INTERVIEW: Alisa Taezhnaya
PHOTOS: Lyuba Kozorezova
MAKEUP: Fariza Rodriguez
IN THE HEADING "BOOKSHELF" we ask journalists, writers, scientists, curators and other heroines about their literary preferences and publications, which occupy an important place in their bookcase. Today Marina Loshak, an art critic, curator and director of the State Museum of Fine Arts named after V.I. A.S. Pushkin.
art critic, curator and director of the State Museum of Fine Arts
them. A.S. Pushkin
Talented reader -
this is an incredible rarity
and a certain gift
My growing up as a reader was strongly associated with the individual discovery of literature. Now everything is available and known: just follow the links - a lot of information and even more experts who help you figure it out. Then literature was a code, and one had to move in this world by touch - reading was like constantly sifting out golden sand on a large shore.
Like all children of my generation, I read books randomly and unforgivably early. When I was not yet eight, I read all 12 volumes of Maupassant, who stood in a prominent place. I just bumped into him, literally fell. Before that, the entire boy's library had already been read: Cooper, Reed, Vern - and there was nowhere to go. I read Maupassant until my father saw and hid the book in the pantry of our huge family apartment in the center of Odessa. I found it among the cans, and next year I read the whole Zola, it is not clear why. These were adults and incomprehensible to me people, whose world I wanted to touch as soon as possible. In Maupassant, everything was permeated with subtle erotic things that actually overwhelm the children's world. As far back as I can remember, I was in a state of falling in love with someone.
When I was studying to be a philologist and started working in a museum, the word and concept of "curator" did not exist yet, but I always tried to combine text and visual culture in my work. Now I feel closer to an artist than to a researcher: instead of a scientific career, I very early chose the museum business and spent decades with artistic images - in the visual arts and literature. In my opinion, a talented reader is an incredible rarity and a definite gift, just like a talented viewer. To read, imagine, and observe, you also need a special kind of personality. The text has its own visualization laws. The interpreter for me has always been no less important than the researcher. Yes, interpretations take place on a more sensual level, but they allow you to emotionally capture what is not obvious to science.
I didn’t quite consciously become a philologist, my life was filled with hormonal joys, and the choice of my future specialty didn’t seem to be a priority at all. I loved reading, writing poetry, they worried me, my compositions were the best - something pushed me into literature, but I had no trace of a researcher's reflection. We did not think about the profession and earnings, we lived like Buddhists today. I would like to live like this now.
Some books appear in my life with enviable regularity and are associated with an internal pause and even seasons. For example, for many years now I have been reading Tolstoy's War and Peace in whole chunks in the winters. For some reason, I need it in the winter, probably, it was fixed by a childish stereotype and eventually turned into an obligatory ritual. I remember very well when I was little and was ill for a long time, I always read Dickens - 24 volumes in my home library restored me. At other times, when I tried to touch Dickens, he seemed gloomy and boring to me - such is the paradox.Childhood illness is generally a very sweet feeling associated with a book, a heating pad, a clean sheet, the tenderness of the mother, the troubles of the whole family and their pity and treats. And most importantly, you are completely free at this moment.
Now I am one hundred percent a man of paper and, in addition to my today's list, I constantly read books on psychology and esoterics, management, listening to the opinions of friends. This is reading-education, parallel to the tasks of life, which is also incredibly important and interesting to me. The older our friends and the more conscious their path, the more willingly they share their hobbies and better talk about things that change them. Very often a suitcase is filled with books or a book travels with me on the subway, where I also spend a lot of time.
My current library is a product of spontaneity. My husband and I treat the library as a part of us: our criteria are of a sentimental and tactile nature. At some point, we agreed to collect our children's libraries and unite them in a common apartment. The point is clearly not only in the content, but in the fact that the presence of Shakespeare in that very edition is a return to one's home. The first thing we always did when we moved into a new apartment was buy a bookcase. This is our home, what could be even more individual?
Any book list that we make at some point in our lives - the message to this is almost always an unexpected request - is a list of today. It can be completely different in the morning and in the evening, because we change not just during life - but within a few hours, if we are mobile and internally young.
I read Maupassant until my father saw
and did not hide the book
in the pantry
Correspondence of A.S. Pushkin with P.A.Vyazemsky
In principle, the genre of correspondence is mine - I love it very much. Letters for me are a source of inspiration, harmony, understanding and conversation of non-random people. You do not read any volume of correspondence totally, like a novel, but constantly return to your beloved and special. This is an ideal meditation, unconscious at the moment of choice - you just come to this book and stay with it as long as it takes.
