A Fantastic Dictionary
The exhibition in the Foyer of the Hermitage Theater displays 25 works by St Petersburg artist Marina Azizian.
At the basis of the exhibition are small novellas written by Tonino Guerra, an Italian poet and film script writer, and the amazing works of Marina Azizian, in the medium of needlework, made during 2003.
Marina Azizian got to know Tonino Guerra in 2001 when he visited her atelier in St Petersburg. The films of Federico Fellini, based on scripts by Tonino Guerra, have had a special influence on the creative work of the St Petersburg artist, and she proposed a joint project around the theme of the alphabet..
Marina Azizian was born in Leningrad in 1938. On her mother's side she is a descendant of the Sokolov family from Staritsa. Many of her ancestors on the maternal side were skilled in folk crafts, especially in embroidery with golden thread and gilting church cupolas. Her mother, Anastasiya Sokolova was an art historian who worked in the Hermitage. Her father, Tsopak Azizian, was a painter who lived and worked in Yerevan.
In 1959 M. Ts. Azizian graduated from the Leningrad Theatrical Institute with a specialty as artist for the theater. She worked in various theaters around Russia, collaborated with well known stage designers, directors, and choreographers. She created a great number of productions in theaters including the Bolshoi in Moscow (Swan Lake, La Boheme). She has worked in the cinema and was the artist for 25 films including Monologue, Kain XII, and others.
Marina Azizian's favorite medium is needlework. Her compositions around letters resuscitate and give a visual dimension to ancient tongues such as Greek, Latin, Armenian and Russian. In the literal sense the word becomes an image, produces it from fabric and in gratitude decorative richness returns to the word its creative initiative (an analogy with the initials of medieval manuscripts is inevitable and logical) and the beauty of flourishing thought. An image on a decorative panel grows from the letters and turns into letters; the roots of various cultures are intertwined, merging into a unified system.
A special place in the works of the artist is reserved for letters and cryptograms. She decorates the letter with ornaments and designs, flowers and birds. Behind a single letter we can hear a whole orchestra of ideas, faith and traditions. The methods used by Marina Azizian to make her works so life-like are based on a jeweler's precision as she fixes one piece of material to another, makes unexpected combinations of fabrics accompanied by her own embroidery.
Marina Azizian has created panels inspired by the verses of Joseph Brodsky and Anna Akhmatova. These works have been very successfully exhibited in the A. A. Akhmatova Museum.
On the day of the opening of the exhibition, 15 January 2004, the Hermitage Theater was the venue for a stage show in which Tonino Guerra and Alisa Friendlikh, Statge Artist of Russia, as well as a number of actors from the Litsedei Theater troupe participated. The director of the show was Grigory Dityakovsky from the G.V. Tovstonogova Drama Theater.