© V. Lavrenyuk, A. Sokolov, 2001
Warrior of Russia (M.). - 2001. - No. 4. - S. 94-96.
Per. in el. View Y. Zubakin, 2008
Warrior of Russia (M.). - 2001. - No. 4. - S. 94-96.
Per. in el. View Y. Zubakin, 2008
The eminent German philosopher Immanuel Kant was right, arguing that people will always be attracted by two things: the moral law within man and the starry sky above us. Two cosmos, two - micro - and macrocosm ... You are convinced of the truth of these words, getting acquainted with the works of the recognized master of painting, the national artist of the USSR, academician Andrei Konstantinovich Sokolov. He devoted his talent and the best years of his life to the artistic exploration of the cosmos, the popularization of the achievements of the national cosmonautics.
- Andrei Konstantinovich, by education you are an architect-builder. After graduation, they worked in the defense industry, in the most secret of its areas related to the uranium project. And suddenly - a fanatical devotion to the space theme. Where is it from? How did it all start?
- Perhaps, with the launch into space of the first Earth satellite 4 October 1957 of the year. I was shocked by this news. What happened was what hundreds of generations of people dreamed of. True, for the overwhelming majority of my peers, the awareness of the uniqueness of the ongoing assault on the Universe came only after the flight of Yuri Gagarin. But the starry sky "captivated" me in October 1957. It was towards the end of the fifties that my first serious artwork and exhibitions of paintings on space subjects belong.
- But how was it possible to create canvases on a topic about which you then had a rather vague idea?
- There were problems. Indeed, in those years, everything related to space exploration was under a terrible veil of secrecy. It was already later that films appeared - and photographic materials on this subject, but then ... No one knew either Sergei Pavlovich Korolev or his deputies. I first came to Baikonur only in the early seventies. And before that, they had to strain their imagination and speculate on what the cosmodrome, rocket, orbital station was. Sometimes it came to funny things: I drew a rocket in flight. And suddenly this picture is forbidden to be published. No one explains the reasons for the ban: you can not and everything! And only a few years later I became aware of what was happening: it turns out that I guessed the outlines of the rocket, in particular, the starting engines - the “boarder”. And they were classified.
Why are there my canvases! Look at the first pictures of an excellent artist, cosmonaut Gagarinsky call Alexei Leonov and you will find a lot of inaccuracies in the image of rocket and space technology. Alexey deliberately distorted reality, observing the requirements of censorship, painted ugly farms on the launch pad of the cosmodrome, implausible satellites. Unlike me, Leonov knew space technology perfectly well.
- By the way, you and Alexei Leonov created more than a dozen paintings, several beautifully illustrated albums. How was your collaboration?
- I knew before that there was a talented artist in the cosmonaut corps who painted on a space theme, but I didn’t know who it was. Alexey Leonov was declassified only in 1965, after his flight into space. We met him at the then popular television program “Star Relay” - I organized my exhibition there, - we met. “I want to make a picture as a gift to the Queen and I need to consult with you as an artist,” said Alexey in response to my proposal for creative collaboration.
I think we successfully complement each other. Leonov looked at the cosmos more through the eyes of a specialist and an eyewitness, I am an artist. At the same time, he is able to notice and explain the details, details, important for the creator of the picture. For example, I suffered from astronauts, trying to get them to explain how the northern lights look from space. They say it is on the edges of the red. But the red color has about a hundred shades.
Which one is true? And it begins: the color of a brick, the color of diluted potassium permanganate ... Leonov can accurately and accurately indicate the shade of the color palette.
By the way, among the astronauts there is another excellent artist with whom we organized joint exhibitions. This is Vladimir Dzhanibekov. True, if I am a supporter of cosmic realism, then he is clearly suffering from cosmic symbolism. At one of his paintings captured the moment of launch of the rocket and powerful clubs of fire and smoke curl in the form of several horse heads. The work is called "Duel". The fact is that the power of the spacecraft "Vostok", for example, was one million two hundred thousand horsepower. These “horsepower” are leading a desperate duel with earthly gravity in the picture of Janibekov.
- You have pictures, which offer beautiful views of the Earth from space. How accurate are these cosmic panoramic sketches?
- The astronauts claim that my knowledge of the Earth, as it is observed from various points of the orbit, corresponds to their knowledge on the eighteenth or twentieth day of flight.
- How is such reliability achieved?