Pushkin is my idol and beloved friend: this is how I feel him. Everything related to Pushkin's circle, his era and the ideas of Decembrism has been my topic since early youth. For some reason, I feel close to these people - in their fabric of life, sense of humor, principles and personal motivation - closer than to contemporaries. Vyazemsky is a completely exceptional figure in which everything is connected: education, strict adherence to principles, wonderful and non-superficial irony, friendship with Pushkin. Now I feel my connection with Vyazemsky especially, because in our future Museum Quarter there is a house in which he was born. This is how a special metaphysical involvement developed.
I have my own affair with Olesha. When I just started working, I ended up in the Odessa Literary Museum as a junior research assistant. It was a new institution: very young people began to build the museum: I was twenty years old. Our department dealt with the literature of the 1920s, and Olesha and the entire South Russian school - Babel, Ilf and Petrov, Bagritsky - occupied me extremely at that moment.
I know Olesha thoroughly: both as a character and as an author. I touched a huge number of his intimate things, collecting them for the museum and being a kind of mediator for Olesha. I know all the people who surrounded him and were friends with him - I spoke with the Shklovskys, visited the Kataevs many times, and I feel him as a person very keenly and modernly. This is an absolutely dramatic figure. In fact, Olesha is a writer of one important novel, Envy is his largest work and a real monument to a generation. This thin book promised a very great writer who did not come true on the scale it should have.
Another basic joy and character of my youth.I was interested in Zoshchenko as a literary critic and museum worker, and I also understand more about him than just enthusiastic admirers of writers. Another tragic figure, on the one hand, with a very Russian fate with Westernizing views. Europeanness, combined with Russian karma, is what unites the generation of these writers, who are very dear to me. The influence of Hoffmann, one of Zoshchenko's favorite authors, is strongly felt in the language.
Hero of our time
In relation to Lermontov and Russian classics in general, in my case, there is one pattern. When I read modern fiction and everything around the Big Book, I very often understand everything quite quickly. There is an instant and acute feeling that I need new impressions to seize on something. Stuck is the most accurate word. Neutralize - like soda with vinegar. And when I need to eat, the 19th century comes to the rescue. It is absolutely not necessary to read "The Hero of Our Time" in its entirety: I constantly return to him in fragments. This is my medicine, "smecta" in relation to modern texts - reading Russian classics levels me out.
This collection is one of my favorite medicines. I adore it and can read by heart, it touches me to tears. The figure of the author always, of course, affects me. Bunin is a difficult and wonderful character. What claims can we have against writers who lived in a different era and were forced to feel the entire historical context on their own skin? No one has the right to say a word about Russian authors of the first half of the 20th century. Bunin was very consistent in his actions, but with a difficult character. On the other hand, light character is generally a rare property of a person. I can build myself in such a way that with age I am very calm about all the weaknesses of people - including great writers - and I see in this a moment of inner growth.
Swift had a huge impact on me: he pushed my imagination and understanding of complex life issues. At the age of five, this book is read like a fairy tale, at thirty - as the most important philosophical work. Harry Potter was not there then, and I was running around with Swift, not leaving him for months. It is impossible to imagine, but today's children after Rowling will have great difficulty reading the youthful library of our generation. I really want Swift to continue to be a children's reading too.
Song of Hiawatha
A magical text in my favorite translation - my beloved Kipling could also be here. I am now reading the Song of Hiawatha in the original, trying to master English better, and I know the Russian version by heart. This is another early childhood impression of mine that has not disappeared with age. I am one of those who are convinced that fairy tales, myths and legends are a necessary stage of reader's development, which cannot be jumped like a step. Reading fairy tales is how to crawl. It turns out that children who crawl a little and immediately get up and walk do not grow up like the majority - no worse and no better, but simply completely different. Reading fairy tales as an adult is absolutely delightful.
A holiday that is always with you
Hemingway is the time code that shapes a generation of readers. If you remember what happened to me in literature and what shaped me, there is nowhere without Hemingway. And without the Remark, too, this is a reflex of time, however, childish and superficial for me personally. This writer is part of the reflection and sentimentality of our generation and visual culture. Hemingway stayed with me for a long time, but for some reason I don't reread Salinger, although they are often listed separated by commas.
Marina Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandelstam
I had an acute need for poetry in my youth - it seems to me that this is a property of the total state of youth, as the Buddhists say about it.It was a concentrate that so easily matched my sense of myself and the world. Until the age of 24, I literally ate poetry - Brodsky, Tsvetaeva, Mandelstam and the entire Silver Age were my jewels. Later I began to live with vinyl records: my husband and I constantly listened to poets reading their own poems. Summer, June, fluff flies, a wonderful time of the year, and David Samoilov is always around our family - like favorite music. Now there can be nothing of the kind in life, and there is no way to return to this state.