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8Oct/100

Russian presidents in Yekaterinburg art gallery

Yekaterinburg Gallery of Modern Art as usual holds an interesting photo exhibition Our Shots this October. The most curious photos of the famous Russian newspaper Kommersant present top Russian personalities in a very peculiar way.

If you happen to stay in Yekaterinburg do visit it on Krasnoarmeyskaya 32. More information about the gallery is here (the web-site is in English) http://www.uralgallery.ru/en-index.php

And some photos from the exhibition are here:

29Sep/101

New monuments of Yekaterinburg

Like all post-Soviet cities, Yekaterinburg has many impressive Soviet monuments including ubiquitous Lenin on Lenin Avenue. Fortunately, the 21st century artists have paid their tribute. The new monuments and sculptures of Yekaterinburg are less grandeur, more true-to-life and attract many tourists. Thanks to them the city looks cosier warmer and unique.

Giant keyboard aka QWERTY monument or Klava in Russian

Well, this one is following the Soviet traditions being rather gigantic - QWERTY monument is relatively new but has already become one of the main city attractions along with Church on the Blood. It's interesting, that in a few days after the official opening of the monument somebody stole two concrete letters (each letter weighs 80 kg!) The letters were never found and were replaced by the new heavier ones. You can find it and jump from Enter to Delete on the eastern bank of the Iset River between Malysheva and Kuybysheva streets next to the Beatles monument.

Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour

The monument to the Beatles was opened by the local fan club in Yekaterinburg. Reportedly, it's the only Beatles memorial in Russia

Sir Paul hasn't had time to visit it yet but John Lennon's band Quarrymen came to the opening ceremony and that was more than enough to make the post-Soviet fans happy.  Now the monument is also supported by the Wall of Love. The wall depicts the houses of the Beatles in Liverpool and everyone can leave a peaceful message on it.

The Russian music fans like to take pictures at the monument to Vladimir Vysotsky and Marina Vlady in front of Antey skyscraper

Vladimir Vysotsky was an iconic Soviet singer. His songs about common people in Moscow or Gulag were officially banned in the USSR. A French actress Marina Vlady was his long-term long-distance love.

Vainera walking street (a so-called Uralski Arbat) is full of bronze sculptures dedicated to the city dwellers of the past. For example, the sculpture of Artamonov - a local craftsman who invented a bicycle. Didn't you know that the bicycle was invented in the Urals? Every local child will tell you so. Okay, it wasn't the first bicycle ever but the first created in Yekaterinburg.

The legend says that Artamonov created and iron bicycle and rode all the way to St. Petersburg to see the coronation of the Russian Tsar. He then came back still on his iron friend.

If you go to the right from the Central Train Station you get to the old station which is now a Rail Museum. There are some interesting sculptures of the station workers in front of the museum:

A sculpture of provodnitsa carrying tea to her passengers. Provodnitsa (carriage attendant) is a well known word to anyone who went by Trans-Siberian trains.

Yekaterinburg has also the one and only monument to an Invisible Man. I intentionally didn't post the photo of it so that you can use your imagination and think how a monument to an Invisible Man may look like. To find the answer just visit Yekaterinburg. You will spot the monument near the main entrance to Belinski Library on Belinskogo st, 15.

Book the city tour here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/city-tour

Here are some more photos of the new monuments and sculptures in Yekaterinburg:

15Sep/100

Contemporary art in Yekaterinburg

With 50 museums, 15 theatres and 20 institutions of higher education Yekaterinburg is sure to have busy cultural life. Recently it has attracted many contemporary artists as the first Ural Biennale of Contemporary Art is now open in the city until middle October.

The exhibitions are set in 6 factories of Yekaterinburg. The most interesting and worth visiting is in Urlamsh - the Ural heavy Machine Building Plant. You can get there by metro. The one and only metro line in Yekaterinburg goes directly to the northern district of Uralmsh. Uralmsh is a large industrial and residential area, back in the 90s it was known as the criminal capital of Russia. It is still a dare to walk in Uralmash after midnight but it's OK during a day. Take my word as I lived in Uralmash for 5 years.

Normally it's impossible to get to the territory of the huge Uralmash factory unless you work there. Thanks to the art you have a unique opportunity to see this top secret place. Getting inside can be quite adventurous. The whole process of entering the factory is a good example of a never-dying Russian bureaucracy. It can be annoying especially if you've already had difficulties getting a visa. But if you have sense of humour the experience is remarkable.

First of all, you have to show your passport everywhere. Then you will be told not to take any photos as if it's not a contemporary exhibition but a KGB office. At the entrance to one of the buildings our group of visitors was greeted by a typically Soviet big shrewish woman in grey uniform with a stern face and a coquettish purple lipsticked mouth. She was a factory security guard and a perfect prototype of a Russian woman of the Cold War era. You know the one that was later fortunately replaced by a new image of slender tennis players.  I was tempted to take a picture of that woman but was afraid that she might easily throw me away to the factory shaft for this. The woman said that she wouldn't let us in because we had to have the detailed plan of our excursion in the factory with the copies of our passports, signatures of some important people and probably sealed by Putin at that. We didn't have all those papers. To my reply that we came not to spy but to see the art exhibit she answered in triumph - Bureaucracy is not yet cancelled in Russia! I now have no doubts that it will never be cancelled in Uralmash factory No matter how hard our president is trying to eliminate red tape in the country he simply won't be able to get inside because he hasn't got a detailed plan of his visit.

Anyway, we did get inside after we wrote our full names on a sheet of paper for our lovely lady-guard and promised her not to take any pictures there. Well, I came to see contemporary art so I took a few...

Ural Biennale of Contemporary Art takes place in September-October every second year. The next one is in 2014