'My Day'

Jonathan Karstadt reviews Viktor Popkov: Genius of the Russian Soul at Somerset House

When westerners think of post-war Soviet art, they probably picture works expressing the grand Socialist Realist vision most impressively realised by Yevgeniy Vuchetich’s monumental The Motherland Calls statue in Volgograd. What probably doesn’t come to mind are colourful and expressionist portraits, dream-like works immersed in lavish symbolism, and brooding self-portraits that tackle poignant questions about…

Jonathan Karstadt | 02/06/2014
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Krysztof Zanussi’s ‘Illumination’ (1972) reviewed by Stephen Mason

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Illumination follows the story of a young student physicist named Franciszek Retman (Stanislaw Latallo) as he struggles to find his place in the world. Coming of age in the 1960s, Franciszek is an intelligent young man whose career as a physicist looks bright. However this is put on hold early on when his girlfriend, Malgorzata (Malgorzata Pritulak),…

Stephen Mason | 31/05/2014
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ZIC ZAC: Romanian Dance Group interviewed by Robin Ashenden

‘Zic Zac’  is the brainchild of Romanian-Hungarian dancer and choreographer Andrea Gavriliu, who developed the show at college with her friends Stefan Lupu and Gabriel Costin. The show presents an intriguing face-off between a man and a woman, following them through the many different phases of a love-affair, and it opened to considerable acclaim in…

Robin Ashenden | 29/05/2014
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Jonathan Karstadt reviews Trafačka: Temple of Freedom at Red Gallery, Shoreditch

The Trafačka artistic collective have been running a countercultural art gallery in the Libeň district of Prague (once home to subversive Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal) since 2007. According to its website: “Trafačka is a creative space, a place for meeting and free expression. At Trafačka it is possible to follow the emerging trends in contemporary…

Jonathan Karstadt | 26/05/2014
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Robin Ashenden reviews Restaurant Daquise, South Kensington

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Those of us who’ve known Restaurant Daquise for decades felt desolated when it was taken over and given a refit in 2009. The old Daquise, for all its faults, was one of the most loveable places in London, with its post-war down-at-heel quality – all plywood and formica – and its Christmassy air of warmth.…

Robin Ashenden | 26/05/2014
Mikhail Shiskin - image by Efrolkina

Eugenia Ellanskaya sees novelist Mikhail Shishkin at Pushkin House

Mikhail Shishkin is considered to be one of the most outstanding Russian writers today. A winner of all major literary awards in Russia, he nonetheless remains surprisingly unknown to many readers both in Russia and abroad. With five novels and two short-stories produced in the past twenty years, his books have now been translated into…

Eugenia Ellanskaya | 24/05/2014
Courtyard of 59 Népszinház, viewed from top floor

‘The Yellow Star Houses of Budapest’, by Nick Barlay.

I first saw the bullet holes in 1978, when I was 15 years old. They were dotted around the wall, at knee height, just inside the main entrance of 59, Népszinház Street, a large three-storey block of flats in Budapest’s poorer Eighth District. This was where my father had lived as a child. He and…

Nick Barlay | 24/05/2014
Jerzy Radziwiłowicz as Mateusz Birkut

KINOTEKA: Robin Ashenden reviews Andrzej Wajda’s ‘Man of Marble’.

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Legends surround Andrzej Wajda’s Man of Marble, made in 1976 and now issued restored by Second Run DVD. Of how its subject matter – of a Stakhanovite worker during the Stalinist reconstruction of Poland after the war who is elevated by the system, then discarded, then hounded by it – was so controversial it took…

Robin Ashenden | 21/05/2014