About me and my art
by Valery Scherstjanoi

 

 

From my childhood.
Already as a child I was fixated on colors. I admired nature without wondering why it is beautiful.
Wherever there were no people, she was beautiful because untouched.
On the other hand, I admired the cities because I grew up in a small town.
In the city there was a lot to read outside. Advertisements (though Soviet, for us, children did not care!) On rooftops, neon lights on shops. So I started to read, I was 5 years old and wanted to invent my “own” alphabet with his childish letters or writings, it meant a world of my own.

School and the first protests.
In two years I had to go to school and read the text that I did not like and see the pictures that I did not like. I did not like big companies and became a loner.

Textwriting.
My Vita started with the writing of the poems or some prose pieces. I was about 13 or 14 years old and continued to expand my world without letting anyone into it.
At night I wrote without seeing what I wrote.
These texts looked different (because without eye control). Of course, I did not know that “visual poetry” existed.
This habit of writing at night I have kept to this day.

European avant-garde

There was not much going on in the area of culture in our little southern Russian town. I was annoyed by how the neighbors, the inhabitants, primitive and mindlessly shaped their ways of life. I was now a teenager who wanted to leave the periphery and sought the protection I found in Russian literature thanks to my highly educated father. Then I went to the library, which was in the so-called “culture house”. I was looking for Mayakovsky, who, as I heard in literature class at school, was a futurist. Fortunately, besides Majakowski’s books, the works of Ilya Ehrenburg and his memoirs were on the shelf. Ilja Ehrenburg (poet and journalist) spent almost his entire life in Paris. He was a contemporary of Modigliani and Picasso, of Chagall and Léger and many others, and he knew them all personally. So his memoirs became a kind of signpost for me …

Education
At the beginning of the 1970s I started to study German and Literary Studies … After completing my studies I realized that my true study would only have to be self-taught.

Abroad
I have been living in Germany for almost 40 years, where I have been trying for over 30 years to “popularize” the Russian avant-garde (my numerous readings and lectures, work in various (then East German) publishers.) At the beginning of the 80s I worked in the Verlag der Kunst, in Dresden.
We have realized some art projects with Rudolf Mayer (by Verlag der Kunst) and Carlfriedrich Claus. The topic was the Russian avant-garde.
In the 80s there was also a scene of visual poetry in the GDR, whose main initiator was the Chilean painter Quellermo Deisler. In 1989 he published an anthology on visual poetry in the GDR with Jörg Kowalski.
After the political change, I organized an exhibition entitled TRANSFUTUR “in Kassel with Friedrich W. Block and Andre Vallias from Brazil.

We have realized some art projects with Rudolf Mayer (by Verlag der Kunst) and Carlfriedrich Claus. The topic was the Russian avant-garde.
In the 80s there was also a scene of visual poetry in the GDR, whose main initiator was the Chilean painter Quellermo Deisler. In 1989 he published an anthology on visual poetry in the GDR with Jörg Kowalski.
After the political change, I organized an exhibition entitled TRANSFUTUR “in Kassel with Friedrich W. Block and Andre Vallias from Brazil.

Experiments
At that time, under the strong influence of Carlfriedrich Claus, I began to write my (Russian and German) poems by hand, to experiment with typewriters, scissors and collages, various colors and papers.
Through Claus and Mayer, I got in touch with artists from the West (West Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, etc.). My visual works were published in the West, my mail went through even though my letters and visual texts were controlled by the State Security of the GDR were.
In Siegen (West Germany) my first issue appeared at the university (publishers were Karl Riha and Siegfried J. Schmidt), Giovanni Fontana published my contributions in his anthology dismisura, Carla Bertola and Alberto Vittachio in offerta speciale and so on.

To my works
My work is experiment.
Its focuses are:
The handwriting and the writing also in the sense of André Breton or Henri Masson. Yves Tongue, Christian Dotremont, Carlfriedrich Claus and of course the Russian futurists Velimir Khlebnikov, Aleksej Kruchenykh, Iliazd.
Recognizing your own handwriting in every single sheet because it was at the beginning.
I do not care about the style; He is always there where the manuscript is. Everyone has their style (to write, to think, to live, to be).

As I remember Kurt Schwitters:

ICH IST STIL
and say that

I IST SCRIBENTISMUS
Valery Scherstjanoi

Berlin, 18.04. 2018

 

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