Thanks to the Joseph Brodsky Affiliated Fellowship, Visual Artists Ivan Govorkov and Elena Gubanova at the AAR

AAR Joseph Brodsky Affiliated Fellows Elena Gubanova and Ivan Govorkov

Russian visual artists Ivan Govorkov and Elena Gubanova, husband and wife based in St. Petersburg, have been working and exhibiting together since 1990. From 13 September through 11 December of this year they animated the American Academy with their artwork, as holders of the AAR’s Joseph Brodsky Affiliated Fellowship, now in its tenth year.

Govorkov and Gubanova staged two installations—bordering on live performances—in Academy spaces, in the Bass Garden and Cortile of the McKim Mead & White building on Saturday 2 October (“Roman Graffiti”), and in its Cryptoporticus on Thursday 2 December (“Arachne”). They combined the latter event with an open studio, where the media extended to video.

“Roman Graffiti”, Saturday 2 October 2010, executed in the AAR’s Bass Garden, and on the walls, gravel—even paper tablecloths—in the AAR Cortile. Top photo: courtesy of I. Govorkov and E. Gubanova.

Particularly notable were Govorkov’s drawings in pen, in pencil  (“I set myself the task of not lifting the pencil from the paper while drawing”, explains the artist of “Arachne”), in black string (on walls) and in white string (on ground surfaces).

“Roman Graffiti” Saturday 2 October 2010, with Ivan Govorkov and Elena Gubanovaat work. Photos (C): AAR Visiting Artist (2010) Star Black

This fall Govorkov also created white string drawings for the square in front of the church of S. Pietro in Montorio on the Gianicolo, and in the Circus Maximus (below: photo courtesy of the artists).

Make sure to save this date. With the support of the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund (JBMFF), the American Academy in Rome will present a Tribute to Joseph Brodsky (RAAR’81) on Friday 18 March 2011, featuring readings and reminiscences by writers include Nobel Laureate poet Derek Walcott, poets Mark Strand (RAAR’83) and Adam Zagajewski, Roberto Calasso, and others.

The March 2011 Tribute marks the second event that the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund is co-sponsoring with the Academy this current year. The evening of Friday 1 October saw the launch of an anthology of work from the years 2000-2008 by Fellows of the Brodsky Fund, who hold residence at either the AAR or the Villa Medici of the Académie de France à Rome.

The location on 1 October was the campus of the Università degli studi di Roma la Sapienza at the Villa Mirafiori—itself a former home of the American Academy in Rome (the School of Fine Arts was located in the Mirafiori from 1907-1913). Co-hosting the evening with the Brodsky Memorial Fund was the university’s Dipartimento di Studi europei, americani e interculturali; a lively audience of some sixty people attended, including poet Mary Jo Salter, Alexei Grinbaum, Russian representative of the Brodsky estate, and AAR Affiliated Fellows Ivan Govorkov and Elena Gubanova.

1 October 2010, at the Villa Mirafiori: Ann Kjellberg and Maria Sozzani Brodsky

Remarks were delivered in Italian by Maria Sozzani Brodsky and in English by Ann Kjellberg, both of the JBMFF, as well as by La Sapienza Associate Professor Claudia Scandura and (in Russian) by Irina Prokhorova, editor and publisher of New Literary Observer Publishing House in Moscow. Ms. Prokhorova announced that her foundation would begin awarding grants for the translation of Russian literature into other languages. Reading poems in Russian were the inaugural Joseph Brodsky Fellow Timur Kibirov, as well as inaugural juror Sergei Gandlevsky, among others.

“Arachne” on the floors and wall surfaces of  the AAR Cryptoporticus, Thursday 2 December

Admiring the work of Govorkov & Gubanova (2 October 2010), AAR President Adele Chatfield-Taylor FAAR’84 (above), and AAR Director Christopher S. Celenza FAAR’94 (below). Photos (C): Star Black

Credit: I. Govorkov and E. Gubanova

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