Scriabin Society

Croatian Society “Alexander Scriabin”

Author Mirna Rudan Lisak

By

Gathered together to promote Scriabin’s art

On Thursday, November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Alexander Scriabin Society of Croatia was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music—the president is Prof. Ruben Dalibaltayan, vice-president Prof. Veljko Glodić, PhD, executive director Mr. Krešimir Starčević and secretary Prof. Julia Gubajdullina. The honorary president is Mr. Alexander Serafimovich Scriabin, PhD—Scriabin’s descendant, and it was a great honor and pleasure to accept the honorary membership, enthusiastically earned by Mr. Božo Kovačević (former Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia in Moscow) and me as a person who published the book Abstract Reproductive as Productive Art: Chromatic Fantasies of the Composer Alexander Scriabin, Painter Alexej Jawlensky and Pianist Ivo Pogorelich, in which a chapter is devoted to this wonderful composer—my favourite since childhood. By now, I gave lectures on Scriabin’s mystic chord at the Zagreb Arts Academy, Zagreb Academy of Music during my book promotion, in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb on the occasion of marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, and in Moscow on the occasion of marking the 100th anniversary of founding the Memorial Museum of A. N. Scriabin. Last year I published a travelogue on the latter.

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My speech during the Founding Assembly was beautifully announced by Professors Dalibaltayan and Glodić

Stories from Moscow left no one indifferent

The atmosphere at the Assembly was bursting with positive energy, so I take this opportunity to thank everyone for coming, especially the representatives of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Zagreb and the Russian national minority in Croatia. The audience could enjoy the contents of letters of support sent to the newly founded society by Alexander Serafimovich Scriabin and the Memorial Museum of A. N. Scriabin from Moscow, and the stories told by all the speakers were fascinating. Thus Mr. Kovačević’s story made us aware of how and where he met Alexander Serafimovich: it was in 2007 in the Glinka Museum when Alexander Serafimovich celebrated his 60th birthday, and the most interesting was that this celebration gathered three descendants of famous artists—Alexander Serafimovich as Scriabin’s descendant and descendants of Sergei Rachmaninoff and Boris Pasternak, which, as Mr. Kovačević concluded, can only be experienced in Moscow. Many wonderful experiences from Moscow were also shared with us by Prof. Glodić, while Prof. Dalibaltayan presented the Society, and Mr. Starčević outlined the goals that the Society will strive to achieve. It is an honor to be in the company of such distinguished individuals, at the same time wonderful people!

"During the Founding Assembly, letters of support from Alexander Serafimovich Scriabin—Scriabin's descendant, and the Memorial Museum of A. N. Scriabin from Moscow were read."

Arrival of many musicians

I thank my friends Lada Radić and Sandra Belak for spontaneously taking numerous photographs and video-works, and this is why only my speech is recorded in its entirety. I also thank Prof. Dalibaltayan and Prof. Glodić for presenting my work so beautifully. As I often attend cultural events as a Zagreb Mayor’s Envoy, I have always wondered what I would do if it ever happened that I would have to say something publicly without being prepared in advance—and it was during this Founding Assembly that I found myself in such a situation. So, it really meant a lot to me that great Davorin Kempf, the Croatian composer, conductor and educator, and Bosiljka Perić Kempf, our distinguished musicologist, music critic and publicist, congratulated me on my speech. But apart from hanging out with my dear friends, as well as dear Mrs. Ksenija Pavlinić-Tomašegović from the Croatian Museum of Naive Art and Mrs. Elizabeta Lalevska (Mr. Kovačević’s wife), I was most pleased by the unexpected reunion with Croatian great pianist Harry Gusek. His interpretations of Scriabin’s work and rich conversations permanently echo in my ears, along with conversations I have had throughout my life with my recently deceased Professor, mentor and friend, our great composer Bogdan Gagić.

FOUNDERS AND HONORARY
MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY

THE INVITATION I DESIGNED
FOR THIS EVENT

MR. KOVAČEVIĆ READS THE LETTER OF ALEXANDER SERAFIMOVICH SCRIABIN

RUBEN, VELJKO AND KREŠO MADE EVERYTHING LOOK BEAUTIFUL

CORDIAL MEETING WITH THE PIANIST HARI GUSEK

LADA TAKING A PICTURE OF MRS. BOSILJKA PERIĆ KEMPF AND ME

MRS. KSENIJA PAVLINIĆ-TOMAŠEGOVIĆ, DRAŽEN AND ME

THERE IS NO TRUE JOY WITHOUT FRIENDS

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“I invite all Scriabinists to join our society in order to gain new insights into the art of this great Russian composer and pianist.”

