Автобиография / Autobiography
It seems I was doomed to a life of art from infancy. I was eight when I left a ballet class for the last time, being told exactly that by my teacher, an elderly ballerina and the spitting image of Ulanova (or so it seemed to me then). I never became a ballerina. The physical requirements of the Soviet Ballet School were too high. Then again, my desire was not so strong. I guess the real reason was that I would have never been able to submit to someone else's creative will. However, I continued to dance, dance fervently, barefoot on the carpet of the Large Drawing Room in the Suhanovo Palace (the Creative House of the Union of Architects). I was accompanied by maestro Igor Pokrovsky himself, the conductor of Kohinoor and a famous architect (one of the designers of the Palace of Pioneers in the Lenin Hills and of many other iconic buildings of the 70s).
My parents and I would spend New Year's Eve, winter vacations and almost all other holidays in Suhanovo.
Dad was set against the idea of a ‘dacha’. He was not into the sedentary lifestyle, domestic routine and gardening. In the summer we travelled, sometimes with our ‘Kopeyka’ car. Two suitcases and a sketchbook were our entire luggage. My mum would always make her ‘travel notes’ – watercolours. Dad supervised the selection of perspective and the colour combinations. Mum soaked up his advice like a sponge. I sat next to her with my drawing block and paints, also painting.
Our home was always full of pictures: Mum's delicate watercolours and Dad's large architectural sketches in oil on hardboard. Even now, I still wake up with a 2.5 x 2 metre image above my head: the sketch of the 1966 Moscow master plan. The living room exhibits the sketch of the Cuban Playe Geron Museum, the master plan of Dolgoprudny and the sketch of the Computing Centre in Ivanovo. These are all powerful paintings, not typical of architectural sketches. Looking at the Computing Centre in Ivanovo, the poet Andrei Voznesensky once said: “Pushkin's birch gave birth.” A rectangle and a square – Dad would call this composition “Madonna and Child”.
Wonderful people would always gather in our home: painters, sculptors, architects, poets and art collectors.
Ernst Neizvestny and Andrei Voznesensky considered Dad their teacher. Neizvestny's etching Horrors of War, presented to Dad, reads ‘To the master from his student’. Voznesensky devoted several chapters of his novel O (‘About’) to Dad. It is to Andrei Andreyevich that I owe the fact that my secret childhood nickname of ‘Kaplya’ (‘Drop’) became a real ‘art name’. Once, somewhere in the novel O, he referred to me as ‘Kaplya’. That is what I now put on my business cards: full name, architect, and then ‘Kaplya’.
Surely, no one expected me to try to become an architect. But I am still trying.
This is especially since my two brilliant guides to the world of architecture were my father, Leonid Pavlov, and my teacher at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, Professor Boris Barkhin.
To be perfectly honest, what excites me most about architecture is the birth of the image. Between conception and realisation, I choose conception. However, together with my wonderful talented partners, I am prepared to go all the way, producing creations that sometimes seem impossible.
For several years, I worked with my husband Andrey Savin in the Art-Blya group, in the area of purely conceptual art. This experience helps me in my architectural practice today.
Together with Andrey, we are building our new home, a loft. Andrey is the architect of the project. Our home will be full of art objects and paintings. It will feature its own Madonna and Child: the Art-Blya Madonna. I hope that the home and those who fill it will be worthy of the previous generation.