The poem "Bakhchisarai" was written by Alexander Korotko under the impression of staying in Bakhchisarai and strolling about the outskirts. The poet discovered this amazing town in the foothills of the Crimean peninsula in late autumn 2005, though he had been here before. The poem was completed in November 2006 and soon was published as a book. Yuri Gladkiy was asked to illustrate this book with his photographs. Yuri Gladkiy found in his archives great series of Bakhchisarai photographs in winter of the year, when the minarets of the Khan's palace, tombs of the khans and narrow town streets were covered with snow – it is very unusual for this region.
The author of the poem found evidence of his own feeling of "the other world reality" and detachment. Some of the photos were shot specially for this unique publication, which can be considered to be a poetic model, and a real culturological project.
"Bakhchisaray" is the first in the literature epic literary work about this ancient land.
The poem consists of forty-seven chapters-poems, alternating with nearly two dozen s of photos.
The offensive sun scared the moon, the forest sank its teeth into
the mountains, the roads turned into drafts. Not like the time
breathed out cruelty, but so. Silence staggered through the streets.
With the back pressed to the darkness rock-Goliaths stood. And
Karaites came to the cemetery to die, to their paradise, kept by
the blessed memory. Little people always have eternity in front
of their eyes. They put suffering and their journey under the head
of nights and fall asleep in the warmth caressed by the trepidation
of candles. It’s indecently to recognize each other here. Having lost
the society of intrusive friends, you belong to yourself, get on the
train and come. Every day life took the philosophy away from
the local people. But this is just an occasion. Look at the walking,
you see, a woman is going, an old man behind her. Neither sadness
nor melancholy, but an anticipation of anxiety, their only one luxury,
they are carrying with obstinacy and dignity, like a swipe on the
shoulders, and in this kingdom of ignorance a unique spirit is living.
To forget yourself – a prime cause, the beginning of relocation.
Tourists are here uninvited guests, they make a din, like seagulls on
the pier during the year of famine, but is the sea decreasing? Here
the distance - a thing in itself, an otherworldly reality, and if the light
is on in the window, don’t believe. To live according to the town’s
truth is viciously and senselessly, all punctuation marks can’t find
a place for themselves here, and only ellipsis gains such a strength,
that if there were no wind, who knows where it would lead. Summer
brings all the troubles and woes. Humility is calling for separation. Fall
comes. And the main sadness wants a revenge. A pampered brush
leads the guest with a hand, and the heart grows cold in the morning,
and I want to drop everything and leave. To endure is not for me.
A cake of a layered memory, a hyperbolic word. The sky has its own
sacred duty - the basis of the dust, and wherever you are, you
are just a guest, and don’t make plans ahead, while the cemetery
joy is drinking drop by drop the juice of trees. Unprotected
headstones keep silence of the autumn, and it’s only the similarity of soul. Sleepless gardens hang, and oaks ring in shackles.
What can be easier than a hope, just a juniper grove
in the shades of barbaric fate. Along the smoldering silence, along the alley, no, along the long trail, you climb for a short time to the gates of
heaven, and, stepping on the laid-back pavement, you consider your life
as a dream, without realizing it, in this darkness you come to life,
and give the key to eternity to all who have sinned
on the Earth.
Portraits of Alexander Korotko by Yuri Gladkiy are included in several poetry books. They are also in newspaper and magazine publications (interviews, announcements of published books). Three photo portraits are included into the design of book covers of the following books: "From A to Yafigizms", "Silent Song" and "I didn’t live on the Earth". They are also used for the internal design of half-titles of the above-mentioned editions. Reportage photographs of Yury Gladkiy are posted on the pages of this website. Landscape photographs appear in a little video "Winter in Yalta" (Alexander Korotko is reading a short poem of the same title) and the song "Lost Paradise" (lyrics by Alexander Korotko, music and performance by Inna Pushkar). Both videos are posted on Youtube.
In 2008 Alexander Korotko wrote a short poem about the magic of photography. He treats this type of art that is at a distance from others with unconditional respect. The poem is about all the photographers who are devoted to their art selflessly in the highest sense of the word and, as Yuri Gladkiy, work honestly and diligently.
Frozen life at the school desk of reason
in the plastic box of your childhood hides black
and white pencils drawing from memory of losses
the pictures of soul. There are a lot of them,
they penetrate into the lens of consciousness, scream, bitten by the delight of what is happening,
and no one is aware that these prints of life
on the inanimate background of the lost illusions
is nothing like a panegyric, sent by the artist
poste restante to himself. Deafness of speechless moments is bristling.