Invitation to everyone interested in Scriabin’s art

The Founding Assembly is the cornerstone for a wide spectrum of our future activities, which will range from concerts and lectures to various cultural events and guest appearances. We invite all Scriabinists to join our Society in order to gain new insights into the art of this, unfortunately, to a wider audience still insufficiently known Russian composer. Nevertheless, his work is of unquestionable importance for the history of art, because it occupies the very top of the bridge between classical and modern art, thus uniting the best from both of these frequently opposed “worlds.” And since Scriabin also aspired to synthesize all arts, we are sure that, besides music lovers, fans of other branches of arts will equally enjoy our program. We invite everyone to visit Scriabin Society Official Website and follow our work, which would be completely meaningless without the audience!

“I invite all Scriabinists to join our society in order to gain new insights into the art of this great Russian composer and pianist.”

You may also like my other posts…

Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more

“My” Spengler and Me

“My” Spengler and Me

Author Mirna Rudan Lisak

By

Forum—Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts journal for literature published my essay Painting Memento in Space Beyond History

Last week was quite nice—after working summer one by one the results are visible, so on Tuesday I took a stroll from the Zagreb Office for Culture to the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts to get a copy of the journal Forum, in which my newest essay was published. It is entitled Painting Memento in Space Beyond History: Fabijanić’s homage to Ivo Šebalj 100 years after Spengler’s Decline of the West. Oswald Spengler’s colossal book was once again the cornerstone for my contemporary concepts, and this time inevitable were also Goethe, Nietzsche, Thomas Mann and Višnja Machiedo; the latter with her masterpiece on French surrealism (it is a book where it is not certain who is better—the Surrealists or Machiedo interpreting them, so it is no surprise that she received Order of the Legion of Honor from the French Government). In addition, many other authors helped me to argue the interpretation of the fantastic exhibition of Ivo Šebalj’s paintings, set up this spring in the Zagreb Modern Gallery by my professor, mentor and friend, the Croatian renowned architect Nenad Fabijanić.

Oswald Spengler and The Hour of Decision

Since Spengler is my favorite philosopher and one of my favorite authors in general, the coincidence that happened to me on my return from the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts shocked me positively. As I walked through the Tesla Street, my eyes slid down to the window of the AGM bookstore and I could not believe what I saw: right in front of me there was a newly published translation of Spengler’s The Hour of Decision—the book I already wanted to buy in English because unfortunately I do not speak German well enough to read the Spengler in original (it is a pity because he writes at such a high literary level that he could, and perhaps should, have been a writer). And when I took a closer look, I realized that the whole next window was entirely decorated with just one book—his Man and Technics—the book which I already have in my collection, so on my return from the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, besides the copy of Forum, I also brought one more Spengler with me.

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Oswald Spengler: The Hour of Decision—I saw my favorite author’s book on the way back from the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts

Authors published in Forum

Is it necessary to point out what an honor it is to be featured on the cover of Forum, a journal for literature whose editor at the very beginning was the great Croatian writer Miroslav Krleža (my work could have been published in the Chronicles instead, which would also be nice, or my work did not have to be selected for publication at all). And here are some of the great Croatian names that were featured on the cover of Forum: Viktor Žmegač, Luko Paljetak, Tonko Maroević, Mladen Machiedo, Pavao Pavličić, Julijana Matanović, Ivo Brešan, Dorta Jagić, Dubravko Detoni, Petar Selem, Krešimir Nemec, Ante Stamać, Ivan Aralica, Goran Tribuson, Slobodan Novak, Zvonimir Mrkonjić, Slobodan Šnajder, Jakša Fiamengo, Žarko Paić, Drago Štambuk, Slavko Jendričko. In addition, Forum frequently publishes translations of literary giants— from Dante to Yesenin, Lorca and many others. But it is always tricky to list because it is highly likely to forget someone really important, so I apologize in advance and ask kindly to keep in mind that I did not mention the names alphabetically, but in the “Surrealist madness.”

"Epilogue: my book Abstract Reproductive as Productive Art is kept in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Library and is featured on the Official Website of the legendary pianist Ivo Pogorelich."

