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The Bright World of Dmitry Strizhov, or the Other Side

My first encounter with Dmitry Strizhov was like a magical trip to an other world - a gulp of fresh air for a person who spends too much time in a gas-polluted megalopolis, who canít imagine things differently.

Dmitry Strizhov, a native of St. Petersburg, returned to his birthplace after a 15-year stint in New York. During that time this Russian artist contributed a lot to the sacred world of art, with more than thirty stage sceneries completed - of international standing - for the ballet and theatre, including Viennaís Drama and Ballet Theatre. Dmitry was invited by Colorado Stateís senator to create a monumental entrance for a major Medical Centre in Denver. Dmitry is also a founder of recording company, Proforma Records, and he was the producer of a well-known CD by Boris Grebenschikov created with the cult American group, The Band.

Now, Dmitry is in St. Petersburg again. Despite the cityís beauty, refinement and exquisiteness, it is always in black and white in November and December (or even grey!). Still, itís very attractive in its own melancholic way. During this particular season St. Petersburg is mercilessly enveloped by an autumnal spleen, tearing away the last bright leaves, and making everything around it faceless and featureless. But, when you enter Dmitry Strizhovís apartment you enter a different world: a world without rain, dullness and moodiness. You seep into the world of bright colours, the sun and into the reckless energy of this innovator of modern art, who is willing to develop Russiaís culture and aesthetics. It greatly contrasted with the cold feelings that I usually harbour from St. Petersburgís streets, as I sensed something light and warm return a local of St. Petersburg to a state of sunny harmony.

Dmitryís art is emotional and bright, that transgresses limits and stereotypes, contrasting starkly with our black-and-white reality. A prime example of this is one of his designs for a beauty salon. The whole interior was conceptualised thoroughly and delicately, down to every impalpable detail by Dmitry, so that the impression of a small, sunny oasis is created in rainy, northern St. Petersburg. You donít want to exit the place, feeling compelled to return over and over again in order to be plumped full of energy, as a positive sensation of warmth and light emanates from every item and even from the walls. In addition, the artistís professionalism and talent created the impossible: an intensity of items and their details which donít rupture the harmony and naturalness of the premises.

Dmitry Strizhov founded the Free Artistís Union in Russia before leaving for the States. It was rather unusual for the late 1980s and the Union still exists today: meanwhile another project of Dimitryís in the works is the creation of the Modern Art Museum, which will add an extra flourish to St. Petersburgís art scene (which will inevitably prove to be a priceless input into the development of the city). Apprehending the need for such a museum in his home city, Dmitry is employing every effort, his professional experience, talent, and ardour to fulfill this cherished dream.

Artist, producer, writer, poet, designer: every creation of Dimitryís is a live and fresh stroke to the world of contemporary, Russian art.

by Veronika Kalinina

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