Physics and Lyrics. Part 2. Mikhail Shemyakin: the forbidden fruit of metaphysics
In his sound search, Shemyakin came to the conclusion that something special, different, and not something that can be seen from the outside lives with us …
Part 1. Sounds of space for those who hear
Armenians in bracelets and earrings
were fed with caviar somewhere, And my friend in black boots ─ He
shot from a pistol.
(V. Vysotsky about M. Shemyakin)
Even in the days of stagnation, the Soviet government applied a reliable method of punitive psychiatry to sound specialists, who could not be used here and now for the common good. This "glorious" method still keeps our specialists, in a sense, aloof in the world psychological community. The young artist Mikhail Shemyakin was expelled from the institute for "aesthetic corruption", and in normal words - for the inconsistency of his views with the canon of socialist realism, and sent to a closed psychiatric hospital.
Three years of compulsory treatment with a diagnosis of "sluggish schizophrenia" in the unit for violent, insulin and psychotropic. The cramps of sound and vision under the influence of the "treatment" are carefully recorded. The artist is given paper and a pencil, he draws languidly. Even exhibitions of the talented "schizophrenic" are being arranged. “One day the orderlies woke me up, took me by the arms and took me to the conference room. There were many students sitting there. I saw my works in frames on the board. I was put on public display as a talented schizophrenic who must be studied,”recalls MM. Shemyakin.
It is now his work that is being studied in universities around the world, films are made based on his work, ballets are staged, sculptures of the master decorate capitals and just cities. And then, in the sticky thaw 60s, upon leaving the "yellow house", driven by psychotropics into a sound impasse and a visual hole, Shemyakin worked without color, in the genre of graphics. There are many works. There are also people who want to see it. Mikhail is invited to participate in the exhibition. The result is eight years of camps for the organizer, the artist from all over the place.
We climbed into bondage to the devil (V. Vysotsky)
Shemyakin then worked in the Hermitage as a rigger for 25 rubles, just to be able to copy the paintings of the masters. For an outsider, it would have cost as much as three rubles an hour, he didn’t even have that kind of money, and it was vital for the artist to return his sight, a sense of color. But out of here, too, and with a "wolf ticket" after a scandalous exhibition, and then a decree on parasitism arrived in time, a person had no right not to work for more than 10 days. The circle is complete.
Psychotropic drugs fill the sound, ringing and gaping void with a void, viscous and sticky, like in a nightmare without color and shape. It's not so easy to get out of it. Shemyakin began a prolonged sound depression, a blow to his eyesight was expressed in an aversion to color so strong that in body it manifested itself as an allergy to oil paints. The Pskov-Pechersky Monastery rescues the young artist, Shemyakin becomes a novice.
Having filled at least some sound, Shemyakin begins to gradually restore his vision: making lists of icons, overcomes his aversion to paints. So, wandering around the monasteries and making his way to God, the artist will spend his last years at home, before in 1971, after another arrest for parasitism and forced labor, he was expelled from the country. In accordance with the surrealism of his work, a colonel at the OVIR will come to Shemyakin's aid: “Leave as soon as possible or you will rot here. Not a word to your friends if you don't want to harm them. We won't let you say goodbye to your family. Nobody should know about leaving."
Christianity became a part of M. Shemyakin's life, but it could not fill his sound. The sound search brought the artist together with the philosopher and priest Vladimir Ivanov, and fate - with the urethral-sound Vladimir Vysotsky. In search of common signs and meanings for humanity, Shemyakin creates a theory with the mysterious name "metaphysical synthetism." This is a very sonic view of art, a search for the semantic community of everything that a person creates, an attempt to look into the unconscious. To conduct large-scale research in this area, Mikhail Shemyakin even founded the Institute of Philosophy and Psychology of Creativity.
Shemyakin's works “expand aesthetic consciousness, awakening a deep memory that has little in common with the“past”in the usual sense of the word,” as V. Ivanov writes about the artist. Followed by K.G. Jungu Shemyakin pursues the idea of certain symbols, patterns, archetypes living in the individual and collective unconscious. He tries to convey these symbols in his pictorial improvisations. It is interesting that jazz musicians find in M. Shemyakin's work a lot in common with their music: “You write how we blow”.
In his search for sound, Shemyakin came to the conclusion that something special, different, and not something that can be seen from the outside lives with us. Hoffmann's mechanical dolls, set in motion by someone unknown, occupy a central place in the artist's work. Shemyakin tried to get into the essence of the story of the Nutcracker, suspecting in it not so much a Christmas tale as a cunningly encrypted message about the structure of the unconscious. Shemyakin's illustrations to Dostoevsky are a reflection of the idea that the body is just a shell, a shell of the psychic that lives by us.
Children are victims of adult vices
A sculpture by Mikhail Shemyakin with this name appeared in a public garden near Bolotnaya Square in 2001. Vices (Addiction, Prostitution, Theft, Alcoholism, Ignorance, Pseudoscience (Irresponsible Science), Indifference, Propaganda of Violence, Sadism, Pillory for those with no memory, Exploitation of child labor, Poverty and War) surround children who are blindfolded, they just helplessly put their arms forward, unable to get out of the environment on their own …
Remembers M.M. Shemyakin:
“Luzhkov summoned me and said that he was instructing me to create such a monument. And he gave me a piece of paper on which the vices were listed. The order was unexpected and strange. Luzhkov stunned me. First, I knew that the consciousness of a post-Soviet person was used to urban sculptures that were clearly realistic. And when they say: “Depict the vice of“child prostitution”or“sadism”(in total 13 vices were named!), You feel great doubts. At first, I wanted to refuse, because I had a vague idea of how this composition could be brought to life. And only six months later I came to a decision."
There are endless disputes about the monument. There are ardent supporters of the demolition of the monument to vices. A round dance of terrible figures leads to sad thoughts that you don't want to think. About what the artist wanted to say, he himself says:
““I urge you to look around, hear and see what is happening. And before it's too late, sane and honest people need to think about it. This is not a monument to vices and not a monument to "children - victims of vices", but a monument to us, adults, what we become by committing vicious actions knowingly or accidentally - with donkey heads, fat bellies, closed eyes and money bags …"
Russia is somewhere higher
M. Shemyakin lives in Paris, does not intend to return to his homeland. "I am an American citizen and a French resident, but for all that I am a Russian artist and serve, first of all, Russian art."
The Kultura TV channel filmed the cycle “The Imaginary Museum of Mikhail Shemyakin”, “Soyuzmultfilm” released a full-length animated film “Hoffmaniada”, Shemyakin collaborates with the Mariinsky Theater, founded a charitable foundation, his canvases are kept in the collections of the Russian Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery, his monuments are in both capitals and other cities of Russia and the world.
Shemyakin "spent seven years in headphones", recording songs of his friend Vysotsky. “Volodya sang each song several times - all in sweat, soap, foaming at the mouth. He sought perfection, because he knew that this is what will remain after him forever,”Shemyakin recalls about their joint work. Vysotsky's twelve songs dedicated to a friend tell about the joint carousing of friends in Paris.
It is not known how the fate of this artist would have been if it had not been for the olfactory whip of the Soviet state system. Now this developed and seemingly realized person is a recognized, albeit not immediately, prophet in his homeland. Outwardly handsome, strong and courageous man with scars on his face, in black boots and a stylish eight-piece cap, no, no, and he admits to fear for his life.
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