World-famous artist’s support to emerging author

Epilogue: since last week my book Abstract Reproductive as Productive Art: Chromatic Fantasies of the Composer Alexander Scriabin, Painter Alexej Jawlensky and Pianist Ivo Pogorelich is kept in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts Library, and after being featured on the Official Website of Alexej von Jawlensky Archiv in Switzerland since 2017, it is now featured on the Official Website of the legendary pianist Ivo Pogorelich, for which I cordially thank Maestro. It is a big deal when a world-renowned artist supports a rather anonymous author—it is also very, very brave! Therefore, at this moment I wish to point out that my essays would never come to existence without fantastic artists whose works I interpret. And since Pogorelich as a music interpreter had enormous impact on my work throughout my life, in a medium different from his I try to do exactly what he does, which is to plunge into the core of the original artwork and present it in an entirely new way.

PAINTING MEMENTO—THE EXHIBITION OF IVO ŠEBALJ’S ART WORKS IN THE ZAGREB GALLERY OF MODERN ART

IVO ŠEBALJ’S FASCINATING PAINTINGS

THE PORTRAIT OF IVO ŠEBALJ MADE BY IVAN SABOLIĆ

IT IS A GREAT HONOUR TO BE FEATURED ON THE COVER OF THE JOURNAL FORUM

THE BUILDING OF THE CROATIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND ARTS

MONUMENTAL ENTRANCE TO THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND ARTS

MAGNOLIA—MY FAVOURITE PLACE TO CELEBRATE IN AFTER ALL THE EFFORTS

CELEBRATING WITH MY COLLEAGUE
AND FRIEND SANDRA BELAK

FANTASTIC PATISSERIE MAGNOLIA

Blog-Oswald-Spengler-Mirna-Rudan-Lisak

“The entire window of AGM Bookstore was arranged with Spengler’s book Man and Technics, which thrilled me as the last year was marking the 100th anniversary of the publication of his masterpiece The Decline of the West.”

Achievements should be celebrated

In the end, what would be any success if one had no one to share it with, so after celebrating it with my colleague and friend Sandra Belak at our favorite Zagreb cake-shop Magnolia, now I celebrate it with all of you—my readers!

“The entire window of AGM Bookstore was arranged with Spengler’s book Man and Technics, which thrilled me as the last year was marking the 100th anniversary of the publication of his masterpiece The Decline of the West.”

You may also like my other posts…

Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more

Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Author Mirna Rudan Lisak

By

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of establishing Bauhaus

In April this year, the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art provided me a wonderful experience by inviting me to give a lecture as a part of its educational program—for me as an author it was fantastic to get the opportunity to present my book Abstract Reproductive as Productive Art in that contemporary temple of culture and art! It was an honor to give a lecture on the occasion of marking the 100th anniversary of establishing Bauhaus in such an important and valuable institution, which, with its excellent program, inscribed Zagreb and Croatia on the cultural map of Europe and the world.

Everything was so beautifully decorated that I was stunned when I saw how adorable the “stage” was—I could choose whether to perform in the lecture hall or in the exhibition space, and I chose the latter because it was immediately clear that the environment consisting the artworks of Josef and Anni Albers, famous Bauhaus representatives, was unrepeatable. I am immensely grateful to the Museum Director, Mrs. Snježana Pintarić, PhD, for the fantastic introduction; she amazed me with the way she connected my work (research of chromatic fantasies of the composer Alexander Scriabin, painter Alexej Jawlensky and pianist Ivo Pogorelich) with the chromatic fantasies of the mentioned artists.

I

Fantastic experience: giving lecture on abstract reproductive art surrounded by abstract canvases of famous Josef and Anni Albers

Reproductive art as a space for interpretation of original works

The video of the lecture is finally online, so I hope it will be interesting to everyone interested in reproductive art as a space for interpreting works that are already in existence. It is a bit noisy at the beginning because the MSU building is designed to maximize communication (the walls are mostly not built to the ceiling), and as the entrance to the showroom is also completely open, it is impossible to be isolated from the surrounding sounds. Nevertheless, I am sure that no one will mind children playing in the adjacent space, especially because their enthusiasm becomes pretty quiet after the first few minutes. I was glad to hear that children visit museums and that MSU has a rich educational program for all generations—congratulations to the Head of the MSU Education Department Ms. Dunja Martić Štefan!

“It was wonderful to give a lecture on the occasion of celebrating the 100th anniversary of founding Bauhaus, and be surrounded by fascinating canvases by famous Josef and Anni Albers!”

