International Art project


Russia, lake Baikal, Olkhon island, Khuzhir village

phone in Irkutsk (Russia)


June-August 2019

Yet again, one needs to recognize the truth of an old saying: A stranger is only an open palm, but the one you know is like a steppe” or “A stranger is like an open palm, but the soul of a friend is as wide as a steppe” (my liberal translation :). These words include everything – space and time, understanding of the world and the human being, and self-cognition. Eternal categories just in two lines. Hence the understanding of another saying: “Man is the measure of all things”. Not only a measure of the area and distance (a cubit, pace, arrow flight and so on), but also a measure of relationships and interaction. It is precisely the interactional aspect that becomes a dominant one in the work of several symposia on ceramics organized on the shores of the famous sea-lake. And where else could these events be held, if not at the sacred place of five demiurgic elements – the original elements of the Universe? Where legends and fairy tales are born and where the patrimony of the Demiurge God is located. It all seems so symbolic. All the more so that the geographic diversity of participants this year is quite impressive – from the Baltic States and Belarus to Eastern Siberia and from the lands on the Volga to Turkey.

What unites the twenty artists who came to the Symposium? The problematics of this issue lies in the latest watershed moment in modern art, which searches for new forms and content. One would think that in this heyday of the decorative arts, who, if not ceramic artists, should be in the forefront. However, it does not work out like this: factories are closed, orders are scarce, but there is still a need to exhibit the works.  And to network with fellow artists. What the artists got as a result – time will judge.  Two exhibitions organized right after the Symposium (one exhibition – “on the grass”, near Cape Burkhan on Olkhon; another one – in the chamber halls of the museum studio of the Irkutsk Regional History Museum) speak to the orientation of the authorial and artistic ideas towards symbolism and allusion. Expressive metaphoricity is traced in the most powerful works that gravitate towards the ensemble structure of their composition and a clearly distinguishable architectonics of the form. Accurately calibrated compositions well honed from a technical point of view reflect current tendencies in modern ceramics, which strives for the monumentality of the form and a special stylistic refinement inherent to postmodernism.

It is comforting to note that every time this Symposium brings together an ever widening circle of friends of CeraMystic. Its traditions are getting firm roots, and the event itself remains one of the brightest and sustainably developing artistic initiatives of the region. 


Art critic Julia Bashinova, Irkutsk