Thursday, January 15, 2009

SCRIBBLINGS: Visions of Malevich in Ukrainian village

I roughed it out in a remote Ukrainian village this past summer. It was part of my anthropological side and partly my desire to get drunk with people who didn't care what time of day it is. My experience is in urbanism so a subsistence farming village was about as far away as I could get, this side of a Yanomamo tree house.

The intent was to challenge myself to the point of breaking, hoping to discover new ideas and forget old ones. And while I tempered my fantasies the best I could going in, I am no cynic... so of course romantic images of Gauguinian excess managed to creep into the periphery. Something like a lakeside sauna, scantily clad milkmaids and bushels of dried birch branches were never too far away. What actually happened there is issue for another blog, but I promise at least a few moments of primitive revelry.

And recently I discovered that Kasimir Malevich lived in the nearest town (Konotop) as he was preparing to flirt with primitivism. It is probable he had walked through the same village as I lived in. But how different the ideology (and the demographics) today... it is impossible not to be consumed by the disastrous effects of Stalin, collectivization and globalization when wandering the villages from this region now. Focusing on some mystical connection to nature is not that far from being completely ridiculous.

But village farmers wear the same traditional garb as the ones he used to paint, except for the cell phones and occasional Nikes. And even if the relief of idealism has been lost, the landscape hasn't changed. The endless acres of farmland still inspire a comfortable nostalgia for simpler times.

Image one: Two Tahitian Women with Mango Blossom by Paul Gauguin (1899)
Image two: Babushka leaving the village store on bike
Image three: The Villagers by Kasimir Malevich (1929)
Image four: My neighbors working in their gardens

LOOK: T.A.Z. in village Altynivka is gone


Sandra said...

Very very nice you write,Im interested in your journey,and may be its an idea to look up some stuf from G.I.Gurdjieff, great man,I still try to fully understand what a hell he is talking abouth,but down there in my guts I feel he is more than OK.Beelzebubs tales to his grandson -an objectively impartial criticism of te life of Man, is one of the series he wrote,second series olso three books under the common title of-Meeting with remarkable men and thirrd series,four books under the common title of -Life is real only than whan I am.But may be you know abouth hem everything.This all cause you were talking abouth letting what have you learn in order to be frre to learn new,or something like that.Phgfu,Im tikking with one finger on the leters,its a qite a chalenge.Ciao,Take care!

fucoid said...

no, i have never heard of him but i just wiki-ed him and he is a fascinating person. i am searching for works online. thanks for the advice!

Wondy said...

Wow, I didn't know anyone else liked the half-popped popcorn either. I was looking at your other interests, I have to say the all are basically awesome.

fucoid said...

the bottom of the bowl/bag/box is like christmas for me :)

101101 said...

Well now that's interesting! I've never posted any Derrida on my blog or even talked about him. Have we talked about him f2f and do we know each other or was it just an inspiration connected to the deconstruction part of my blog (which sadly enough is non existent lately).

Lustato Tenterrara said...

Very very nice your blog. I loved the images who you posted.

Your blog is genial
Gostei muito.\loved

Ah! Plis, per favore,
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fucoid said...

Hi Lustato,

thanks for the good comments. i am coming by your blog tonight.


hisshush said...

i think the mystical connection between nature and a peasant/villager/personlivingnearnature does exist, because, I definitely miss it, and there is i don't know, that calm state of mind when you are near nature. but then again, maybe im getting aggravated by all the cement. (but, intuitively, don't you agree?)

fucoid said...

hisshush, if you have experienced this then it is true. i will always be an outsider looking in. thanks for sharing... did you live in a village year round or spend summers there?

hushush said...

all year round. me and my sister would go hiking in the nearby woods and swimming in the river and the fruit and berries were from our back gardens. the cucumbers had spikes and the tomatoes when they ripened were a proper treat. and its not only you know the childhood fun, it takes you out of yourself.

i'll be the first one to admit that i was an ape. :)

fucoid said...

i am thoroughly jealous hushush... do you go back for the summers or stay in london?