The Chekhov Project: Igor Makarevich / Oleg Vassilev / Yuri Vaschenko
In 1990 Øivind Johansen invited three Moscow artists, Oleg Vassiliev, Yuri Vaschenko, and Igor Makarevich, to live and work in Paris for a year. The three artists stayed at the same address, La Maison Rouge, which which became legendary in the process. Here they studied lithography with a master lithographer and press, all three being already experienced illustrators, primarily in the genres
of children’s, science-fiction, and popular-science literature.
As a bridge between the West and Russia, Johansen selected Anton Pavlovich Chekhov—material “for all seasons”—as the subject of the lithographs the artists would create during their time in Paris. The texts associated with this project, by Alexander Borovsky, Boris Groys, Erik Bulatov, Margarita Tupitsyn, Olesya Turkina and Mikhail Ryklin (all featured in the Chekhov Project catalogue), are historically representative, reflecting the interests and state of leading art criticism and cultural studies at the time.
Makarevich’s and Vassiliev’s contribution to the Chekhov Project were the lithographic series on The Seagull (1895) and “The House with an Attic” (1896), with Vaschenko creating Cherry Orchard (1903) cycle.
Vaschenko’s, Makarevich’s, and Vassiliev’s interpretations of Chekhov vary in depth, level of engagement with the textual material, and sensitivity to fundamental literary principles. But in one thing they are united, and thus very close to the writer himself: they neither provide nor believe in straightforward responses.
Published by Øivind Johansen, Oslo, Norway © 2013 Øivind Johansen