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Vyksa is an old factory town placed around the metallurgical plant with a 260-year history in the Nizhny Novgorod region. For the first time in Russia, this plant produced the railroad, cast-iron jewellery, the Triumphal Quadriga, a fence for the provision warehouse and a fence for the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow. Old and new cultural traditions are preserved and developed in Vyksa. Nowadays Vyksa combines metal constructions by Vladimir Shukhov (Russian engineer, architect and inventor) and contemporary art from all over the world.
The first time the ART OVRAG festival was held in 2011. It is based on the idea of impact of cultural festivals on small European towns such as Avignon, Cannes and Glastonbury which became popular tourist destinations. In order to successfully integrate the festival into life in town, locals are not just spectators, they are co-participants of the festival.

DRIVING

 

RED SQUARE AND SURROUNDINGS
(Art Ovrag)
Parking: New Department Store (Lenina st., 17)

In case you come by car, local Red Square is the best place to start exploring street art in Vyksa. The name of the square commemorates a 10-year anniversary of Russian revolution in 1927. The Palace of Culture of Metallurgists[1], the most important building in town, was laid the same year. The Palace was built in two years by the architect Yevgeny Gutskov. Nowadays a blue building with two graceful columns is better known as the Palace of Culture named after Ivan Lepse, Latvian Bolshevik, head of the local metallurgical union that financed the construction. In 2014, the architect Peter Vinogradov built a new symbol of Vyska behind the Palace of Culture – ‘Pro. Elka’ [2] which belongs to ‘Pro.Dvizhenie’ project. The 17-meter steel sculpture looks similar to the Shukhov radio tower in Moscow. In 2015, ‘Pro. Elka’ won the Sergey Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Award in the category ‘Art in public space’. Even conservative inhabitants of Vyksa liked the new sculpture, and now use it as an avant-garde Christmas tree during winter holidays.
White cats protect birds on the wall of the New Department Store[3] (now the ATAK supermarket) on the opposite side of Lenina street. It is one of the first artworks in Vyksa created by ArtBrothers (Andrew and Mikhail Rudnev) in 2011[4].
Two sides [4] of the transformer cabin on the right were painted in 2012 by Pani Paniki duo, young artists from Kemerovo, whose works are all over Russia now. In 2013, not yet known artist, Nastya Kraseva, from Rostov painted another side of the cabin: a fairy girl with a braid [5].
Art Ovrag was one of the first festivals in which Nastya Kraseva took part. Now she is a member of Vitae Viazi (Moscow), whose works you will find throughout Vyksa.
Behind the transformer cabin there is a facade of the Central Post Office building (Red Square, 7) painted with a surreal three-dimensional illusion[6]. Another work of the ArtBrothers, twin brothers Rudnevy (2012).
If you walk around the building, there is a brick fence on the backside [7] painted by the team ICREW from Perm. Together with faded colours on the old brick and panel houses of Central microdistrict, the painting gives an impression of real street art.
On your way back to the parking, you should find another painted transformer cabin [8]. Here is a clue: it is between the New Department Store and the Palace of Culture.
The female face on the cabin was drawn in 2012 by Roma REMO from Serpukhov, one of the most interesting and recognizable street artists in Russia.
He began to practice street art at the dawn of a new millennium. Over time, he became interested in graphics and paintings on canvas which strongly influenced his graffiti style. Tiny colored circles, geometric figures which remind us neither the French pointillists nor phosphenes (colored spots on the eyes, appear if watching the Sun for a long time) make REMO’s paintings recognizable.
Moving further along Lenina street, do not miss a facade of a typical nine-storey building painted by Konstantin Zmogk with a work ‘Nature’[55] in 2016 (‘Central’ microdistrict, 3, second building after the New Department Store).
Zmogk is one of the oldest street artists in Russian, who has been painting walls since 1990s with typographic compositions or fantastic robots.Putting together coloured surfaces, street artist draw dynamic and abstract painting in Vyksa.

