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Andrey Martynov
Director of LeVall Art Gallery
Novosibirsk, Russian

Today it is not so easy to say WHEN my interest to Japan and to Japanese art appeared.

Russia or Soviet Union were closed from the other World by iron curtain for many years and we can get just a very small information from books, rare movies, and TV programs. At my home we had old Russian geographical magazines and many books about international art. Having no TV I liked very much to look through this magazines and books.
Later being a student in St. Petersburg I have read the first novel by Akutagawa and from that moment was looking for any book about Japan, it's history and it's art. I should say, we did not have too many books. Fortunately, St. Petersburg is a great city with many museums, where I could have my first touch with Japanese culture. When I graduated from Marine College in St. Petersburg (1976) and I had to make a decision where to go for my future job and life, I have selected the Far Eastern part of Russia, because I was dreaming to visit Japan one time. Another 25 years passed when this chance to visit this great country appeared finally.

But before that we organized the first exhibition of PRINTSAURUS artists in the Novosibirsk State Picture Gallery during the summer 1998. Later Yuriko Miyoshi, Akiko Taniguchi and Norimasa Mizutani came to Russia to take part in the 5th Biennial of Easel Graphics "Kaliningrad-Koenigsberg-98".
Since that time we became good friends and introduce several Japanese artists to Russian people and also organize several group exhibitions not only in Novosibirsk, but also in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Surgut. And all these exhibitions were very interesting and successful. People here still remember, for example a very beautiful project of Folding fans in 1999 and also all other exhibitions. It means that Russian people like Japanese art, the art saving and developing old Oriental traditions. I should say that traditions of printmaking were quite well involved into the Educational System during the Soviet era.

There were several studios of printmaking in large Russian cities and also in capitals of Soviet Republics. The situation is very different now when the single large country divided into separated countries. Nevertheless the interest to printmaking was not lost. The next, now 7th Biennial will open in Kaliningrad this Autumn. Several other regular exhibitions of graphics were established in different Russian regions and also in post Soviet Union regions: the second Biennial of Graphics was organized in Novosibirsk last year, Triennial of Graphics took place in Ufa also last year. It means that community of printmakers did not disappeared due to a very hard economical crisis in our country. And the public interest to this branch of art also exist.

The World became much more open now, not only for Russia. People can easier exchange their ideas and experience using new technologies, such as the Internet.
Actually the first step in relations between me and PRINTSAURUS was done via the Internet and the title of the first our joint project was "Living Faces or Via Email".

Now we have "Living Faces" in Japan" this is another step in developing of good relations not only between artists and friends but also between our countries. I am sure, it is very important for all of us, and for future.

July 2002




私の実家には、古いロシアの地理学の雑誌と国際芸術に関する沢山の本がありました。テレビは無く、 私はこれらの雑誌や本を通して世界を見る事がとても好きでした。

1998年の夏、私たちはノボシビルスク美術館にて、プリントザウルスの最初の企画展を開催しました。その後、三好百合子氏、谷口聡子氏、水谷昇雅氏が第5回イーゼル・グラフィックス・ビエンナーレ“カリニングラードー-ケニグスバーグ 98”に参加するため、ロシアを訪れました。その時から私たちは良き友人となり、何名かの日本人作家をロシアの人々に紹介したり、いくつかのグループ展をノボシビルスクだけでなく、モスクワ、サンクト・ペテルスブルグ、Surgutなどで開催してきました。そしてこれら全ての展覧会はとても面白く、成功してきました。1999年のとても美しい扇の企画展を含むこれまでの全ての展覧会を、皆今もよく覚えています。ロシアの人々は古い東洋の伝統を守りつつも現代へと発展させて行く、日本の芸術が好きなのです。


現在、ロシアに限らず、世界はより開かれたものになっています。人々は、意見や経験を、インターネットのような新しいテクノロジーを使う事によって、より簡単に交換できるようになりました。実は私とプリントザウルスの関係の始まりはインターネットで、私たちの最初の共同企画のタイトルは、『Living Faces or Via Email』でした。そして今日、『Living Faces in Japan』を開催するに至りました。これは、作家や友達同志のみではなく、私たちの国同志の良い関係の発展の次のステップなのです。私は、それが私たち全てと私たちの未来にとって、とても大切であると確信しています。