Editor's Note: Jacob Rath '13 participated in the summer program "Arts and Museums in Russia."
It is always exciting to make art in a new location with a new group of people – and the SRAS Art and Museums in Russia program was no exception. Making art in Russia was a different experience from making art in America, and while on the trip I took a vacation from the type of work I usually make. The Russian art scene is more aware of the history of art than the American scene. I enjoyed seeing how the artwork of Russia often referenced the works that came before it, and how many of these influences were similar to artistic influences in America.
One piece that we saw in the Erarta that demonstrates knowledge of the classical canon while adding a new twist was a sculpture of the Last Supper. The figures in the sculpture were positioned in the exact same manner was as Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco, and were covered in a giant blanket. It was amazing how iconic the outline of the figures was, and that the shape alone was enough to clue the viewer in to what was underneath.
I loved the museum tours and the studio classes, but my favorite parts of the trip were the times I got to experience everyday life. The things I found most intriguing and surprising were the most mundane. I remember being amazed by the fact that eggs came in packs of ten instead of packs of twelve in America. I was intrigued by how different the manhole covers and bathroom signs were in Russia. I loved watching people in the metro. I liked trying to figure out where they were going, and what they were going to do. I especially loved seeing people carrying flowers – and imagining who these people were going to bring the flowers to. By the end of the trip I decided to take photographs of graffiti. It was beautiful to see how simultaneously familiar and foreign these objects and actions were in Russia.