Where art meets machines
Street Art Museum in Petersburg
My first time in Street art Museum was in august of 2014. I was wandering through city with Biskup with half of face occupied by shingles (that’s totally new word I’ve just learned, hope You will not have to learn it), we got to the end of known world where sleeping district meets wilderness, where devil says goodnight. We expected something interesting but we didn’t expected stunning post industrial space with a berlin-hipster atmosphere, skatepark, grass, even Club Mate (first time I saw it in Piter) and – last but not least – murals. But this was not the point of SAM, it came out that uniqueness of museum lays somewhere else.
In august we were in public space of the museum – smartly arranged postindustrial area with gravel, containers, cable spools and all the accesories You know from those fancy hipster spaces. Not so common yet in SPB. In the centre there was large factory building, chimneys and walls, and murals + other street art objects. This year Museum presented an exhibition called “Casus Pacis – reason for peace”. An idea was born due to hundred year anniversary of I World War, but situation on Ukraine gave new context – especially as there were russian and ukrainian artists participating in project.
Several months passed and I only saw the essence of museum. What this is all about? The point is that biggest personages of eastern (post-soviet) street art and some from “zapad” (west) present their works in area of working factory. Sometimes they collaborate with workers, and workers, security employees, secretaries have their influence – they praise some works and if they don’t like something – just hide it behind stacks of pallets.
What’s more – each work has a story standing behind – some dramatic, some casual. It is a shame I’ve never been on the trip through Lodz murals – for sure they have their own stories. maybe even as intense as those here.
Let’s have a look at Akue – Tola – Anatoliy, whom we met during creating “Retreat” (I am allowing myself to such familiarity as we shook hands in the museum office). Akue is inspired by buddhism, his work – Retreat – is about escaping daily rush and finding your own source of internal power (here it is shown as an hermitage – not this in Winter Palace, but one of those on desserts – of asian yogin, standing somewhere on the south of Russia). And well – Anatolyi surely have this strength as work was created during freezing cold days – 1,5 hour walk was a challenge for us and he was painting this wall for about a week. with a cans. Slowly. Accurately. Wow!
There’s a little bit more about work on a film, and my tiny debut in russian Youtube.
During meeting in an office we spoke a bit – I told that I am from Lodz, Akue said it would be cool to paint there and I felt proud of my city. It is not so often feeling here so Urban Forms – thanks.
Next point of our trip would be “Walls don’t sleep” work by Pasha 183. Pasha is russian legend of street art. Even if You haven’t heard his name for sure You have seen his works in all the “best of street art” compilations. Pasha is worth his own post so I will present them there. “walls don’t sleep” is very industrial, simple picture, perfectly corresponding with surroundings (when You’re watching this workers are producing laminated plastics). Called “russian Banksy” (what he didn’t like) Pasha 183 died on 1 of april 2013 at the age of 29.
Russians have long tradition of thinking. Russion word “dumat’ ” in polish means something between meditate and muse. Timothy Radya thinks about street art, and all that he knows about it he wrote on the wall. Russian text is here, I haven’t found english version.
And last but not least – Nomerz. name can be not familiar, but it is as well probable that You’ve seen his works. Nomerz – Nikita – gives faces to buildings and small architecture and ruins. speaking about faces – how many faces do You see in this work? (called “Whole”)? Check out other Nomerz faces.
I’ve seen a lot of places where culture, trade, creative industries, life comes after industry. In my birthplace – Łódź – it is the main thing I can say about the city. But SAM is the first place where I saw real, working industry together with art. Russia is still surprising.