FIRE STATION
Parking: Fire Station (Lenina st., 65) or church of St. John the Theologian (Lenina st., 69)

On the right, behind the fence, there is a zynk tower [9] with a fisherman trying to catch a hammerhead. The work was drawn by Art Brothers in 2011.
Near the tower, building 10A has one of three graffiti painted by French artist, Philippe Baudelocque (National Superior School of Decorative Arts in Paris) in 2013, whose works are recognizable at a glance.
Philippe Baudelocque uses chalk or white oil pastels on black background. His works remind one of constellations and the mythical beings they represent. Each animal is created with a mosaic of delicate line work in the form of organic and geometric patterns that merge to form each piece. With beautiful layers, these three-dimensional animals look like they are ready to jump off the city walls.
In recent years, the fabulous menagerie appeared (and soon disappeared) on the walls and in art galleries in Paris, Marcel and other French cities. But Vyksa is, probably, the only place where you can find Philippe Baudelocque’s artworks outside his homeland.
There are two works of Baudelocque on the neighboring buildings (9 and 10A) – antelope [10] and hiding jaguar on the branch [11] (Central microdistrict). The other one you will see later.
Vyksa locals believe that success of the Art Ovrag festival is connected with these nine-storey buildings behind the fire station. To make sure of this, walk into the courtyard, following the colorful gas pipes [12] between the buildings.
The curators of Art Ovrag were aimed to improve the lives of Vyksa inhabitants. For that purpose, the organizers launched the program ‘Art Courtyards’ based on the principles of participatory design. This approach is meant to actively involve all stakeholders (e.g. architects, urbanists, locals, end users) in the design process to help ensure the result meets their needs and is usable. Together with architects and urbanists, Vyksa locals implemented projects, that solved the problems of courtyards.
The first art courtyard, known as ‘Black Court’ [13], is behind the fire station. This ominous name comes from the ‘game’ when children pushed each other from the roof of the underground garage almost under passing cars. To avoid traffic jams on Lenina street, cars passed through the courtyard at high speed.
In 2015, under the project of inhabitants, artel of architects built a transformer construction in the place of the dangerous roof which can be transformed into stage, assembly room or sports ground.

SHUKHOV TOWER
No parking

At the crossroad of Lenina and Bratyev Bartashova streets there is an annexe painted with cars [14] by artists of Art Ovrag 2013. On the right you can see a fence of the metallurgical factory, behind the fence there is Vladimir Shukhov Water Tower [15], the main attraction in Vyksa. Great Russian engineer is renowned for his pioneering works on new methods of analysis for structural engineering that led to breakthroughs in industrial design of world’s first hyperboloid and lattice shell structures. His most famous hyperboloid was built at the end of the Civil War – 160-meter high Shukhov Tower in Moscow.
Hyperboloid lattice structures are lightweight and extremely durable. They are the basis of the most avant-garde buildings of the XXI century, also designed by Shukhov (at the same time, Spanish genius, Antonio Gaudi worked on the similar idea independently of Shukhov).
Shukhov built the first tower in 1896 for the All-Russia industrial and art exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod. Right after, he was involved in reconstruction of the metallurgical factory in Vyksa. Here he invented the world’s first overlapping in the form of mesh membrane double curvature (1897) and built 28,5-meter high hyperboloid water tower (1898). Both constructions were made of famous Vyksa metal. The shop of the Shukhov avant-garde overlapping still works, that is you can not get there. As for the water tower,we can see it only behind the fence. Hopefully soon it will be restored and open for tourists.