Arrival of young dancers from the School of Contemporary Dance

Dancers from the School of Contemporary Dance “Ana Maletić” announced the arrival, so I adapted the content of the lecture to their needs and shortened everything that was not their priority. Other sections will be more prominent on another occasions, as it is impossible for me to fully present the contents of my book in only 45 minutes. The lecture also contains two of my video-works: a video entitled Music Iconostasis of the Painter Alexej Jawlensky (electronic music for the video is composed by Robert Selimović), and a video of my Multidisciplinary Virtual Installation. Thus I added two more avenues to the lecture in order to interdisciplinary complement the written word with pictures and sound. The camera, unfortunately, had a 30-minute recording limit, but since the audio part was recorded in its entirety, in the second part of the video I was able to make an animation consisting photos and pictures of the lecture, which was enriched with a large number of visual and musical contributions. In this part my voice can be heard better, but due to all technical challenges I advise to put on the headphones.

The artworks of Josef and Anni Albers could be viewed in detail before and after the lecture

I explain to the dancers the inner balance of mystic chord

Colleagues Dunja Martić Štefan and Ariana Tafra discuss my lecture on culture and art

Before leaving, one more look at the works of Josef and Anni Albers

Leaving the museum in a
good mood

Blog MSU

Wonderful moment to remember

To me, this experience was truly one of those wonderful moments to remember, so I thank my colleague Dunja Martić Štefan for making my lecture so beautifully announced and organized. I would also like to thank everyone for coming and for the interest in this topic—my friend Lada Radić took many of these beautiful photographs. I was also thrilled that so many people immediately decided to buy my book; some for themselves and some more than one copy for their institutions. Thank you all for your support and wonderful company that filled me with tremendous amount of positive energy!

“I am immensely grateful to the Museum Director, Mrs. Snježana Pintarić, for the fantastic introductory words—she amazed me with the way she connected my work with the chromatic fantasies of Josef and Anni Albers”

Blog MSU

“I am immensely grateful to the Museum Director, Mrs. Snježana Pintarić, for the fantastic introductory words—she amazed me with the way she connected my work with the chromatic fantasies of Josef and Anni Albers”

Wonderful moment to remember

To me, this experience was truly one of those wonderful moments to remember, so I thank my colleague Dunja Martić Štefan for making my lecture so beautifully announced and organized. I would also like to thank everyone for coming and for the interest in this topic—my friend Lada Radić took many of these beautiful photographs. I was also thrilled that so many people immediately decided to buy my book; some for themselves and some more than one copy for their institutions. Thank you all for your support and wonderful company that filled me with tremendous amount of positive energy!

You may also like my other posts…

Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more
Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more

Travelogue: Conference in Moscow (2)

Travelogue: Conference in Moscow (2)

Author Mirna Rudan Lisak

Piše:

Trip to Moscow to attend a conference organized to mark the 100th anniversary of establishing the Scriabin Museum

It is a New Year’s Eve and the last moment to say goodbye—is there a better way of doing it than by remembering the highlights of 2018? Of course, for me it was the participation in a conference organized to mark the 100th anniversary of founding the Memorial Museum of Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin, the famous Russian composer and pianist. Since I devoted to his mystic chord the entire first chapter of my book Abstract Reproductive as Productive Art: Chromatic fantasies of the Composer Alexander Scriabin, Painter Alexej Jawlensky and Pianist Ivo Pogorelich, the Scriabin Museum invited me to Moscow to present the results of my work, as well as to listen to what other artists and researchers have to say about Scriabin’s art. The title of the chapter is Alexander Scriabin’s Mystic Chord as a Marionette of Heinrich von Kleist, because I discerned in mystic chord a figure in motion that comes to life the moment Scriabin, like a puppeteer, from the center of his spiritual creation manages the world of sounds.

Blog Moscow  Red Square

Walking around Moscow at night is a wonderful experience due to an unusual warmth radiated by this often very icy city

Vers la flamme like the flaming form of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral

After visiting Moscow, it seems to me that the mobility of mystic chord, besides in the urban structure of this city, may even more likely have its origin in the blazing form of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Thus the decision to project fire on the screen during my elaboration of Scriabin’s composition Vers la flamme (Toward the Flame) and Prometheus: The Poem of Fire in this context also proved to be appropriate. And obviously neither Stravinsky was far from the same idea when he composed his world known masterpiece Firebird. It seems to me that many Russian artists have found in this picturesque cathedral a spiritual drive for their artistic concepts, and as it is located at the very origin of Moscow, I cannot escape the impression that precisely this church is the eternal hearth of all Russians, having the power to thaw even the coldest hearts during the endless winter nights. However, I noticed the greatest interest of the audience when I presented the last picture—Sir James Fraser’s spiral illusion, and only now I realize that long before I went to Moscow, by choosing this pictorial example, I had anticipated my future experience of the rhythm, harmony and melody of the city in which numerous Russian artists created their greatest works (read more in Part 1 of this travelogue).