Why to be liked by others in the childless air of imagination. Silk – and the guillotine of picture
decapitated what is happening, and now you are resting on the negative, pressed by the time
Yuri Gladkiy - photographer, member European and Russian Unions of Photojournalists. He was born in 1957. He graduated from college got the qualification of a surgeon. He got his second degree in America, in New York University of Economics (majored in Production Management). He has been to many states of North America and European countries. He has visited Asia and Africa, Cuba.
The portfolio Yuri Gladkiy includes portraits, reportage and genre works, landscapes and still life. His photographs are published in Kyiv newspaper "Boulevard" and "Facts", Crimean magazines "M Club" and "Caprice", Russian magazines «GQ», «Vogue», «Glamour». In 2009, Yuri Gladkiy took the third prize in the prestigious photo contest of professional photographers of Europe, organized by «Playboy» magazine. Over the years, he held his own exhibitions. His works are in many private collections.
In 2005 “On Both Sides of Love”, a book of poems by Alexander Korotko, was being prepared for release by Kiev publishing house “Akademia”. When choosing illustrations for the book, the author and editors were looking for a painter with clear philosophic outlook on universe, life, literature, whose would have been in compliance with the intellectual level of the poetic material. Long arm of coincidence or, more likely, regular occasion led to the following decision – the book should be illustrated with calligraphic etchings by Alexander Aksinin. The period of his life was unfortunately very short: 1949 – 1985. While alive he was hardly famous, but today the name of Alexander Aksinin can be defined as genius. His transcendental, mystic etchings still pulsate with unspent energy and astound us by concentration of ideas and virtuosic technique as tens of years passed. They represent a cipher code of the painter’s idea of the world.
The Book “On Both Sides of Love” is bilingual, the poems were translated into English by Richard McKane, a famous translator of poetry and a poet-philosopher . Thus one book united three authors, three artists with a sophisticated, infinite, unconceivable creative system. It's impossible to unravel their mystery.
Go on, forgive the misunderstandings, warmth and hurts
and all the other baggage we’ve hoarded, and if in old age
we are fated to get together, then this is not a drama
but the currency of personal triumphs and losses. Look round
at the landscape of life you’ve lived – it’s empty. ‘Can this really
happen?’ You will ask. It can, even the desert was once young.
‘And experience?’ you’ll say. What is experience –
the bile of a poisoned liver? The fateful mistake
is not in what’s already in the past, but in the last half years,
remember the half years? Oh yes, I’d forgotten, we did not know
each other. That was when my drinking was out of control.
Don’t be scared – it just happened to me. But I came out of it,
there was something inside, it glimmered and did not go out.
How did you put it? The energy of life and… Someone kept it,
you think that’s likely, maybe, but I’m not talking about that.
Look, this yellow tram, that’s sunk its teeth into its track with
a dead grip, will race if someone would say to me why?
Don’t be scared. The blind alley is also a beginning. Friend,
don’t look like that. Shall I pour you some wine?
Come in. Relax, don’t stand gawking on the doorstep.
It’ll pass. Where are you going? That’s a pity.
Everything started so well.
You will still learn to like this way, which you have not gone down,
you will still learn not to live under your one and only star.
Separated from your fate, you will see the expanse of pines,
this exile named heaven, the scared autumn of abandoned hopes.
On the altar of its own doubts the night is in the zenith –
the royal throne of anguish. Why are you still on
your knees? Get away from the road, take the shadows
away, allow me to go away, an unnoticed
wanderer, beyond the horizon of events.
«Great future is prepared for me, so I accepted it decisively and radically…»
Alexander Aksinin, 1974
Alexander Aksinin, a unique graphic artist and an outstanding painter, was born in 1949 in Lviv and died in 1985. He was married to Enghelina Burakovskaya, a talented pianist and a painter, who also passed away prematurely. He had been drawing since childhood. After graduation from Lviv Polygraphic Institute with a specialization in “Graphics, Decorative Design and Books Illustrations” he worked as an art editor at a publishing house, industrial designer at a project bureau, did his military service, and since 1977 he was occupied with his own creative work only. In his lifetimethere there were ten solo exhibitions of his works – in Lviv, Tallinn, Łódź, Warsaw and other cities; twice he was presented with a Medal of Honor at International exhibitions for “Minor forms of graphics” (Łódź, 1979, 1985).