To get to the next spot, drive through the gas station after factory, then turn left. There is a broken road that leads to the building on the waterfront of Lower Pond, Pervogo Maya, 36

‘WAVE’
Parking: Pervogo Maya st., 36

Although today the Lower pond in Vyksa looks like a real lake, it used to be a part of a complex system of ponds and dams in the end of 18th century constructed by Batashev brothers. The energy of falling water powered machines of their metallurgical plant.
The building 36 and its courtyard are overgrown with sedge. Despite the fact that there are panel houses nearby, the place looks pretty idyllic.
A transformer cabin and post-soviet cafe ‘Wave’ were painted here in 2012-2013.
There is an abstract portrait [16] by Roma REMO on the cafe facade, which looks more impressive than his other work near the Palace of Culture. Stepan Krasnov and Arthur Abel from Krasnodar decorated the other side of the cafe [17]. Krasnov is the leader of the Moscow crew 310. Working since the 1990s, the group is famous for pop art scenes, reminding comics from the 1960s or albums of Roy Lichtenstein. Krasnov came up with the idea of filling an image with colored raster dots, imitating photos from the newspapers of the last century. The works of 310 you can find in Moscow, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Marrakech.
The transformer cabin [18] in the courtyard is painted by two famous street artists from Chelyabinsk with geometric birds and airplane (Dikson) and a sprawling frog (Batis).
At the intersection with Lenina street, go straight ahead on Bratyev Batashevykh street. This time the Shukhov Tower is on your left behind the factory fence. At the next traffic light, turn right on Vavilina street.Then drive right along Ostrovskogo street to the intersection with Chkalova street.

‘MADONNA’
Parking: Ostrovskogo st., 26

If you go to the quarter from Ostrovskogo street, you find idyllic district with old red-brick buildings. Here is, probably, the most charming artwork in Vyksa hidden between the buildings 10 and 12 on Chkalova street. Black and white ‘Madonna’ [19] on the Stalin’s transformer cabin is drawn by Pasha 183. The British media aroused interest in Pavel Pukhov’s (his real name) art shortly before his death. Journalists called him ‘Russian Banksy’ for his provocative and radical works. According to friends, Pavel was irritated by the comparison with the most famous street artist in the world. Pasha 183 skillfully used objects and surroundings near his works. Together with a rusty door, ‘Madonna’ reminds a church diptych in the doorway of the cabin.

LIZY CHAIKINOY STREET
Parking: Lizy Chaikinoy st., 18A

There is another work of Pasha 183 you can find on the building 16, ‘The Tale of Wasted Time’ [20] (2012). As if trying to stop time, a boy pulls cuckoo clock weights and sees an outdoor security camera through a small trap door above the clock face.
Pukhov’s artworks devoted to the themes of power and total control. That is the reason he was compared to Banksy. By chance,‘The Tale of Wasted Time’ was saved during house demolitions. Also, many artworks were destroyed under a new layer of a building insulation.
In 2013, the building 16 was supposed to be repaired. By that time ‘Russian Banksy’ was already famous among people far from art. Taking into account the importance of Russian street artist, who died the same year, Vyksa authorities saved ‘The Tale of Wasted Time’. The facade was removed during repair works and then was returned to its place. Yet another work of Pasha 183 in Vyksa park was destroyed.
There used to be a painting on the building 17 by crew 310 which, unfortunately, was destroyed during the house insulation. Stas Bags from Saint-Petersburg drew ‘First meeting of little Emma’ on its place: a small girl who seems to be completely lost in front of a huge toy horse.

