In 2013 Russian News channel aired footage showing Mikhail Shemyakin discussing preserving of his own art and an idea of the Museum of imagination.
Read the brief introductory notes before watching the episode. Notice that video gives some new information that cannot be found in the text below. After watching the entire episode at least three times, you can make a list of overlapping facts, then make a list of facts that don't overlap and presented either in the written text or in the video.
Classical and primitive at the same time, smooth and rounded while also long and angular, Shemyakin’s statues are so memorable in large part because of their distinctiveness and contradictions. His bronze Peter the Great sitting on the throne inside Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg does not seem to bare any resemblance to the original, however the bronze on Peter’s hands and legs shines brightly and therefore it looks like everyone wants to touch the memorial for good luck or leap onto the statue's lap and put the arms around it. Another bronze ensemble called Children, the Victims of Adults, is placed at Bolotnaya (marsh) Square, one of Moscow's major historical locations (right across the river from the Kremlin and across the little pedestrian bridge from the Tretyakov Gallery) is also quite a sight. Come there and you will see a monument to young victims of Adult Vices -- bronze incarnations of Alcoholism, Prostitution, Drug Addiction, Poverty, For Those without Memory, War and many others with Indifference as a centerpiece. All Shemyakin’s statues are abstract and in stark contrast to traditional realism. Though Shemyakin studied the principles of Orthodox icon-painting, the art of ancient Egypt, American Indians and Australian aborigines, and was fascinated with the imagery contained in Art Deco and Art Nouveau. Yet through his exquisite aesthetic intuition about colors and shapes he developed his own individual style that critics later dubbed "metaphysical synthesis". Shemyakin's paintings are exhibited at museums throughout the world. His sculptures adorn squares in Venice, San Francisco, Moscow and St. Petersburg, but he became famous in the West first, and only afterwards in post-communist Russia. Shemyakin’s story is a complicated one. He was expelled from art school for failing to conform to Socialist Realist norms, and from 1959-1971 worked as a laborer in various capacities. He was subjected to compulsory treatment at a mental institution, which was a standard way of dealing with ideological dissidents at that time. For five years he worked on the maintenance crew of the Hermitage Museum. In 1971 Shemyakin was forced out of the USSR by the Soviet authorities. He settled first in France, and then moved to New York City in 1981. While in Paris he edited and published Apollon-77, an almanac of post-Stalinist art, poetry and photography. In the 2000s Shemyakin staged a new version of Tchaikovsky's ballet Nutcracker in Mariinsky Theate, for which he designed the costumes, masks and decorations and even worked on the libretto. More recently he has been working on a stop motion-animated feature film Gofmaniada. It was Shemyakin’s idea to convert Gofman`s fairy tales into animated cartoon with the main character Hoffman himself and his creatures participated in a metaphysical theater – the imaginative universe reflected the real life.