“During the conference it was wonderful to exchange opinions with numerous Scriabinist artists and researchers, staff of the Scriabin Museum and professors from the Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatories.”

Numerous new acquaintances and friendships

Let’s get back to the conference—it was wonderful to exchange ideas with the museum staff and professors from the Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatories. On top of that, the place in the conference schedule reserved for my lecture was indeed a great honor: on the second day, the first lecture was given by the Academician Atanas Kurtev (the famous Bulgarian pianist who teaches at numerous European Conservatories), after his lecture I was the one to present my work on mystic chord, and then the podium was reserved for Alexander Serafimovich Scriabin—Scriabin’s descendant and the President of the Scriabin Foundation and the Honorary President of the UK based Scriabin Association. As I do not speak Russian, I prepared the lecture in English and sent the text to the Scriabin Museum, thus my colleague Areg Mekhakyan, who—in addition to preparing an extremely interesting lecture on the connection between Scriabin’s music and Eastern philosophy—was kind to translate it into Russian in order to be able to simultaneously read part by part during my presentation. This is why everyone expected me to speak English, not knowing that as an expression of respect and gratitude I prepared the first few sentences in fluent Russian (I have practiced proper accents for a week). I will never forget the spontaneous smile of the audience as a reaction to that surprise. Everyone was very friendly during the conference: Vladimir Popkov, the Head of the Scientific Research Department, made sure that everything develops smoothly from the first invitation letter until participants’ departure from Moscow, and one of the most fascinating people I had a chance to meet was Mrs. Valentina Vassilyevna Rubtsova, the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Music.

Everything is ready for the beginning of the conference

A. Kurtev, N. Kurtev and A. S. Scriabin—Scriabin’s Descendant

Maestro Kurtev and me exchanging ideas during the break

Areg Mekhakyan and me taking care of the last details

I present my book below the picture of my favorite composer

Talking about Scriabin’s longing for cosmic perfection

Architecture as dialectical opposite to Scriabin’s dynamic musical structures

Discussing the analogy of mystic chord and Kleist’s marionette

Analogy between the body in motion and flame

Spiral illusion by Sir James Fraser showing analogy between the end and the beginning

Plaster cast of Scriabin’s hands in the Museum’s multimedia section

The multimedia space

Before departure one more walk along Arbat Street

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Real life stories are often like fairy-tales

Every story that resembles a fairy-tale always has an unexpected epilogue, so this one is no different: when I returned to Zagreb, colleagues from the Scriabin Museum contacted me to inform me that on the occasion of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Museum they would like to publish my complete essay on mystic chord in Russian! Since translating into a foreign language is the greatest dream of all authors, I immediately started working as 80 pages urgently needed to be translated into English so that the Museum would have enough time to translate it into Russian and publish it next year. The indication that the New Year could be as good as the past one is the best possible ending of 2018, so in Scriabin’s spirit I wish all the readers to fulfill all of their chromatic fantasies and all the best in 2019!

“Translation into a foreign language is every author’s dream.”

Blog-Moscow-2-Fairytale

“Translation into a foreign language is every author’s dream.”

Real life stories are often like fairy-tales

Every story that resembles a fairy-tale always has an unexpected epilogue, so this one is no different: when I returned to Zagreb, colleagues from the Scriabin Museum contacted me to inform me that on the occasion of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Museum they would like to publish my complete essay on mystic chord in Russian! Since translating into a foreign language is the greatest dream of all authors, I immediately started working as 80 pages urgently needed to be translated into English so that the Museum would have enough time to translate it into Russian and publish it next year. The indication that the New Year could be as good as the past one is the best possible ending of 2018, so in Scriabin’s spirit I wish all the readers to fulfill all of their chromatic fantasies and all the best in 2019!

