July 14 – November 7 2021
In the exhibition you will be able not only to see the originals of the surviving images of our city, but also learn about the technology of printing their copies.
The core of the exposition is more than 110 historic samples of graphic prints from the collection of Viacheslav Khurtin, founder and leader of the Nizhny Novgorod Technological Museum. He has collected the maps and art prints for over fifteen years, and the printing presses presented at the exhibition (all in the working order) are part of his vast collection of early mechanical devices. The gallery of imagery of our city was also contributed to by the collection of the A. S. Pushkin State Museum of Visual Arts and art by contemporary artists: Alexander Konstantinov, Andrei Olenev, Jean-François Pietropaoli, Katia Gushhina, Pavel Rybakov, Sergei Firer, and art group Fruits.
It’s for the first time in history a single exhibition project has united on such a scale images of Nizhny Novgorod and the Nizhny Novgorod Fair and pieces of art of cartography which together will help you trace the line of development of the city from a small fortified town to an industrial giant and see the place of the Nizhny Novgorod region in Russian and world history.
Maps are coming back to the Arsenal; after all, maps and strategy are what arsenals are about, and our Arsenal nominally stayed an actual arsenal until 2003. A map as a tool with the clear cut practical purpose, a drawn plan of terrain necessary for moving across, is at the same time a view from above, from that height that draws the eyes away from details towards generalization. We believe that in the eight hundredth anniversary of our city we need this generalized perspective as it creates a vision of time where the path from the past to the present enables one to have a glimpse of the future. At the same time, prints with views of Nizhny Novgorod will help see the city almost as closely and directly as our ancestors saw it. It’s a wonder that both the collector who has preserved for us all this art, and the people who made and supported the exhibition are all citizens of Nizhny Novgorod.
Director of the Arsenal
I dedicated many years to this collection. Being interested in looking for rare images of Nizhny Novgorod, I eventually found for my collection some maps of our region, many of which, especially the specimens of 16 – 18th centuries, are indeed works of art. With the time I developed a wish to share these treasures, and during some last years the wish became the dream to make an exhibition of the collection as a gift to Nizhny Novgorod for its jubilee. The dream came true also thanks to the Arsenal team’s expertise. I’m glad that young curators who took part in the project love our city, study its artistic and historical heritage, and are partial to what the city lives on. I do hope that the exhibition will attract the those inhabitants and guests of our region who would like to have a closer look at its heritage, and historians, area studies experts, guides, and all those who are interested in the history of the city and the region.
The creators of this installation in the Arsenal did their best to move away from the traditional literal approach. As for the old maps and prints, they have all been enumerated in the catalogue to the exhibition with the respective dates, names, and events specified. We wanted to highlight the idea that the true value of the exhibits lies not so much in their age or rarity as in their ability to convey, through the means of printing, the perception of the world as it used to be for us to see Nizhny Novgorod as once was and will never be, with its landscapes, streets, and citizens.
Architects of the installation: architects asse (Eugene Asse, Olga Aistova, Nastia Cherepen’kina)
Graphic design: Kurt Studio (Roman Stein, Zhenya Stein, Yegor Shaklunov, Yana Igonina)
Printing shop: Alexei Baranov (St Petersburg), Vladimir Mukhin (Nizhny Novgorod)
Restoration of maps and prints: Natalya Spitsyna (the V. I. Lenin Nizhny Novgorod State Regional Universal Academic Library)