Carnivals of Venice and St. Petersburg. Artist’s point of view

Today Arkhangelsk faced the Eve of the anniversary of the International Street Theater festival — the first exhibition of Mikhail Shemyakin “Carnivals of Venice and St. Petersburg. View of the artist” has opened. This project is a great event in the cultural life of Arkhangelsk. It involves three large organizations: the Arkhangelsk youth theater, the Arkhangelsk Museum Association and the Mikhail Shemyakin Center in St. Petersburg.

The exhibition is very symbolic for the International Street Theater festival: traditionally, on the opening and/or closing day of it, a large-scale carnival procession takes place from the Peace square to the Arkhangelsk drama theatre, where the official Grand opening of the citywide holiday happens. Victor Petrovich Panov, the President of the festival, wants to create an analogue of the Venetian carnival in the Russian North adding to the gray and often rainy weekdays a touch of bright colours, good madness, warmth and smiles.

Opened on Friday, the exhibition gives an idea of what is the festival in Venice, what there costumes, masks and mood are — Mikhail Shemyakin has been visiting it for 25 years in a row! It presents both the original costumes sewn in the workshops of the Mariinsky theater, shoes and masks. Unfortunately, most of the exhibits had to be taken back to St. Petersburg, it did not fit into the space of the Art Museum — however, this news does not ruin the immersion in the atmosphere of celebration and madness.

I would like to see the sea separating the level and scale of the festival in Venice and Arkhangelsk reduced. The bridge built inside the exhibition, which characterizes not only the architecture of the city on the water, but also St. Petersburg and even Arkhangelsk, is very symbolic. It is decorated with an old lantern from the heart of St. Petersburg — it was removed from the front of the old center of Mikhail Shemyakin (before its renovation) and carry now with different projects of the center. Lantern reminds that creativity burns in each of us, everyone is important even in such high-profile events.


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