You may also like my other posts…

Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more
Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more

Travelogue: Conference in Moscow (1)

Travelogue: Conference in Moscow (1)

Author Mirna Rudan Lisak

By

Trip to Moscow to attend a conference organized to mark the 100th anniversary of establishing the Scriabin Museum

It is October and I am finally in Moscow, a city that I have always wanted to visit because this is where my favorite composer Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin lived and worked (Moscow, January 6, 1872—Moscow, April 27, 1915). His apartment is located right next to Arbat Street, which has been described in numerous Russian literary works, and since Bulgakov in his mystical novel The Master and Margarita even evoked a flight over it, I decided that the chosen hotel would have to be in it, or at least in the closest possible neighborhood (I still hoped that, unlike the poet Homeless and editor Berlioz, I would avoid a sudden encounter with the devil). Realizing that the hotel I liked was located in the Composer’s Street, there was no longer any doubt where to stay, and the Google Maps showed that Scriabin’s and Pushkin’s museums were only a two or three minute walk away.

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The famous Arbat Street in which the main protagonists of numerous Russian literary works spent unforgettable moments

Synesthesia-based interdisciplinarity

The building where Scriabin lived is completely transformed into his Memorial Museum. On the ground floor there is a hall for chamber concerts, exhibitions, lectures, etc., while on the first floor one can enjoy the original preserved Scriabin’s apartment and his Bechstein piano, which later played numerous famous pianists (Sofronitsky, Neuhaus, Horowitz, Van Cliburn, Pletnev, etc.). The adjacent building has also recently been refurbished in order to create a bigger concert hall (it is necessary to pass the courtyard to get there), and it is worth mentioning that the hall is enriched with light effects, reminding us that Scriabin was a visionary far ahead of his of time, laying the foundations of the modern light-show. It is commonly believed that Scriabin, influenced by synaesthesia—a phenomenon characterized by the interaction of the senses, became aware that each musical tonality corresponds to a certain colour. Following this idea, in his famous composition Prometheus: The Poem of Fire, he composed a section for light organ in order to translate musical harmonies into color structures (more on the matter in my book Abstract Reproductive as Productive Art). Consequently, his colour system, grounded in Newton’s optics, is in harmony with the circle of quints (a five tone span), which is demonstrated on a light device from the early 20th century (picture with colorful light bulbs).

“Scriabin's flexible melody structures, rich in chromatics and thus challenging for performer's memory, may have its origins in the urban structure of his city.”

Moscow as a huge Fibonacci spiral

This trip once again confirmed that it is highly desirable to travel to the city where an artist lived and worked. Just like in Prague, where it becomes clear that Kafka’s The Metamorphosis could not have been written anywhere else, in Moscow it becomes clear that Scriabin’s flexible melody structures, rich in chromatics and thus challenging for the performer’s memory, may have its origins in the urban structure of his city. It was really difficult to develop a sense of space, i.e. to determine the north and the south; in fact in Moscow it is almost impossible to orient at first. Therefore, if I had to describe Moscow in one word, it would be the word “maelstrom.” The moment you immerse in the spirit and essence of this city, you feel that—not even knowing how—you have suddenly found yourself in a huge Fibonacci spiral, and in that particular moment the only thing you can do is to close circle by circle step by step, in the rhythm of Shostakovich’s Waltz No. 2., until you reach the very point of its origin, where you get overwhelmed at once with the shine of the flaming and picturesque beauty of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It must be that Ivan the Terrible was not so terrible after all, leaving such a fabulous building behind, but the moment you reluctantly decide to leave, you realize that Shostakovich’s elegant waltz has turned into Khachaturian’s fateful three-fourths tact, and in this masked acceleration, to me it is still not clear how after Red Square I found myself in front of the Bolshoi Theater, because I was sure it was on the opposite side.

Entrance to the Scriabin Museum

The hall on the ground floor of the Scriabin Museum

Staircase leading to Scriabin’s first floor apartment

Scriabin’s famous Bechstein

Scriabin’s colour system taking as base the Optics of Isaac Newton and circle of quints

This is how “tastiera di luce” looks when the light bulbs are on

On the left side of the closet is a small cabinet with Scriabin’s tail coat and white gloves

Another Scriabin’s piano and his picture above

Living room

Plaster cast of Scriabin’s hands

Scriabin’s bedroom

The courtyard leading to the concert hall

Climbing to the gallery

Concert Hall—the gallery view

Concert hall under the glow of light effects

Walk to Red Square—on the left the statue of General Zhukov

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed protrudes from the opposite side of Red Square

In front of Saint Basil’s Cathedral

The Red Square dimensions are perfect for claustrophobic people

The fairy-tale interior of St. Basil’s Cathedral

On the top of the dome a spiral analogy with the urban structure of Moscow

A little more of the fairy-tale interior of the cathedral

View from the first floor of St. Basil’s Cathedral

The impressive Bolshoi Theater

Giselle on the repertoire

View from the Bolshoi Theater towards Red Square

Blog-Moscow-1-Aerodrom

Transience of fame

The story is already too long for today, and the goal was not to document every single detail of the trip (much less in the chronological order), but to convey a breath of atmosphere and inspire someone else to travel to Moscow and get acquainted with the character and work of an artist known for his unusual destiny, because just a few were so famous like Scriabin during their lifetimes, and so quickly forgotten after death.

