculty of Journalism. I imagined that I would study life and study literature in parallel...

— How did you understand what you really want to do?

— When I analyze my own life, I see that everything is built on chance. Something happened somewhere, I met someone, and it changed my fate... A lot of people pass by each of us, cases, events happen all the time. But we may just not notice, not react. Or, if you are ready for this accident, you grab her by the trunk, and it changes your life. You are doing something that is not directly related to your main business, but it changes your way of thinking. A little bit, a little bit...

— For example?

— In parallel with my studies at the university, I studied at the literary association of Alexander Kushner, visited the studio of Lev Ovchinnikov's drawing, met different people. I really liked it all — talking about poetry and art, literary communication… One day my wife's sister gave me a set of tools, and I began to carve wood (it wasn't difficult for me, because I loved such activities since childhood). Once I showed my work to a friend from the studio, and he took me to the studio of the sculptor Viktor Stavnitzer. At first I just watched, listened, learned something, eventually I started helping with orders...

Another case: the editor of the newspaper in which I worked after university introduced me to the head of the editorial and publishing department of the Hermitage, and at some point he said that he had a free bet...

- Did you design catalogs at the Hermitage?

— Yes, but not only that. The Hermitage is kind of my alma mater. Because the amount of information that overwhelmed me there affected me very much. When you go to work every day, past antique vases, past Rembrandts, pass through the basement of the Winter Palace, you can't help but absorb it all. The very opportunity to touch it is priceless, and I could still ask my stupid questions to the keepers, restorers. And they answered me, explained, told me. That's what gave me the foundation, the foundation. I may not remember some dates, the artist's birthday, but I know that era, that time, the state in which he was, how his movement and transformation took place. I understand these basic layers. Without the Hermitage, I probably wouldn't have this understanding. Or the path would be quite long, different.

Well, in parallel, I had a life in modernity — working with Stavnitzer in sculpture, in wood… It was such a stage of formation and formation, the origin of some thoughts and feelings. And these are all accidents.

— You took part in the reconstruction of the Amber Room in Tsarskoye Selo...

— Yes, I worked for a year in the Tsarskoye Selo restoration workshops. By this point, I already had wood carving experience. It was not difficult to switch to another material. And it was a very useful experience.

— Now you work mainly in stone. What attracted you to this material?

— Solid colored stone tends to decorative and applied art, it has been embedded in it since ancient times, from the ancient Greeks. Caskets, vases, table figurines are made of stone, which decorate everyday life and by themselves do not carry any emotional, semantic load. And I have always been interested in sculpture, color in sculpture and stone as a material for sculpture. I thought about it all the time and crept up gradually, because humanity has practically no world experience with stone as a material for sculpture. Meanwhile, the variety of stone is amazing — color, structure, expressive possibilities ...

— What is the peculiarity of working with stone?

— What is sculpture? This is the author's attitude to the world, expressed through volume, through material. What is the essence of the stone? Nature gave birth to him in certain conditions. It's a fruit. The same fruit as an apple. Only grows in other conditions. You have to take into account how this fruit is born. I work under a stone, with a stone. And here it is impossible to say which is primary — my thought or the stone. That's why I say that the stone is my co—author. He suggests somewhere, resists somewhere, surprises somewhere. Yes, I fashioned a model for a stone, I assumed something, but then improvisation begins anyway. You're not working mechanically anyway… It's like a translation from Japanese to Russian. You know one language and you know the second, but the semantic nuances, the rhythm of the phrase, the order of words are all different. You should not make a literal translation, but convey the mood, the state. You understand the material and translate its essence into the language of plastics. You listen to him, read his hints, take into account the moments that are embedded in him — drawing, transparency, texture...

— How does bronze as a material for sculpture differ from stone?

— There are concepts of synthetic and analytical art. You analyze a stone or a tree, biting into it, taking it apart, entering into a dialogue. A stone is a given framework in which you are.

Clay, plasticine, bronze — synthetic art. You synthesize, type, build up the form based on your idea. You dictate an image, a rhythm, a line to the material. He obeys.

— You are sometimes called the successor of the Faberge case. How true is this?

— Faberge is, in a sense, a teacher for me. To understand the material and its capabilities, it was necessary to go through this path of purely technical, technological development. In this regard, Faberge is a good school. At one time in Edinburgh, I went to the Faberge exhibition from the collection of the royal family and saw the famous birch branch, with buds and leaves. These leaves are processed amazingly, they have a moire texture, and you won't see it in the photo. When I got home, I started thinking about how it could be done in jade, how to achieve this effect. And I figured it out, we started repeating it in the workshop.

But I'm not continuing the Faberge case. The successors are Ural masters who have assimilated his experience and stepped far ahead. New materials, diamond tools, and other technical capabilities have appeared, and they are using it all. They work masterfully, their products cause surprise, but not emotions, not what is called temptation. I have other tasks. I position myself as a sculptor working in this material, not as a stonecutter. A stonecutter is a craft, a person who knows how to cut stone, translate a sketch, a model into the language of stone. But this is not a writer, not an author. In his work there is no metaphor, no image, no author's attitude… All that I try to put into my sculptures.

— The topics of your works are very diverse. Myths, biblical stories, animalism… How are they born?

— Topics are secondary. This is not the most important thing. You can open the Ozhegov dictionary — there is a complete list of topics. On any page, you blindly poke your finger and you get to some word. Suppose "run away". And you immediately have an associative row — a hare or a man-thief, or something else. The word is gone, the state remains. Escaping from... Disappearing from... And you translate it into a plastic language, you see how it flows through your sensations, is supported by words that clarify the ratio of masses, volumes ...

— You are talking about accidents, but it is quite obvious that they are not the only ones leading you, but also your own excitement, vitality...

— An artist has three points that make him an artist.

The first is the subcortex, our storeroom, a piggy bank of impressions. The most difficult thing for a person is to see. You look at the snow and see that it is white. In fact, this is not the case. It is not white, not smooth, not homogeneous, it has a lot of shades, nuances. By and large, we see this, but we don't fix it. The look has passed, the subcortex has preserved everything, but there is a reinforced concrete wall between the subcortex and the conscious vision. The artist should not have it.

The second point is the point of delight, the solar plexus. If it is not overgrown, you are ready for surprise, delight. Without this, there will be no interest, no desire to create. The third is located at the bottom, at the base of the spine — this is the point of creation, energy. If it's active, you have enough power to turn the world around. At these three points, an artist is born and exists.