Mosaic astronauts, athletes and builders adorned Norilsk in 1970s
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Mosaic astronauts, athletes and builders adorned Norilsk in 1970s

September 28, 2021

Each of the five panels was about 130 square meters. The authors of the mosaics sketches on Komsomolskaya street were young artists Nikolay Loy and Vladimir Surmava.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Work on the first panels began in 1973. By 1976, there were already five of them. The theme of the mosaics corresponded to the name of the street and the mood of Norilsk – the city of the young.

The first mosaic panel depicted the faces of a young man and a girl against the background of mountains and tower piles, under them the inscription: ‘Talnah – All-Union Komsomol construction’. At the bottom of the mosaic there was a triple author’s signature of the artists: Loy, Nikiforov and Krasnoyarov.

But not everyone liked the mosaics. They were criticized for the fact that ‘the techniques of poster graphics were used to create a monumental work’. However, very often the symbols of the city, familiar to us today, were rejected by contemporaries.

The city newspaper in October 1976 told:

“The regional art council has accepted a new work by the Norilsk artists Loy and Surmava – three monuments of mosaic panels on Komsomolskaya street. These are Cosmos, Builders and Sport. They are made of bright glazed mosaic tiles. Concept development lasted four months. On June 15, the artists began to realize their idea. The city has received a good gift forever”.

‘Forever’ did not work: two out of five mosaics collapsed. The remaining three ones were also in poor condition. However, in 2018, a project was launched in Norilsk to restore four mosaics using the facade painting technique. The famous Stroganovka – the Stroganov Moscow State Academy of Art and Industry masters worked on them.

In the last issue of the History spot photo project, we talked about the pioneer camp for Norilsk residents – Taezhny.

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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive

September 28, 2021

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