“Report with a stone”/ Russian magazine 2.07.2015

One of the leading masters of stone-cutting art in Russia Sergey Falkin from St.-Petersburg told us about his relationship with the stone, how the ideas are born, and what is “faberzhatinka”.

Sergey, you are a journalist by education. How did the stone-cutting art become your profession and the main activity?

Sergey Falkin: Since my childhood I had been drawing, making something, writing poetry. And I’ve always had a dilemma between art and literature. However, for creating art you need special education, skills. I decided to go the easy way, and after the army entered the technical school at Leningrad State University. We had a very interesting course: in the same group with me were studying Leonid Parfenov, Marina Shishkina, who then headed the Department of Journalism. Anatoly Greshnevikov became a State Duma deputy at Gorbachev, and still continues being involved in politics. I’ve also been suggested in the polictics, they say, we need thinking people, but I didn’t considered so. I guessed correctly, that I don’t need go.

Then I quickly realized that the work in the newspaper is not for me. And, as it often happens, the case will have an opportunity to get to the Hermitage, in the publishing department. I worked there for five years, and plunged into the world with his head: a huge museum was at my disposal. I think that none of the students of the Academy of Arts didn’t have this possibility.

Even then I had been cutting wood and had a friendship with many of the restorers. These people were just unique, very interesting — for their hands and their destiny. I had the opportunity to ask all the questions, even stupid. And the history of art lined up, it became clear: where Ingres and Delacroix appeared, what is the smear Rembrandt … Then my friend got in the studio, who were engaged in the re-establishment of the Amber Room. Supervised work San Sanych Zhuravlev, I brought him his “piece of wood” and he said, “Well, make out.” And it was a year of euphoria, of work with amber. When Florentine mosaic was in a process of making, I personally met with a stone. It was great, but as soon as things started perestroika, I just finished with the state service.

At the time we opened the murky cooperative. All from scratch – and accounting, and work with people, and with the material. Manufactured stone cutting boxes for foreigners, then I began to make stone sculptures and continue for 25 years. Although I am a person who writes a diploma.

Recently, your work has been exhibited at the Hermitage in the exhibition “Plastics in metal and stone,” what is probably in the beginning of the road and not even dreamed of. Did you feel something special?

Sergey Falkin: I guess I’m already out of this age. The desire to become famous fades away over time – not because of the number of years, but due to the revision of priorities. It is not the end in itself.

If then, when I worked at the Hermitage, I was told that my work will take place here, I would not have believed it. Then it would be jubilation, joy, and now the world has its own self-sufficient. No longer want to follow you ran with a request for an autograph because it is – vanity. At home I have two shelves of books and magazines, where there is a publication of mine and me, but these strings do not respond. There are things more important and interesting – people, thoughts, ideas.

Intellectually, I understand that it’s great, but especially happy, as many of my friends why do not. If 15-20 years ago I was offered to erect a monument in the Konstantinovsky Palace, I would have turned the mountain, but he would find the money for it, would be gnawing teeth. And now there is no money – and God bless him. Time pity.

The exhibits, which were presented at the Hermitage – is it your personal choice or the choice of the museum?

Sergey Falkin: The curator Marina Lopato knows almost all masters and their works, including mine. She told me, which works the museum would like to have.

Although the collection of modern stonecutting art in the Hermitage began with the gift. Maxim Artsinovich, Moscow businessman and collector, donated to the museum a dozen works, which largely formed the core of a future collection. And because there weren’t many works, the collection began to fill up – and by the purchase, and by referring to the poster.

Some of your work — stone flowers — are made in the spirit of works made by Faberge…

Sergey Falkin: I call it “faberzhatinka”, it’s our daily bread. Customers have heard that Faberge is cool, expensive, prestigious. Previously, wealthy people gave each other and watch cases, but times have changed, and now presented the work “a la Faberge” St. Petersburg or the Ural stone-cutters.

Of course, it takes time from work, from art, but allows you to earn money and spend it on what you want to do.

Where do you get the material?

Sergey Falkin: One time I was wound over the stones themselves. I went to Altai, to Irkutsk, was looking to buy. Now you can go to the German Idar-Oberstein or the exhibition, to choose the right stock on the stock exchange or to buy. The stones we use are from all over the world. Moss Agate and cacholong – from Kazakhstan, Belorechensky quartzite – Altai, magnesite – from the North, obsidian – from Armenia, jade – Irkutsk, Rainbow – a Mexican obsidian, quartz – Polar Urals, lapis lazuli – Pamir.

Stone – is very labor intensive the material, there is a probability to make an error. Often you do not know what’s inside – a drawing, a cavity or crack. And make the work you have to start all over again. This is not the clay, when all is in your hands. For myself, I derived a formula: the stone does not like weak, it can not be. But at the same time, he does not like violence and breaks. The stone must be understood, and then you can be happy.

How do you come up with your artworks, what comes first?

Sergey Falkin: primary still head and what’s inside. Most of the author’s works I’m making, not according to order. Firstly – the idea that I’ve modeled, then looking at her stone. Although sometimes can attract the material itself. For example, when I was creating the work “Jazz” and sculpted model in clay, I already had the feeling like I had been working with quartz — I saw how it will shine and shimmer.

I find some ideas while traveling, something comes from the inside. Some time ago I was studying tango, though not for long. But I like vry much this dance with its inner passion. And last year I went to cockfights on the island of Java. As a result, the bronze sculpture was born – is “Rooster Tango”, a fight that turns into a dance. There are still artworks “Tango” and “Tango North” – in the tundra. Tanger, who worked with me, said that I guessed very accurately.

Being someone who has done a significant amount of custom gifts, could you give a practical advice: how to choose what to present?

Sergey Falkin: Select the gift – it’s actually the same work. In the event that we are not talking about trying to get rid of, of course. If you want to bring joy to somebody, you should just think about it. There is no recipe, all depends on a person, for whom is a gift, and on the other person, who gives it – it is always a tete-a-tete relationship.

About a Dream

Falkin Sergey: I was born at the Lake Baikal, even though it’s not quite with the North. But I always had this interest. I have an idea to make a special exhibition – trip around the Arctic Ocean. To pass on to our north, Alaska, Canada, to show their work – shamans, mammoths, polar bears, graphics. And we are planning to finish in St. Petersburg, but with those artists, whome I will meet in this trip, I would gather them together and bring them here. However, it is a global project-monster, and I suspect that it will never happen, because it needs to attach too much effort and money.