Opening of the exhibition "The Transformed City"

11 September 2018
Press Office of the Amber Museum
"New Kaliningrad.Ru"

The Eighth Regional Biennial of Amber Artworks has been opened in the Amber Museum. This time the best stone carvers and jewellers of the region were proposed to think of the transformations Kaliningrad cityscape underwent before the World Championship, and to show these changes in their works. "Current Events Guide of the New Kaliningrad" («Афиша Нового Калининграда») was at the exhibition opening ceremony, listened to the live music,  attentively examined amber necklaces and earrings during the show of jewellery by amber artists Natalia Shevtchenko and Zhanna Lopatkina, even with more attention examined all works at the contest, and fortunately did not find any amber stadium.

The expression "urban studies" ceased to be a hardly understandable foreign-language loan-word long ago. Only this year in Kaliningrad have been held several big-scale workshops by Moscow specialists in urban realm formation, the urban forum on the Lake Verkhnee was turned into a real public celebration, and the theme of improving the cityscape transformed from theory into practice during the preparation for the World Football Championship. No wonder, the main theme of the Eighth Regional Biennial of Amber Artworks became the Transformed City. Surprising is that in the exhibition there are no amber bridges, public gardens, stadiums and other obvious, or even banal, variations of the theme. Every artist proposed his or her own exceptional interpretation: here are phantasmagoric compositions by the participant of the International Salon of Cultural Heritage in Louvre, stone carver Konstantin Bushmelyov, landscape sketches by the not less gifted master Elena Tsvolko, a fresh view of the cityscape and jewellery by numerous debutants of the contest.

"This year there are a lot of good works. Our artists keep the high level of their skills, and, what is especially joyful, there are always some newcomers, – tells the deputy director for research of the Amber Museum Irina Toropova. – Usually, these are young people, they bring in the new perspective, offer new combinations of various materials – amber and leather, amber and enamel, as it is the wide range of possibilities for an artist".

A work, uniting amber and brass, was submitted for the contest by Konstantin Domichkovskiy. He has been in jewellery craft for almost 20 years. "All my life I made all kind of ships, planes, worked at the table, that is why the goldsmith craft had soon become near and dear – hand were already adjusted, and what was the most important – I had enough patience", – tells Domichkovskiy. In the beginning of the 00s he just learned to make the simplest rings,today his works are at the Amber Museum's permanent exposition. For the contest he came up with the idea to make the "Window to the Dear City" (it is namely the title of the work) – he took a big light amber, decided to to polish it to much, only emphasised the natural beauty of the stone, and put a tiny Dohna Tower and the Cathedral inside.

The jury chairperson sculptor Lyudmila Bogatova does not answer the question, which of the works astonished her the most, with convoluted words and labyrinthine sentences – silently she leads us to the work by Konstantin Domichkovskiy. "Why it is exactly this work? Hard to explain, as the art can not be dissected,  first of all it is the feeling. Of course, we can discuss the creative part, the idea, can focus on the skills, excellent work with a cutter, everything is great here. Even this slight roughness of the stone works for the image of time, the old city. It should have been noticed, invented, guessed", – explains her choice Lyudmila Bogatova.

There were no disagreements among the jurors – the work "The Window to the Dear City" was awarded as the best in the category "I Am From Kaliningrad!". Here artists showed their personal relations with the city, its history using amber. In the category "Best Creative Idea" won Tamara Beletskaya who made a very modern jewellery set – a geometric necklace and a bracelet from amber, wood and leather – with a nostalgic name "The Old Town". The best work depicting "The Baltic Nature" was recognised "The Autumn Apple"by Elena Tsvolko. Prize for the best serial work was taken again by Konstantin Domichkovskiy. Specially for this category he created a necklace and a pendant from amber and silver resembling Saturn and its numerous rings. Among debutants the winner's diploma was awarded by the jury the work by Lyudmila Dushina "Rings in the Water" – it is a minimalistic necklace with a big pendant depicting either circles left by drops of the usual Kaliningrad rain falling in the Pergola River, or ones that appear when you through a stone into water and it is jumping on the sea surface.

"It seems, amber is a very simple structure, mineral understandable to everyone that exists for many millions of years, however when artists start to take something new out of it, this forms what we figuratively call a cultural code of the region, city, people who live here. That is, I believe, the main value of such biennials, – mentioned head of the regional Ministry of culture and tourism Andrei Ermak at the exhibition opening ceremony.

"Works by the amber artists can be an inspiration for the real arrangement of the cityscape. We discussed that in the city, which is the amber capital, lacks something – unusual art objects related to amber, – emphasised Andrei Ermak. – This could be a wonderful prologue for architects, designers to work in this direction, to think of the objects to take photo of, as a city becomes dear when there is something for photo shooting in it. There are many photo places in Kaliningrad, yet just a few of those connected with amber, and it could be changed drawing inspiration from this exhibition".

Traditionally after the end of the biennial (This year the exhibition will work until 7 October) the Amber Museum is going to purchase the most unconventional works for the state collection.

The text and the photos have been prepared specially for the Amber Museum by the portal "New Kaliningrad. Ru".

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