Pocket Norilsk, as Masha Ivanova called her handkerchiefs, arose under the impression of what she saw in the Old City, at the Norilsk Golgotha memorial. She once read that instead of paper the prisoners of the camps used handkerchiefs, on which they embroidered letters to their loved ones. Here this recollection resulted in Pocket Norilsk.
For the poster, the artist chose a landscape with a fire station in the Old Town. According to her, this is the very non-standard individual scenic beauty of the place that she was looking for. In the same row there are the yellow and blue garages of the industrial zone, and Zavenyagin square with smoking chimneys, and yellow Stalin era houses with a white and burgundy museum in the center of Norilsk, and Octyabrskaya square with a monument to Lenin against the background of a gloomy, dirty blue sky.
“…I am deeply impressed by these majestic stone houses on stilts that have grown in the middle of the tundra… Everything here permeates my heart. There are many traces of time, traces of the North and harsh conditions on the houses. I decided that I would treat the worn paint and the crumbling plaster like the wrinkles of the elderly – with great respect. These marks are witnesses of history”.
This quote from Masha Ivanova’s post on social networks is the best annotation for her exhibition Sense of Place, or Pocket Norilsk.
A native Petersburg woman in her picturesque landscapes portrayed Norilsk with a truly great respect for its history and the sense of place. To convey her perception of “the extraordinary beauty of nature and the non-standard industrial charm of factories and houses”, the artist chose a painting technique.
Masha Ivanova has been drawing since she was five. At 25 she became a member of the Artists Union. A graduate of the St. Petersburg Academy of Art and Industry named after Stieglitz (2013) opens personal exhibitions almost every year in her hometown, in Moscow and other cities. Now Norilsk appeared on her exhibition map, where, by the way, Masha Ivanova really wanted to get to, and when she arrived, she spent three weeks in the residence instead of two.
According to the tradition of the Polar Art Residence, part of the artist’s works after the exhibition will take place in the Norilsk Museum collection, which means that they can be seen in the future Arctic Museum of Contemporary Art.
Text: Valentina Vachayeva, Photo: Ksenia Akatnova