Nikolai Polissky and Irina Kulik

strelka courtyard

What is the role of an artist in the urban environment? Is it in any way different from the role of an artist in the middle of a natural landscape? Can the social art be spectacular? How many years did Nikolo-Lenivets civilization needed to make its way from the tower of Babel to the hadron collider? Artist Nikolai Polissky and art historian Irina Kulik will be talking about these and many other relevant topics.

Nikolai Polissky was born in Moscow in 1957 and has been focusing on a new creative direction since 2000, creating large-scale objects in a natural environment out of natural materials, engaging rural residents of the areas around Nikola-Lenivets Village (literally “Lazy Nicholas”). His first project – Snowmen – emerged in Nikola-Lenivets in 2000 and was an army of 220 snowmen standing on the bank of the Ugra River. He followed up his Snowmen with other large-scale objects of natural materials – hay, wood, vine: his Tower of Hay, Firewood Stack, Media Tower, Lighthouse, and others. In 2006, Nikolai Polissky initiated and became the main ideologue for the first Arch-Stoyaniye Festival, which made sure that work by different artists started appearing in Nikola-Lenivets Village. Polissky introduced the Russian Pavilion at the XI Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2008. Polissky involves local residents of Nikola-Lenivets Village in his projects, former peasants, who have now become his co-authors, according to Polissky. The Nikola-Lenivets Folk Crafts Collective follows the artist everywhere he goes and has become a core component of his artistic concepts.

Irina Kulik currently works at the Moscow Museum of the Contemporary Art, lecturer at the Institute of the Contemporary Art and the UNIK Institute, contributor to the Artchronika magazine. Has had her work published in print newspapers, magazines, online media and academic journals since 1989. She has authored a great number of articles on literature, cinema, music and modern art, including articles in the the Russian exposition catalogues at the Venice Contempoprary Art Biennale and Venice Architecture Biennale. In 2000 she defended her doctoral dissertation in comparative literary studies at the University of Paris-8, France (the topic of her dissertation was “Overly complicated languages and text machines. The concept of language and creativity in avantgarde litearary movements”). Interview is a joint project between Strelka and

InterviewMagazine, during which interesting people tell about themselves and their projects.