Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center together with MosArt Foundaton presents an installation exhibition Shejntsis. Essay in Four Scenes. The installation is an artistic event designed by a group of artists of different disciplines. What brings them all together is the memory of the prominent director, stage designer, teacher at the Moscow Art Theater School, and a friend — Oleg Shejntsis.
The title of the exhibition itself is an attempt to convey the Oleg Shejntsis phenomenon. According to the authors, an essay is an individual artistic experience whose characteristic free form of the narrative serves as a guiding principle for the exhibition. The display is divided into four parts united by an overall artistic idea. The core principle is that the exhibition is not associated to any memorable date from the personal or artistic life of the director. The idea is to express personal feelings of the creators using stage design tools. This is why, for instance, a number of model boxes provided by the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum were not used in the exhibition but are displayed as part of the installation.
Special mention should be made of a video installation: Igor Yasulovich, Mikhail Shvydkoy, Dmitry Krymov, Igor Zolotovitsky, Pavel Kaplevich, Sergey Chonishvili, Dmitry Rodionov, Vladimir Urin, Stanislav Benediktov, and other colleagues and close associates share their memories of the artist. An original soundtrack was created for the project by the sound designer Ivan Shirshov.
“Oleg Shejntsis was never just a provider but a co-creator in his own right. His stage design was always groundbreaking, his ideas unorthodox, his aesthetic vision — revolutionary, says Aleksandr Kalyagin, president of the Union of Theater Workers of the Russian Federation. He was also a great teacher. The more one contemplates everything he did, the more obvious it becomes how much he could have done… He passed away very young, at the age of 57. I admired his every work, I considered him to be the best stage designer of Russia, but I never had the chance to confess. Sometimes we put aside, we hold off on saying the most important until it is too late”.
Oleg Shejntsis is largely famous for his work at the Lenkom Theatre alongside Mark Zakharov. Among his major works — stage design for twenty-three repertoire productions of the company including such hits as Juno and Avos, Memorial Prayer, Optimistic Tragedy, Three Girls in Blue, The Seagull, and many others.
In designing a space for every show, Oleg Shejntsis constantly invented new solutions which would later become classic. He was the first to use laser and dry ice on a theatre stage, he was a pioneer of complex movable set structures on a modestly equipped Lenkom stage. It was Oleg Shejntsis who created the Golden Mask, which is still the brand image and the symbol of the major Russian theatre prize and the ultimate mark of distinction for theatre professionals. He was also the one to create the logo for the Chekhov International Theatre Festival.
His colleagues and disciples remember that he resented platitude, sloppy work, and indifference. The exhibition is rooted in the strong feeling of absence of Shejntsis, of lack of reflection on the role of the artist in a contemporary world characteristic for Shejntsis.
This exhibition would have not been possible without the kind support of the Mark Zakharov’s Moscow Lenkom Theatre, the Union of Theater Workers of the Russian Federation, the Bakhrushin Theatre Museum, the Moscow Art Theater School, the Vakhtangov Theatre, the Golden Mask Performing Arts Festival and National Theatre Award, MosArt Foundation, and Oleg Shejntsis wife Ludmila Kuzmenko.
Admission to the exhibition is possible with the ticket to the permanent exhibition.
Oleg Shejntsis was born on the January 2, 1949 in Odessa. He spent his childhood in a communal flat at Yekaterininskaya Street (corner of Deribasovskaya Street). He graduated from Odessa Art School and Theatre Secondary School.
In 1970 worked as an architect (his father being an architect), designing signature projects in Crimea, later — as a sculptor at the State Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre, served in the military.
In 1977 graduated from the Directors faculty of the Moscow Art Theatre School (Vadim Shverubovich’s workshop).
From 1977 he was the chief designer at the First Moscow Regional Drama Theatre.
From 1979 worked as a professor, from 1998 — taught at the department of techniques of an artistic design of a performance at the Moscow Art Theatre School.
From 1980, at Mark Zakharov’s invitation, he was the chief stage designer at the Lenin Komsomol Theatre (Lenkom). He designed productions in Bratislava, London, Sofia, Tel Aviv, and Florence, collaborated with Moscow theatres, worked in cinema. Creator of the annual national theatre award Golden Mask design (1993). Oleg Shejntsis passed away on the July 16, 2006. He was 57 years old.
Timofey Ryabushinsky (curator and designer)
Anna Fedorova (designer)
Artemy Harlashko (technical director)
Anatoly Samosadny (lighting designer)
Dmitry Sobolev (video artist)
Yegor Kochubey (photography director)
Ivan Shirshov (composer, sound designer)
Olga Popova (executive producer)