Aksinin’s artistic legacy includes nearly 350 etchings, over 130 watercolors, over 50 paintings in Indian ink and pen and in mixed technique, some artworks and monotypings. He painted over 500 works during ten years. The painter’s archives retain his verbal and visual diary: 27 hefty volumes containing daily notes and drawings since 1965 till 1985. Summaries and comments to the books he had read: classic philosophy from Plato to Michel Foucault, writings in creative work philosophy, aesthetics, psychology, history of art and literature from classics to post-modernism. Basing on his notes in the diary, he was not just reading, he was rather contemplating and reflecting, but, above all, he was searching for consonance and co-perception according to his own thoughts and ideas as he was creating his own philosophic and aesthetic system and depicting it in his own visual language. Over 200 sketches for etchings and numerous study drawings were found in Aksinin’s diary. They would be enough for long years of creative work.
Since 1974 as Aksinin created his first etching this technique became his principal form of creative self-expression. Alexander Aksinin was called “Dürer from Lviv” – so masterful was his etching technique. Many works of artists were visually interpreted by Alexander Aksinin: Bosch in his series of etchings “Boschiana” and Swift “The Kingdom of Absurd of J. Swift”, Nikolay Gogol (graphic symbol of “The Winged Troika”), Alexander Pushkin (etching and watercolors “The Golden Cockerel”), Velemir Khlebnikov (etching in verses “I Love”), W. Faulkner (etching “Faulkneriana”), Fyodor Dostoevsky (etching “Dostoevsky. In memoriam” and watercolors “Dialogues with Fyodor Mikhailovich”), F. Kafka and lots of others. One of his first series of 8 etchings was devoted to “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Aged 35, Alexander Aksinin died tragically in a plane crash.
An album of poems of a single line by Alexander Korotko, illustrated by a museum collection of unpublished graphic works and paintings by Mikhail Kazas, a painter of the beginning of the 20th century, is a unique culturological project. In 2002, during publication of an album “The Trasncription of a Thought” the Crimean publishing house “Tavria” offered the museum to publish little known and unknown works by Mikhail Kazas together with the poems by Alexander Korotko. The thorough work resulted in creation of an unparalleled book. A hundred of years separates the poet and the painter, however the reader does not notice that long period as he turns over the pages of the album with monostiches by Alexander Korotko and paintings by Mikhail Kazas for both artist are beyond time.
They have never met. But every time
thinking of each other they argued.
Here is there last conversation.
Poet: No and no again.
Artist: Look at your surroundings.
Poet: Shut up.
Artist: Fool. Your thoughts are read from the paper.
Poet: Forget about me.
Artist: No. There is too much of me in you.
Artist: You are nothing without me.
Poet: I know.
Some time passed, and the poet died.
The artist didn’t have time to come
to the funeral.
He lived in another century.
Alexander Korotko wrote this truly prophetic poem in 1996 and for nearly ten years anticipated the creation of the Poet and an Artist separated with a hundred-year distance but united under one cover. Sergey Papeta, a fine art expert and an author of introduction to the album The «Trasncription of a Thought» not being aware of this poem, also “guessed” this phenomenon: “Manuscripts do not burn. Paintings do not disappear. Artists do not die. They live in reality created by them and visit each other once in a while. Having crossed the nominal borders of the worlds, the Poet’s hand, stretched over centuries, has got a response from a friendly hand of the Artist. So life is never interrupted”
Sandglasses of earthly pleasures.
Don’t oversee the dreams of others.
Face like interrupted story.
Mongol-Tatar yoke of love.
Sadness swings on the autumn hips.
Hieroglyphics of the leaves falling.
A sad beginning of joy.
Time with the eyes of a loan shark.
Don’t touch the sky with your hands.
What a strange manner – to die forever.
Happy Birthday, Eternity!
Soul left, but death didn’t come.
Mikhail Kazas, a painter of the beginning of the 20th century, was born in Crimea, in an intelligent, well-educated Karaite family. Generously gifted by nature, 16-year-old Mikhail was enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. After graduation he spent about a year in Paris. After returning to Russia, the young artist works fruitfully in Sevastopol, Yevpatoria, during his trip to the South Caucasus, them he moves to Saint-Petersburg. As the war begins Mikhail Kazas serves in the army field forces, in its medical unit. At the first opportunity he sketches battle scenes, draws blottesques and portraits of his friends. In the beginning of 1918 he gets a 10-days leave and comes to Sevastopol. On February 23, as the Red Terror reigned, Mikhail Kazas, aged 29, was shot among other Russian officers.
The destiny of his works is as tragic as the one of his own: the major part of his paintings was stored at the Kazases’ house and was destroyed by the fire during the bombardment. Some big paintings and nearly five hundred small ones were undamaged. Most of them are kept at Simferopol Art Museum, his best works are included into static exhibition.