“This trip once again confirmed that it is highly desirable to travel to the city where researched artist lived and worked.”

Blog-Moscow-1-Aerodrom

“This trip once again confirmed that it is highly desirable to travel to the city where researched artist lived and worked.”

Transience of fame

The story is already too long for today, and the goal was not to document every single detail of the trip (much less in the chronological order), but to convey a breath of atmosphere and inspire someone else to travel to Moscow and get acquainted with the character and work of an artist known for his unusual destiny, because just a few were so famous like Scriabin during their lifetimes, and so quickly forgotten after death.

You may also like my other posts…

Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more
Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more

Fellow of the French Government

Fellow of the French Government

Author Mirna Rudan Lisak

By

International collaborations in the Zagreb Office for Culture

Thanks to my active knowledge of French, this spring at the City Office for Culture I was appointed to meet Mrs. Anne-Sophie Braud, the French Cultural Attaché in the Republic of Croatia and the Deputy Director of the French Institute in Zagreb. The meeting was also attended by Ms. Braud’s associates from the French Institute, as well as our colleagues from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the Zagreb Tourist Board. The topic was Outings—an interactive street art project authored by the French artist Julien de Casabianca, who is known for visiting many cities around the world to apply enlarged reproductions of fine art works on the building facades, thus encouraging local population to connect with their museum collections. It was a delight to find out that Zagreb had finally been selected for the mentioned project, and it is worth mentioning that for this occasion the artist chose famous art works of the great Croatian painter Vlaho Bukovac.

Courants du Monde—Francophone program in Paris

Since I led the meeting in French, and I also did everything within my competence necessary for the project realization, Ms. Braud asked me whether I would like to be a French Embassy candidate for the participation in the international Francophone program Courants du monde, which was to be organized in October by the French Ministry of Culture, taking place in Paris and its surroundings. As this program is designed for already established professionals in the field of culture and art, I immediately accepted this fantastic offer, emphasizing that it would be an honor for me to be a French Embassy candidate, since the French Ministry of Culture expects the first selection to be done before the final selection, which takes place in Paris. The application was extremely demanding—I wrote as many as fourteen pages in French, so I was particularly delighted that my engagement was immediately rewarded, which unfortunately is not always the case in my home country. I was astonished when the French Ministry of Culture informed me, a whole month before the official announcement, that my scholarship had been granted to me, in order not to accept another professional obligation in October. Later on, I learned that 80 candidates from all over the world entered the shortlist, and only 14 were awarded scholarships.

Blog-Paris-Ministere-de-la-culture-tablet-mobile

At the Ministry of Culture, located in the heart of Paris (right next to the Louvre), each Fellow gave a lecture on the culture of his country and his own work

Lectures at sixteen French cultural institutions

Shortly before the trip I got the program details, so I learned that after Paris we would spend a few days in the southern France in Montpellier. As the program topic was Enjeux et mise en œuvre de la politique des publics dans les structures culturelles (Challenges and Implementation of Public Policy in Cultural Structures), the educational lecture cycle was organized in 16 prestigious cultural institutions, which, in addition to networking with Fellows from twelve countries from all over the world, enabled reaching new contacts from the French cultural sector as well. Thus we strengthened our existing knowledge and gained new skills that could later be passed on to our colleagues, in my case the directors of the Zagreb museums. On top of that, individual meetings with professionals from three prominent cultural houses by choice were made possible, and I chose Musée Picasso (Paris), Éditions du Centre Pompidou (Paris) & ICI—Centre Chorégraphique National (Montpellier). Organizers from the Ministry of Culture thought that my selection was very ambitious, so they could not hide the surprise when I informed them that I had even been granted a meeting in the famous French publishing house Éditions du Centre Pompidou, which is specialized in the fields of culture and art. Thanks to this meeting, my book Abstract Reproductive as Productive Art is kept in its archives, and as I knew that the works of my favorite painter Alexej Jawlensky were kept in the Georges Pompidou Center, I donated a translation of my essay Music Iconostasis of the Painter Alexej Jawlensky, to make it available to researchers interested in the work of this Russian modern artist.