ZHUKOVSKY MICRODISTRICT
Parking: Zhukovsky microdistrict, 2A

24_FLAMINGONow you are in Zhukovsky microdistrict, the edge of the town with the highest concentration of street art.
To make sure that it is true, you need to walk or drive one quarter from the work ‘The Tale of Wasted Time’. Right away, along Lizy Chaikinoy street you will see a painted mural of the building 18 (‘Key to happiness’ [22], Alex Blot, 2013). A psychedelic peacock flaunts on a school facade nearby [23] (Andrey Tselyuko, crew 310). On the opposite side of Romanova street, a little ahead there is a flamingo [24] drawn by Moscow crew, ZukClub. Since now, street art is everywhere. Huge, large paintings cover building panels wherever you look. Ahead there is ‘The Guitarist’ of the avant-garde artist, Basil Lst (Zhukovsky microdistrict, 13). Locals call this painting ‘Rosenbaum’ because of the similarity with a famous Russian singer, Alexander Rosenbaum. Windows with colorful trims overlook a square with a small chapel [26]. Funny window imitations were drawn on a blank wall of a five-storey building by ChZHNS group, Samara (Zhukovsky microdistrict, 1). There is a mad tea party in the spirit of Lewis Carroll on the neighbouring building 2 [27] (Aleksey Kislow, Sevastopol).
Famous Siberian duet Aber and Morik used the rows of buildings nearby. Their paired figures [28] are placed on the buildings 2 and 3, reminding an open book. If you go through a narrow passage between them, you will stumble onto a birdhouse [29] on the building 7, the artwork of Eugene Ozzik (0331c). Thin twigs on the facade look perfectly with pine trees and forest around.
Coming back to Romanova street, turn right at the first traffic light to Pushkina street.

‘AVANGARD’ STADIUM
Parking: Pushkina st., 5

The most mysterious Philippe Baudelocque’s animal [30] is on the building 5 along Pushkina street. Locals still guessing about the nature of this creature. A cachalot, a dolphin or something else from the underwater world? Instead of giving a hint, French artist added no less mysterious caption: ‘In memory of Pushkin’.
On your way back to the car, look at the opposite side of the street where the iron man climbing the ‘Avangard’ stadium mast light. The sculpture ‘Man-tower’ [31] was made by Dmitry Alekseev and Alexei Ivanov.
To get to Krasnye Zori street, turn left at the end of Pushkina street.

KRASNYE ZORI
Parking: Krasnye Zori st., 39

Krasnye Zori street was paved during the first five-year plan of USSR when Vyksa was given a city status. The street was meant to connect all the villages around. Its quite romantic name, from Russian ‘red down’, was given in the hope of a bright communist future. Although the longest street does not lead to the center, it is still the main in Vyksa.
By the end of the 1920s, Vyksa people were happy to get wooden barracks in this district while brick houses were built (№37, 39, 41, 43) for German specialists. Consultants from AG Krupp (the largest company in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century) came to provide expertise in a plant construction.
Brick buildings will be demolished soon, so hurry up to see the graffiti of famous Moscow crew Vitae Viazi, duet Aesthtetics (Petro and Slake) and other less known street artists [32], 33], [34], [35] (buildings 39 and 41).
These artworks are here since the first Art Overag festival in 2012. Without a doubt, Krasnye Zori district with its empty red brick buildings and weather-beaten paintings has a special charm.
Do not pass by a garage between the buildings 35 and 37 with an Indian guy, holding a paint can in his hand (Stan, Max13, 2013).
Finish line is ahead! Get into the car and enjoy the view from the window! There is another transformer cabin on your left with a recognizable work of ZukClub: a big dwarf with a smaller one in his hands (‘Paradox’ [37], building 30). The same painting you can find on many European streets where the group used to work.
A little bit further, right after the intersection with Vavilina street, there are two columns of the Lenin’s Palace [38] painted by ArtBrothers in 2011.
A nondescript building (23) behind the palace [39] is Vyksa pride. The experimental panel house was built according to Swedish standards in 1958. Only after that the model 1605, known as ‘khrushchyovka’, became popular in USSR.
Before reaching the end of Krasnye Zori street, turn left on Stepana Razina street which leads to the Central microdistrict and the Red Square.
Look at the bright yellow facade of the building 20 [40], where the peasant mows the grass. At the beginning, the work of famous Yekaterinburg artist Slava PTRK was meant for series ‘Loneliness’, paintings on canvas. However, wall painting competition in Vyksa, where ‘Good harvest’ won, changed his plans. The contrast between a tiny figure of the peasant and a wall space of a nine-storey building has a great striking effect.