The book of poems with paradoxical title “The Plaudits of Death Hands” was published in Kiev in 1998. The poems were unusually concentrated with ideas and were written in an innovative manner. Hence it was desirable to place illustrations in various section of the book that would become its integral part due to their difference from traditional book graphics. That was how illustrations by Viktor Babanin appeared in this book.
Where to hurry, when nobody waits,
when everywhere only parting,
when the serf of minutes makes a noise,
when all the rustlings and sounds
rise from the depths of summer.
A sad trial of memories,
oddities of autumn, an oblivion,
cold alien shadows
don’t leave the heart.
And the sky in the rags of stray clouds
keeps such a sorrow inside,
and in the mirror of a huge soul
the sunset is burning in despair.
In the outskirt of sunshine,
by gossiping of poultry flocks,
we are coming back from the summer
to our boring but customary Paradise.
Clapping of dead hands,
adagio of windless butterflies.
From places, where you are now,
it’s hard to serve. Forgive,
so far from each other we haven’t
been so long. Grimaces of the day,
a painful fright of mute
memories in concert disturbs
the silence of others’ partings. Foyer
in a shabby coat touches the final
with its shoulder, and a silhouette
of your discreet phrases talks
with friends about nothing,
but it’s only a foreplay to that
empty room, where without words
the night is huddling to. I hesitate.
Each step on the road leads
to you, and nobody can help.
In 2009, ten years after “The Plaudits of Death Hands” were published, Alexander Korotko wrote a poem “Graphics” about artists, whose creative destiny was as uneasy as their masterful works. In some degree it was addressed to Viktor Babanin.
Why to consider and to wait for the tide torn by the time
of imagination. Here all looks microscopically, and rights
are protected for greediness long ago. On the heartless
horizon fallen on its back, a mysterious reality is lying as
a photocopy of the artist’s denouncement for his own
sadness. I knew few people. Salvation came for some of
them long before the unpainted pictures, others were
waiting for being betrayed, in order not to be an eyesore
of successful ones in public places. Artist in the graphic
arts is a coordinate axis: vertical – Kafka's shadow, in the horizontal plane – a parting of love, and the starting point
is zero, such an unnecessary bun, looks like the sun, but
only perhaps black color. Contrary to all expectations, fearlessness from heaven flows down the drainpipes of
colorless rains. At the garbage dump of dirt love there are warlocks and crows, graphic story without wars and military leaders, only pain and skinny sleep from Dürer’s nappy
inherited estates. Brush sticks out of the jar like a bobber,
no biting today, pictures cut a passé-partout of their own
soul. And those who are eager to understand are less
and less. At the threshold, without doors, ordinariness of indomitable leaders threatens with a slobbery finger. You
can’t draw a dream. Artist’s tiredness can be hacked by
hard drinking, by quietness, but not for long. In the mute apartment greedy graphics is more arrogant than his unlived stories. Miserable wandering of memories like in a mirror monoprinting, is standing, hunched, on the thin legs of being. Concentration and anger are walking around naked. Flea
market of details, abandoned details, the plot of vast
emptiness. How to survive the day, the artist knows, and
then – a deadlock. To hide in the corner of darkness
and along the thaw holes of fate, along these shipping
rivers, to swim to the shores of childhood, but unfortunately
all the paper boats of dawn are anchored to expectations.
Viktor Babanin was born in 1963 in Crimea. He was a gifted artist, his active creative life began in the beginning of the 80s. Viktor Babanin graduated from Samokish Art School in Simferopol. The painter has an excellent command of brush and nib, while his favorite genre was graphics, including drawing, watercolor, etching and monotyping – an impress, made in a single copy, single piece of art. As a monotypist he links his skills of a graphic artist with peculiar technique of creating reversed images at a plate and transferring it onto paper with the help of an etching press.
Viktor Babanin is a member of the Union of Designers of Ukraine, member of the Crimean Partnership of Modern Art, an honorary member of Academy of Arts in Heidelberg. His solo exhibitions were held in Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Canada and other states. He initiated and took part in joint art exhibitions, festivals, contest, humanitarian acts and social projects. His works are exhibited at museums and decorate civic centers and government institutions, they are also owned by private collectors. Some of his works were bought for Vatican collection.
As he illustrated books (over thirty books) and literary magazines he was admitted to membership in the Union of Writers. The first two books illustrated by him were “The Island of Crimea”, the novel by Vassily Aksenov (1993), and “The Plaudits of Death Hands” (1998), the book of poems by Alxander Korotko. Both of them are bibliographical rarities today.
© 2003-2018 Author's website Alexander Korotko
site development: estet design group
When copying/citing materials the hyperlink on a site is obligatory www.korotko-poetry.com