A candle leads me through a narrow corridor until the curtain splits up and mountains rise on various screens. The digital version of Nicholas Roerichs work is currently shown in the Melnicaloft. I went to the exhibit opening on the 8 October to get a first glance.
In a separated, dark room within the walls of the round brick building are large screens hanging from the ceiling in different sizes. The beanbags on the floor are there, waiting for you to sit and chill while watching the video installation. Besides the moving images of mountains and spiritual figurations the video shows portraits of the artist and short informational texts. Deep percussions underline the hypnotising effect of the colourful visual impressions. If you are ready to leave the room, it's time to get active. Paper and brushes are layed out on a table to be used. In a cosy surrounding with a hot coffee you are invited to express your thoughts and feelings on canvas. It's hard to stop if you once started to work with the colours like a Pollock.
The exhibit really is worth seeing. The concept not only gives you the space to contemplative immersion, but also provides an opportunity to reflect what you've experienced.
Nicholas, who was born in St. Petersburg in October 1874, was involved in some occult movements around 1900. He was interested in hypnosis and spiritual practises and so it's not surprising that his paintings are said to be hypnotic. This exhibition project translated Nicholas art into the present, represented in a multimedia environment. The Russian artist was politically enganged and as an activist, he tried to preserve art and architecture during the war. He had an idea about an ideal society formed in a sacred union of the east, which was based on spiritual thoughts. To do some research he travelled to Asia, where his mountain pictures originated from. The use of the colours blue and red symbolise the holy and spiritual. Nicholas is well known in Russia, unfortunately the worked rarely crossed the borders. I hope if you are in St. Petersburg you get to see his paintings-videos. Not only is it an aesthetic pleasure, but also a way to relaxe from the fast pace of the city.