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трава
Take
Inventory
of everyone with whom you have contact.
—Bruce Lee
A golden nail, an explosive piggy
bank, and a poster
Breaking the Bank
Retro Kino
You know the old routine: you’ve been dropping coins into These days, everybody wants to be a Constructivist. Whether
your piggy bank for months, and now you’ve finally saved up it’s cheeky Russian artists recreating Malevich paintings
enough to buy that shiny red Schwinn your heart is set on. But out of bread and cheese or Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand
one part of the plan leaves you squeamish: destroying the in- cannibalizing a classic Rodchenko poster for the cover of their
nocent pig. The designers at Art. Lebedev studio responded second album, designers everywhere are recognizing what the
by replacing the lovable oinker with something you are more avant-gardists knew all along: it’s hip to use a square. But while
accustomed to seeing explode—a bomb! Built in the shape some choose to plagiarize and others to poke fun, Moscow-
of a classic WWII warhead, the Superbitus is not just a clev- based Ostengruppe know how to borrow with class. Their
er place to keep your loose change; it’s the ultimate marriage retro posters for some recent Moscow film festivals offer clever
of form and function. Just fill the bank with enough money for updates of 1920s Constructivist designs. The one pictured
the thing you need—plus $21.30 for another Superbitus—and announces an Andrei Tarkovsky retrospective by adding breezy
deploy it directly onto your floor. Available in matte or glossy handwritten text to a angular, Rodchenko-style photomontage.
finish, Superbitus also comes with a white marker you can use Poignant screenshots from the director’s films replace
to write in the name of your target purchase. Don’t look now, Rodchenko’s gung-ho Soviet images, striking an eerie balance
twelve-speed bike, but there’s a bomb with your name on it. that Tarkovsky himself might have enjoyed. Ostengruppe,
whose speech-bubble pillow appeared in our last issue, also
Family Tiles designed the uniforms for the Russian Olympic team.
For centuries, the focal point of any Russian home was its
massive, wood-burning stove. Though impressive without any Tough as Nails
adornment, these brick edifices were especially stunning when The idea of bending a nail into a piece of jewelry sounds a
decorated with painted tiles. The tiles were miniature canvases like something the creepy kid in your high school shop class
depicting a range of subjects, from floral and animal designs to might have done, right up there with making a vest out of duct
scenes from history and daily life. Of course, only the privileged tape. But hit of the Season
*
, part of a line of quirky jewelry
few could afford such a status symbol. Since then, the aristocrats from two-man design team Open Design, boasts a serious
have been purged, stoves have become radiators, and tiles bling factor: it’s made of gold. By lavishing precious metal on
have migrated to the bathroom and the kitchen, where they are a mundane object, artists Sergei Kuzhavsky and Stas Zhitsky
usually of the mass-produced variety. But in idyllic Suzdal, a make us wonder what makes a ring a ring in the first place.
city where onion domes may actually outnumber people, the The same irreverent attitude marks many of the projects Open
tradition lives on. Drawing on every available source material— Design have produced in the last ten years, some of which are
church frescoes, museums, even archaeological digs—the too crazy to ever be realized—a watch museum that is a giant
artists at Dymov Ceramics have resurrected old-world tile- watch and a two-story merry-go-round outside the former
making techniques so that you, too, can live like a 17th century KGB headquarters in Moscow spring to mind. As for this
Russian boyar. Better, in fact, because he probably didn’t have a badass ring, there are earrings to match it, and, with a little
bathroom to put them in. The workshop, founded just four years muscle, it can be adjusted to fit any finger size.
ago, makes every piece of tile and pottery by hand. And if Suzdal
isn’t on your itinerary, Dymov pieces are sold at Respublika,
* In Russian, the word for “hit” also means “nail.” Puns just don’t translate very well.
Moscow’s hippest bookstore.
readrussia.com/2008/WiNTer/ 124
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