The exhibition is built and the catalogue designed to combine different perspectives, research results and art-based methods as a whole. The exhibition aims, at the same time, to present our personal and social experiences and growing understanding of the Komi landscapes, but also the developing multidisciplinary collaboration that took place during the summer school. The aim of the summer school was not only the multidisciplinary study of villages and the life there, but also to develop educational models and methods that could sensitively approach sociocultural situations of the northern and arctic regions in the future.
The carved ornament, called komi pass, is a generic sign that is distinctive of Komi (zyrian). Widely distributed until the appearance of the Komi script, the tradition survived until the 20th century. Unfortunately, nowadays, no one is able to understand and interpret passes. This layer of culture of the ancient Finno-Ugric people has been irretrievably lost. The project, Signs of the Place, is a symbol of communication and memory of our ancestors.
In May 2018, while taking part in the summer school, I made a unique finding: a painted wooden door with an image of a Lion. It is a fragment of the Komi-zyranian housing interior with a painted decoration. The decoration of this kind was widely spread in the North of Russia since the 18th till the early 20th century. It is still poorly studied, particularly in the territory of modern Komi Republic. Many researchers of the traditional folk art even insist that this kind of decoration have never existed here. It is interesting to speculate about the semantic meaning of the Lion and of the floral motive, so-called “tree of life” in the painting.
In Russia, the Lion image originally signified the orthodox faith. The Lion, the strong and horrible king of animals, signifies the power of church and the Tzar. The lion images on church walls, window covers, entrance doors, wardrobes and chests had a protective function. Here the “king of animals” is often depicted in threatening postures.
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In Grandma’s Thoughts is a story of thoughts from the heart, from a place of love and caring for
grandchildren. It is a story of one sudden and simple encounter between two grandmothers, a story
of values and world views. Онежье – Onezh’ye is the first part of a series of videos. In Kozlovka and its neighbourhood village of Onezh’ye, in Komi Republic, I wanted to stop and relax, listen and learn. I asked what is important to a grandmother who lives in a beautiful rural Komi village, close to her daughter and her seven children.
This project is dedicated to the art of natural dyeing and the ecoprint technique. To create the works, natural materials and leaves of local plants were used. As a result, we produced a collection of clothes reflecting the nature of the locality: a simple cut, a calmcolour palette, muted tones.
Elina Härkönen & Tanya Kravtsov
The installation represents our joint study of the Komi landscape. The handmade elements of the installation are our individual approaches, defined by different materials and ways of making. The title, The Old, New, Borrowed, Blue, refers to the way materials are used and combined in an installation. While the blue mainly represents ordinary ‘paint on the walls’ for the locals, for us, the visitors, it became a dominant and fascinating element of the landscape.
It was like a trip in a time machine to another era. The old grey log houses were a distinctive feature in those small riverside villages in Komi Republic. The cycle of life was so fascinating to see, because it did not look to be at the end of a particular era. Perhaps the end of wooden boats and wooden gears is not an environmental problem, as they will soon be used to transform the soil again. The life of riverside villages has certainly followed the natural rhythms of the river throughout the year.
The starting points for my artwork came from two directions. My artwork was inspired by the use of wood as a building and tool material and, on the other hand, by Komi’s meandering rivers. Satellite imagery reveals an astonishing series of old curves in the rivers. They are like freeze-frames of past times, which show us even millennium-long meandering river changes.
The landscape is flat and the flora, especially the forest, is very familiar. Bright hayfields open up around the village. They are proof of the similar kind of agricultural work found in my home village in Finnish Lapland. The grey houses in the village create a sense of timelessness. I am looking for tools, boulders, scrapers and scraps, the equipment that villagers once used to create the essence of the landscape.
In the Landscape with Capercailzies