I received email from Vladimir Nuzhdin today on an engraving project of his and permission to post it. A friend of Vladimir’s, Sergei Belych, wrote the follow:
When we meet what happens not so often as we wish, we speak on different common topics – sport or even fashion, for example. But most of our talks are eventually about art. Perhaps it’s the most honest and significant thing in the world. Are you able to create anything that will pass the energy and warmth of your hands?
The works by V. Nuzhdin are not only masterpieces made in a unique vanishing technique(1), but also a collection of stories about them, which are sometimes very dramatic and almost anecdotic. Every completed piece of his work is followed by an interesting and cognitive tale.
Stamp (behind the looking-glass)
On April 12th, 2011 in the Russian Federation as well as in the whole world people celebrated the anniversary of cosmonautics. On such an occasion the master’s exhibition was held in the halls of Audit Chamber(2). Among well respected guests(3) there were cosmonauts too.
The master, a contemporary of cosmonautics didn’t forget those lively emotions he experienced as well as every soviet child receiving the latest news from the orbit(4), from Baikonur and Semipalatinsk(5). He was all eyes when met the cosmonauts.They in their turn were looking at the master open-mouthed! They wouldn’t understand what a hollow relief engraving is? How can this be created?
The master intricately explained, “To make it I should first cut out a form for a future casting. But not the moulding we do for cake, pudding or pie. Do you remember Carroll’s Alice who turned out to get behind the looking-glass? So as I – just escape, biting into the stone and making the form of an object that doesn’t exist yet. I see it in inversed manner, mirror like, back to front, topsy-turvy, right to left, you know?”
Saying that he was automatically autographing the gifts made especially for the exhibition and guests. The gifts were engravings – postage stamps with the globe, a leg in red stripes and waving shoe strings(6). Certainly, those works were devoted to the first cosmic flight of Yuriy Alexeyevich Gagarin. Having put a full stop the master finally paid attention to what he had made. His autograph and memorable words on the frame’s backside were written back to front! Panic, “I’ll correct it immediately!”. “Don’t do it”, said with a smile cosmonaut Yuriy Mikhylovich Baturin pushing aside the master’s hand. He seemed to meet the man from behind the looking-glass for the first time. “Please, leave it this way”.
(1)Major Nuzgdin’s works are executed in the technique of a hollow relief engraving.
(2)The Audit Chamber is a state organization of financial control in the Russian Federation.
(3)Stepashin S.V. – the Chairman of the Audit Chamber, the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation (May – August, 1990), Ryabukhin S.N. – the auditor of the Audit Chamber, etc.
(4)The orbital base Mir was located on the Earth’s Orbit from 1986 to 2001.
(5)Spaceports from which the rockets are traditionally launched in Russia.
(6)This motive corresponds to the old soviet song sang in the Union. As for the loose shoe strings it is perhaps the brightest and the most charismatic detail that is identified with Yu. A. Gagarin. Only a truly Russian man could accomplish such an unexampled feat of supreme concentration and courage and then forget to do the shoe laces up at the reception organized by the Chief of State.