Splashing water, gondolas, bridges, a palazzo, the smell of freezing algae - this is how we imagine Venice. Every year the city is overwhelmed by a wave of carnival, and in the reflections of the water surface of the canals you see not tourists, but the most fantastic characters.
“To get to Venice for a carnival is the same as to sit on a needle, the desire to go there again is constantly increasing,” says artist Mikhail Shemyakin. “For more than twenty-five years, I have been photographing the faces of costumed people at a carnival in Venice — friends and acquaintances, in luxurious costumes or in a stupid cheap mask just bought in the square — and trying to figure out what is happening with the animated mask. It gives a person emancipation: you can afford bold and truthful words and gestures. Even a short carnival freedom gives us a sense of confidence, impunity of their jokes. ”
However, Mikhail Shemyakin is not only an observer and artist, whose works are imbued with the spirit of carnival, but also an active participant - a performer, mystifier and philosopher. He has been traveling to Venice for a quarter of a century already and specially composed costumes for himself and his friends, among whom you will meet clown Slava Polunin, actors Anton Adasinsky, Anvar Libabov and other famous artists and artists. His carnival processions "Memento mori" or "Embassy of Peter the Great" reveal the very essence of this phenomenon: the eternal human need for real freedom from the limitations of society and the fear of death.
The center of Mikhail Shemyakin recreates a small corner of Venice in its northern “branch” - Petersburg. You will feel the atmosphere of narrow streets, the warmth of the wooden railing of the bridges, look into a large round window resembling a pupil of the eye, and most importantly you will see the most spectacular carnival images created by Mikhail Shemyakin or caught by him in the camera lens. “Venice is the beloved eye,” wrote Joseph Brodsky in The Embankment of the Incurable. And this is especially true when we talk about the view of the artist - Mikhail Shemyakin.
The curator of the exhibition is Olga Sazonova, artistic director of the Mikhail Shemyakin Center.