“I am happy that so far new three colleagues from Zagreb received the recommendation of the French Embassy, and I am delighted that all three of them were granted scholarships!”

Pianos—the leitmotif of my stay in Paris

The classes were so tightly organized that there was hardly any time for the tourist sightseeing. Nevertheless, during the breaks I enjoyed taking a stroll to my favorite locations—I always like to visit Place Vendôme, since the piano poet Frédéric Chopin lived there, and I also always get equally fascinated by the elegant proportions of the Eiffel Tower. Overall, I was lucky to have spent a couple of months in Paris, so the only free Saturday we had available I took sightseeing my new friend from Serbia, Slobodan Bogojevic, and I wanted him to see as much as possible of the “city of lights” as it was his first visit there. We concluded that surprises are inevitable when you wander around like a true Parisian flaneur, and the sudden encounter with the Steinway piano shop at 230 Boulevard Saint-Germain was one of my favorites. This time, the pianos have somehow accompanied me throughout my stay in Paris, thus as a souvenir from the subway I photographed a poster announcing chanson nights performed by the famous French actor Gérard Depardieu. Unfortunately, I could not attend any of them because they were to take place after my return to Zagreb.

12 Place Vendôme is the address where lived and worked the poet of the piano Frédéric Chopin

Le roi soleil… a giant sun for the city of light, love, art and fashion

One of the many lectures that enriched us permanently

Is there anything better than walking around and eating candies during the break?

Au soleil, sous la pluie, à midi ou à minuit, Il y a tout ce que vous voulez aux Champs-Elysées

Getting a scholarship like this is a triumphant experience!

I will never forget Slobodan’s facial expression when he first saw the Eiffel Tower

Could the French surrealists, living by the Seine, accomplish the same swirling nightmare that Lautréamont’s pen possessed due to crossing the ocean?

Our favourite local coffee shop, where we relaxed every evening

A stroll along Saint-Germain Boulevard brought me one of the most wonderful surprises—the Steinway Piano Shop

Beautiful Steinway Pianos—dream of many pianists and I was lucky to grow up playing one of them

Slobodan and me looking for the subway line

Several lectures were organized in
the Georges Pompidou Center

The Georges Pompidou Center—enjoying exhibition during the break

Fellows from Twelve Countries (wearing pink the Georges Pompidou Center Library Manager)

Pianos followed me on every step of the way—in the subway the announcement of the chanson evening performed by famous French actor Gérard Depardieu

Blog-Paris-Ngakane-et-moi

Door opened for other Zagreb professionals

I am filled with joy that so far with my help three other colleagues from Zagreb have received the recommendation of the French Embassy—one is from the Zagreb Libraries, one from the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art and one from the Mimara Museum—and I’m thrilled that all three of them were granted scholarships! Ever since I had came back, my mission was to provide as many Zagreb professionals as possible with this fantastic experience, but it should be noted that success depends solely on the candidate’s professional accomplishments and his application quality level. The recommendation is only the first step on the road to success, as applications come from all over the world, and the final selection is taking place in Paris. But I have never doubted Croatian people, which so far has proved quite right!

“Mon ami et moi: the greatest treasure I brought home from France are new friendships from all over the world, and the two most precious are with Ngakane Gning from Senegal and Slobodan Bogojević from Serbia.”

Blog-Paris-Ngakane-et-moi

“Mon ami et moi: the greatest treasure I brought home from France are new friendships from all over the world, and the two most precious are with Ngakane Gning from Senegal and Slobodan Bogojević from Serbia.”

Door opened for other Zagreb professionals

I am filled with joy that so far with my help three other colleagues from Zagreb have received the recommendation of the French Embassy—one is from the Zagreb Libraries, one from the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art and one from the Mimara Museum—and I’m thrilled that all three of them were granted scholarships! Ever since I had came back, my mission was to provide as many Zagreb professionals as possible with this fantastic experience, but it should be noted that success depends solely on the candidate’s professional accomplishments and his application quality level. The recommendation is only the first step on the road to success, as applications come from all over the world, and the final selection is taking place in Paris. But I have never doubted Croatian people, which so far has proved quite right!

You may also like my other posts…

Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more
Scriabin Society

Scriabin Society

On November 14, 2019, the Founding Assembly of the Croatian Society “A. Scriabin” was held at the Zagreb Academy of Music with the support of the Moscow Scriabin Museum

read more
Lecture in MSU

Lecture in MSU

Find out more about the lecture I gave in the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb surrounded by the works of famous Josef and Anni Albers to mark the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus

read more