Mikhail Shemyakin: “we are All funny actors in the theater of the Lord God”

Mikhail Shemyakin: "we are All funny actors in the theater of the Lord God"

Mikhail Shemyakin is one of the largest Russian artists of our time, this one will not argue. Perhaps even those who are confused by his works (on the Bolotnaya square in Moscow), such as the famous monument to Peter I in the Peter and Paul fortress or the sculptural composition.

It is believed that the artist must say it works; but not only. Michael is a wonderful conversationalist, young and light, smart and deep. We have collected the statements from the interview, which he gave in different years, “Komsomolskaya Pravda”.

* My life is closely connected with art. Mother was an actress, she studied at the theater Institute of the Boris Zone, were removed from Cherkasov, Babochkin. Went to the front, and when we came back from Germany, worked in a Puppet theater of a name demmeni. Theatrical life surrounded me from all sides.

* The father was the creator of the ensemble of the military dance of the horsemen of the North Caucasus. I danced at the time. But my father was a heavy alcoholic, so New year and any other holiday. These days, the father. These memories of childhood, of course, over time, are erased, but is imprinted.

Mikhail Shemyakin: "we are All funny actors in the theater of the Lord God"2005. A scene from the ballet "The magic nut" to music by Sergei Slonimsky, who presented the Mariinsky theater. The author of the libretto, scenery, costumes and performances – the artist Mikhail Shemyakin. Photo ITAR-TASS / Yuri Belinsky

The Lord gave me life again. All of my troubles and misery I have brought to myself and to others, were associated with him. And Vladimir Vysotsky probably still alive, Many of my friends are already left this world.

* My wife Sarah is a Protestant, so we always go to the Cathedral for Christmas mass. Half of my family came from Spain, who served in the Navy, they were Catholic. So I feel great and in a Catholic Church, and the Orthodox. And my father was a Muslim, so I felt good in the mosque. And Buddhists I feel good.

Mikhail Shemyakin: "we are All funny actors in the theater of the Lord God"The artist with his wife in 2007.

* Who would play me in a movie? .. I had not thought of that. But Sarah says that johnny Depp would. My friend, a renowned New York doctor. And there is johnny Depp with long hair and in the cylinder from the film Burton’s “Charlie and the chocolate factory”.

* When we wander with Sarah on the Paris by night, I take off the garbage, crumbling walls, crumbling plaster. Then it all tracings. Get fantastic pictures. Always remember the words of the immortal Leonardo da Vinci, who said, “More peering into the dirty wall, there you will see those stories that you never dream of.”

– Usually, when a person ages, he begins to grumble. It seems that everything is bad, culture and morality in decline … Read the writers of the XVIII – XIX centuries, and sometimes more ancient, – they all believed that humanity is heading for the abyss. And I join this chorus. Of course, the world in which I lived in the 1960s in Leningrad, by the way, about the city itself, we always called Peter, of course, was different. We were young and saw rosy. But there were and depression. People were put in asylums, not only because they left, many actually suffered from depression. It was gray, damp – all the letter “C”. On the other hand.

* I am not in a jingoistic society, but was just amazed that many modern students do not even know their art, Russian. To such an extent that they had Leonid Utesov, Claudia Shulzhenko, mark Bernes! My friend Vysotsky and I loved it.

Mikhail Shemyakin: "we are All funny actors in the theater of the Lord God"Mikhail Shemyakin during the exhibition in memory of Vladimir Vysotsky, November 2011.

* Today revolve around the art not hundreds of millions, and billions. And where the big money is not very clean. This is a very complex business transformations. Auctions, where used to be artists, now they announce. The chosen artist can declare any art thing. This trick will probably never take root in Russian territory.

* Recently, Govorukhin said, all evil from intelligentsia. He would have to repeat the words of comrade Lenin, that the intelligentsia is not the brain of the nation and its g … but, and would fall to Lenin stream.

* You need to understand that revolution, but the blood, gave us at first a lot of new, avant-garde. If, in fact, was born a new society, and each birth is accompanied by pain. The other day I came across a very interesting phrase: “If not a revolution, then we would not be here”, it very well reflects my thoughts.

Mikhail Shemyakin: "we are All funny actors in the theater of the Lord God"Monument to Peter I by Mikhail Shemyakin.

* Thanks to the fait accomplishment of the revolution. If not for her, but today I might not have in my pocket a volume of Brodsky. Do not forget that many of the greatest representatives of Russian science, art and literature – the Jews. And had the opportunity to create, to invent and to open new horizons thanks to the October revolution. And there is a possibility that if everything was “as it was”, in the person of Joseph Brodsky we would have today a good cobbler or tailor.

We are all born under the Soviet regime. As if we did not want to get rid of it. I do not think it is shameful. We are accustomed to think in a different way, different perspective on life, learned to adapt and survive under any conditions. The Soviet power of us to many things taught. And I personally owe her a lot and remain grateful for many things.

* I was in the Soviet time has been through a lot: compulsory treatment in mental hospitals, searches, arrests, expulsion. But, nevertheless, I understand that at the time of writing, it’s forever, great, great, and I love the country and its people. To be angry is for the weak minded.

Mikhail Shemyakin: "we are All funny actors in the theater of the Lord God"1995 Artist Mikhail Shemyakin and his sculptural composition "Mascara" at the exhibition in Lavrushinsky lane. PHOTO Morkovkin Anatoly / Fotokhronika TASS

* I lived for 30 years in America. In it I’m not disappointed to this day. I have traveled halfway around the world and I can not say that the country is close to the Russians. The American people – hard-working, energetic, having little to do with “ruling elite”.

* Russia – a special destiny and art of Russia – the fate of extraordinary. I firmly believe in the Holy Trinity, and, therefore, share the story of Russian art in three theological units – three phenomenon. Two of them have already happened. The first phenomenon – the Russian icon-painting. The second Russian avant-garde, and the future, the third (when it comes not know) is picking up stones, creating something unprecedented, serious and metaphysical, which will show new ways of development of art in the world.

* We are all funny actors in the theater of God. Sometimes theater, sometimes comic, sometimes tragic, sometimes absurd, after which even Ionesco – just a realist, as the Czechs!


Mikhail Shemyakin was born in Moscow in 1943. He spent his childhood with his parents in East Germany, where his father served. In 1956, the family returned to the Soviet Union, and Mikhail entered the secondary art school at the Leningrad Institute of Painting, sculpture and architecture named I. E. Repin. After a few years he was excluded “for failing norms of socialist realism”. Switched jobs – was a postman and the doorman and scaffolder at the Hermitage. Art of, of course, left for him mostly, he talked a lot with artists and intellectuals. The Soviet authorities, KGB and the Union of artists, Shemyakin was even forcibly sent to treatment in a psychiatric hospital, and in 1971 he was expelled from the Soviet Union. Lived in France, then moved to the USA and then returned to France – as he says himself, “to be closer to Russia, where I work, teach, organize science exhibitions.”

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