Where is the Angel?
29 June - 20 July 2014
Mayakovsky Library Art Center
Curator Mariam Ghani
In Translation group show
MANIFESTA 10 Parallel program
22 June - 31 October 2014

"Walter Benjamin describes the "task of the translator" as producing a new text in harmony with the intention of the original - faithful not to its letters, but to its spirit. Translation in this sense is the impulse to produce something new from something old, or to transpose and transplant ideas from one language, culture, medium, or moment to another - communicating across gaps of time and space, context and experience. This impulse can be traced through such phenomena as the literary translation, the cross-medium adaptation, the remake, the homage, the historical re-enactment, the art-historical reference, and the site-responsive installation (which both translates a specific time and place into an artwork, and adapts that artwork to other specific times and places, when re-presented in other venues). Translation can also be an attempt to understand, consume or subsume the other, or to understand the self through another's perception, as seen in the particular case of the 'Russica' collection in Russia's National Library, which has for hundreds of years collected books printed in other languages about Russia, or rather foreign representations of Russia – translations of Russia into other forms and spheres, and refractions of Russia as both notion and fact through a hundred different prisms. Finally, encoding and decoding can also be understood as special cases of translation, which allows for consideration of traditional cryptography, steganographic imagery, political allegories, the use of poems as passwords in certain movements, and the converso tradition in literature."Mariam Ghani

Where did the Guardian Angel?
2014 Collage-mural (plastic, founded knik-knakery, bijout
erie and rubber-sheets, acrylic, Ink on paper). 250Х350 cm

The artwork focuses on a well-known theme in European art and mass culture: guarddian angel protecting children. By comparing the reproductions of the paintings made bu artists from various centuries with contemporary artifacts and photographs I am attempting to conduct a visual research of how this of iconology transformations.

Throughout the centuries, the main iconology outline of the story remained the same, however, the details of the image sometimes greatly vary since artists wanted to make this image more clear for their contemporaries and fellow- -countrymen. But there were also artists who tried to provide their own unconventional interpretation of the guardian angel image and suggested a creative “translation” of this theme that would enable them to disguise “dangerous” messages. For example, in “Children Running From A Thunderstorm” Makovsky removed a key element from a familiar iconic image – the figure of a guardian angel – to make the viewer look at a real life scene where children are not protected and need support.

Contemporary guardian angel is an egoist who only cares about his own problems. Genuine social policies are substituted by shortsighted populism. Dubious lawmaking is covering someone”s political interests with measures seemingly oriented at children protection.

В центре внимания работы - известный сюжет европейского искусства и массовой культуры об ангеле-хранителе, оберегающем детей. Сопоставляя и противопоставляя репродукции произведений художников разных веков и стран и современные артефакты и фотографии, я предпринимаю визуальное исследование иконологических трансформаций этого изначально религиозного сюжета, превратившегося в популярный народный мотив.

Основная иконографическая канва сюжета оставалась неизменной на протяжении веков; однако детали изображения подчас значительно варьировались авторами, стремившимися сделать этот образ более понятным для народа своей страны и своей эпохи. Но были и художники, стремившиеся дать собственную, нетривиальную трактовку образа ангела-хранителя, и создавшие своего рода творческий перевод сюжета, позволявший скрыть «опасные» высказывания. Так в картине «Дети бегущие от грозы» К. Е. Маковский изымает из узнаваемого канонического изображения ключевой элемент – фигуру ангела-хранителя, заставляя зрителе взглянуть на реальную жизнь, в которой дети беззащитны и нуждаются в помощи.

Сегодняшний ангел-хранитель это эгоистичная фигура, погруженная в собственные дела. Подлинно социальная политика подменена недальновидным популизмом; сомнительное законотворчество прикрывает мнимой заботой о детях чьи-то личные политические интересы.

The study of the iconological transformation of the Guardian Angel.

Guardian Angel today.