It happened rather by accident. I was walking my dog and witnessed a felling of old oaks. I was amazed by the enormous size of the logs, just lying there, on the grass. It was an unprecedented sight. I spent almost the entire day among these logs, presenting monumental forms in them. I ended up buying them at a reasonable price and transported the logs to my country house. That’s where my relation with the wood truly started.
I gather them in mountainous regions of the North Caucasus and in hard-to-reach swampy areas of the Mari El Republic in Central Russia. Transporting logs from isolated places may not seem logical, because of the high costs it implies. Yet, as an artist, it allows me to give these trees an afterlife, after they have died a natural dead.
Imagine a log lying on a mountainside, or inside a rather inaccessible forest. Left untouched, after a certain amount of time the forest will absorb it, just like it does with the thousands of other fallen trees. I transfer the log to a new habitat, thus giving it a new, second life. A new physicality, shaped by man, and endowed with my personal emotions and experiences.
When I make the first cutting with the chainsaw, I sometimes spot an ink-coloured spot, a thin line around the log. It means that there is an iron object in the barrel. Could be a bullet, maybe fired by a hunter many decades ago and stuck in the trunk tree when it was still young. Or maybe it’s a nail that was hammered in the trunk at some point — who knows? With the oak maturing over time, it gradually absorbed these objects in its thickness.
I’d rather say that what I do reflects my inner self, my emotions and experiences. Which altogether is based on my love for the Russian culture and its traditions.
For me, it's about belonging to a certain spirit and aesthetics, my own self and what I personally perceive as beauty. Doing so using only my chainsaw and chisels, no other tools.
The pieces that I bring to the world start living their own life in another dimension. In the same way as the old fallen trees gave birth to new life, through my creations.