Come and see the Moon…

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Date of event: 
Monday, 9. December 2013

Have you ever seen the moon in a boat?... And sitting on a tree?... At the balcony? In the barn? You haven’t? Then you haven’t met Leonid Tishkov’s Private Moon yet. It wanders around many various, sometimes very unusual for a moon, places. 

The moon as the soul’s property

As for me, I met this traveling Moon down in the basement. In the lower room of the Tengri Umai gallery, to be more exact. It was the Moon’s first visit to Kazakhstan. And not the last one, I hope. It appears that it liked being here: it greeted everyone who had come to see it with a warm yellowish smile-crescent-moon. There, at the Tengri Umai gallery, I managed to have a talk with a man who created the Moon – Russian artist Leonid Tishkov. 

Leonid Tishkov: The Private Moon project emerged by chance. 10 years ago, when I participated in Art-Klyazma - this is such a display area where painters show their installations, art objects, various performances – I wanted to bring the Belgian surrealist René Magritte’s painting Day and Night to reality. I ordered the lightbox in the shape of the crescent moon, brought it to Art-Klyazma and hung my piece of art on the pine.

Everything seemed so simple, but the result surpassed all the artist’s expectations. He recalls that when it got dark, the lightbox illuminated the tree’s crown, enchanting and attracting people. And after Art-Klyazma was over, Leonid couldn’t part with his Moon, and so he invented a big and interesting project for it. With his light installation the painter hit the road, visiting cities and villages. Global exhibitions, to be more exact. Both the Moon and its pictures began to be published in different magazines, and several photos became the part of the album The world’s best photos. The project got the name Private Moon. And the Moon – together with its creator, of course – was being invited to galleries, museums, art displays of many countries. And so it visited England, Lithuania, France, Japan, Singapore, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Taiwan, USA and even the Arctic… 

We should note that the Moon’s visit to these countries was not restricted by exhibitions and private views only. The Moon walked about cities, peeped into cafes, swam in the river and even climbed mountains. In Almaty it also went to explore the city and its suburbs in the first place, visited the Big Almaty Lake and the Observatory, drank some tea in the yurt, hung out in the fashionable night club.

And, as the artist has confessed, the Moon loves to stay at people’s places. At the most common citizens’ of the most common cities – English, Russian, German… Just for a short while – a day or two. But there is one requirement: the host has no right to admire it by himself. That is to say, he has to find such a place at his home for the Moon to stay where it may be seen by passers-by. This may be a balcony at the residential house, a roof of the building, or a pergola… 

Alas, in Kazakhstan the Moon had no time for visiting people’s places.

‘But next time’, Leonid promises on oath, ‘we’ll stay longer. I’ve been recommended a few places of interest, which I and the Moon must see. This is Charyn, Borovoe, famous Kazakh steppes, Mangyshlak and its ancient underground mosques, Tamgaly petroglyphs…’

By the way, all these “lunar” travels are not at all accidental. Organizers of these trips are big daydreamers: they are able to see the moon in this huge two-meter lamp. And they provide others with the opportunity to meet it.

As for Leonid, the Moon is his friend, colleague, and muse. He even wrote a book for children about its adventures: The Boy and the Moon.

Leonid Tishkov: For me it’s not just an object of art. It reveals the whole world to me. And I see how the project unites people, arouse the creative spirit and ability to create and dream in them.

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