The Lord of Stone mount / INFOSCOP, July-August 2014

Let us get acquainted with Sergey Falkin who is an artist, a stonecutter, a poet and a sophist. He creates sculptures from precious stone and stone, amber, bones and bronze. It must be said he is well-known among many Peterburgers. He is a participant and a winner of many Russian and foreign jewelry exhibitions, he is an author of the “Baltic star” and the “Skyline of Saint Petersburg’’ awards. He used to work with amber and wood. In the beginning of 90s he got into stone and classical carving in a Faberge style.


Falkin’s workshop is at the end of Fontanka River quay opposite the giant “Admiralteiskie docks”. Industrial buildings that were used for clamp bowing are rented now. Falkin moved to a lodgment in the house № 170, Fontanka River almost 20 years ago. This place is the most convenient one for him. It’s not for nothing that the place is named an “artist tight corner”. However artists are far from getting into crisis here. That’s why there are so many “art laboratories” of jewelry, smith craft, ceramics, stained glass in this area. If you need to do a multi-art project, you can ask your colleagues for help. Besides this place is the significant place for stone carving sculptors. Just in 10 minutes walk down Angliskiy avenue there were Faberge stone carving workshops.

There are studies and storages of materials for that work. Sculptures that have turned heads of audience in Saint Petersburg, Paris, Munch, Riga and other world capitals had being made from those materials. Falkin has few tones of stone now in his disposition. The work begins when an artist starts drawing his sketch and then searching for a suitable stone for that project. The more stones one gas in the disposition the more expressive will be the eventual result. It may be said that a bevy of stones is a palette of a carver. It helps him to bring the idea up more accurate and brightly.

His ideas are imprinted in numerous sketches which Falkin draws nonstop while his hands are free from work. He does that during an interview and at the exhibition mount in Louvre, Paris. As a result, a closet in his workshop turns into a chock full of sketches and files in some years.

– Do you regret that most of ideas are left on paper?

– One cannot square the circle! Therefore, if my fantasy gave up suddenly I would burrow in boxes with drawings. Besides a picture on a paper has to be a complete piece of art too.

– You used to work with different natural materials. Which of them – stone, bone, amber, bronze – is closer to you?

– Each material has its own potential, but my choice depends on the mood, aims and the situation in general. For example, it could be a “leave no stone unturned’’ mood when you want to create something monumental: firstly, you do it in plasticine and then cast it in bronze. The other deal is with amber or bone. The essence of the piece of art arises while one is working. And to some eхtent I look like a taxidermist who has “caught’’ a character and is going to “stuff” its skin.

– What kind of problems do you have when you work with a “stone-skin”?

– Fox example, I have technological problems because we talk about a really very hard material. By the Mohs scale from 1 to 10 hardness means how well a mineral could resist sketches with different materials. A hard stone has an index not less than seven. That means they can be sketched and so they need to be worked only with diamond tools.

Nevertheless, this is not an important thing. I’d rather speak about specialties not about problems with material. We see a sculpture through material that it was made of. A bronze one takes handprint of a master and specific aspects of metal. An amber one takes plastics, fluidity and a color blend game. You should find consensus with every material and that allows you to express what you want, especially in stone. This material is notable by its variety and mystics. The last peculiarity is given to it by Earth which had given birth to a material in its fiery womb millions of years ago. These characteristics must be taken into account in processing the stone. A caution in work with stone is induced by the uniqueness of the material more than its frailty.

– The entire world stone carving plastic is made from natural materials. However, lately it has to use synthetic minerals too…

– This global process broadly depends on unreasonable using of natural stones. For example, there is a rock crystal from quartz group of minerals. It is used for creation of water effect at a stone carving plastic. Glass with its similar effect cannot replace quartz. It depends on glass weight, hardness, optical deflection and shine, which don’t have such impressive effect at all, as quartz does. There was a lot of quartz earlier. It was mined in gigantic pieces and without additional mineral inclusions. Now there is no more quartz like that. The main consumer now is Chinese that cut it into small pieces for many beads, little pyramids and other thing which are far from art. It is necessary to replace natural stone with synthetic one.

– If every natural mineral may be replaced?

– I would say the very few minerals may be replaced. A natural stone provides its own color, texture, and opportunity to realize your idea as a result.

– How does a sculptor restock stone?

– As this is needed and could been available. If my wallet and I both like a stone, I buy it. If my wallet doesn’t like but I do then I buy a little one nevertheless. My recent purchases are three tons of Ufimsk jasper.

– Why do you need so much?

– The palette is big. I can choose the piece I want and the main thing is I can hitch one’s wagon to a star and make some big interior things.

– Do you have stone from Russian deposits?

– I have them from different places and from almost every Russian deposit. An endemic – garnets, eudialyte, tinguaite – from Karelia and the Kola Peninsula. There are stones from Chukotka, Far East, Altai, Sakha Republic, Kolyvan. I was in some of those deposits. It’s not a problem anymore to buy minerals from Australia, Africa, the USA and Madagascar.

– Have you ever been in a situation when you liked the stone and bought it and only after that the idea particularly for it arouse?

– Pretty often but unfortunately it doesn’t happen quite often. Some stones are on their seats waiting for the right mood. There are as well some stones that I haven’t got down to. Generally, this is not a simple situation as if you see a stone and forget about all the rest. Even 10 kilogram piece of amber can’t turn you in by itself only. You are inspired by ideas of course and a stone is just a special material for those ideas. Nevertheless, you can’t create more than Nature has created through stone figures.


Author Olga Rogozina

INFOSCOP/July-August 2014

Translator Vera Badalyan