- I use movies and photographic materials, maps, certificates of astronauts. But this knowledge is not enough. The main problem occurs when transferring to the canvas color. In space, everything depends on the illumination of the object: if the sun is five to ten degrees to change the point of illumination, the whole range of colors changes immediately. So, if you look against the sun, the water of the oceans glints, the land is all monotonously gray: if the star shifts slightly to the side, the water is already dark, on the land you can see green islands of forests, fields, mountains. Earth usually from orbit seems brown ...
These subtleties are known to me. Having finished work on the picture, I asked the astronauts to take it flying and to verify, so to speak, with the “original”. If there were any inaccuracies - eliminated.
- And what is this история with the pictures that you gave after space flights to foreign astronauts?
“When the flights of the Intercosmos international program began, I suggested sending two pictures into orbit with each crew, one of which then remains in the Union, and the other is given to a foreign cosmonaut. The idea was supported. True, the first pancake, as they say, came out lumpy. There were problems with the return of paintings from orbit. They did not enter the descent vehicle and remained forever in space. I took into account this experience and began painting on a canvas with a nylon base. They did not take up much space, they could be hidden in a pocket, put under a spacesuit. So, every foreign cosmonaut, with the exception of the first Czech, has my picture, which was in space.
- Andrei Konstantinovich, you are known not only as an artist of a real, documentary space, but also as a fantasy. You even “managed” to draw a “black hole” that a person is simply not physically able to see ...
- I have a lot of pictures devoted to other planets, worlds, constellations. All my works are based on some knowledge, guesswork, and assumptions. But if, for example, the Moon, Mars, Venus can be represented from photographs taken by automatic devices, then, depicting other galaxies, we have to fantasize and speculate. Not to leave here from personal predilections, tastes: you can imagine some planet in gloomy, brown tones (so, according to scientists, most likely it really is), but in my pictures golden, bright color predominates. He is more lovely to me, preferable.
As for the "black hole", then it really can not be seen by man. I imagined how it looks in the range of gravitational waves, the most powerful source of which is. Everything appears in a highly distorted form: the “black hole” draws in constellations, galaxies, and greatly distorts space.
- In the late eighties, you created and headed a section of space painting. What is her fate?
- Indeed, this section was created at the Union of Artists. She united a dozen of two artists, graphic artists, sculptors from all the republics of the USSR. We had great creative plans, including international cooperation with similar sections abroad, for example, with the Association of US Space Artists. Unfortunately, the section existed only for a year and a half or two years and ceased to exist with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
- Why? After all, the Russian cosmonautics exists, the artists remain, and then, the American association is thriving. So, it is in demand by society, the market ...
- The space theme in our country has lost its appeal, urgency, and public interest. Remember, before all the boys polls dreamed of becoming astronauts. Every flight into space is an event! And now we have been replaced by the Pepsi generation, to which our cosmonautics is deep “to the point of light”.
But the main thing, of course, is the attitude of the state to the implementation of space programs. When the Americans developed such a program, they laid down funding for its cultural support there. NASA gathered about forty leading artists of the country and concluded an agreement with them “on the promotion of America’s space achievements” for a year. Masters of the brush provided access to all, even the most secret objects. After a specified period of time, beautiful illustrated albums about space appeared ... At the end of the contract, most of the artists returned to their previous themes, but many became strongly attached to space. They formed the backbone of the space association.
- How do you feel about the prospects of international space cooperation and whether it can pull out of the crisis the Russian cosmonautics?
- Poor attitude. I am concerned that we cooperate with Americans not on equal terms, as in the old days, but occupy a subordinate position. We have only thirty percent participation in the creation of an international orbital station. Her first crew consisted of two of our astronauts and an American. The American is the commander. The official language of communication is only English. Having learned about such conditions, one of our astronauts refused to fly - I will not give his last name. Ours tried to defend the rights to joint control of the station, but nothing came of it. Management will be conducted only from Houston ...
I consider it a tragic mistake to decide to submerge the Mir space station in the ocean. Russia could not find 200 millions of dollars for its maintenance and lost much more money, considering the expensive equipment at the station, the profit it could bring in the future.
Recently, I finished work on a picture that I called "Murder." It shows the time of death in the Earth’s atmosphere of the last Russian, more precisely, Soviet orbital station “Mir”. The station where we were the only owners who symbolized our power and achievements. We were forced to reckon with all over the world.
All this seems to be a thing of the past.
- At one of your paintings depicts the moment of hoisting in space above the Mir orbital station of the State Flag of the Soviet Union. Is this a real fact or did you invent it?
- Real. Remember, in March 1991, a referendum was held on the preservation of the Soviet Union. Most of the country's population said "yes" to the Union. And in early June, astronauts Artsibarsky and Krikalev went to the orbital station. They decided to celebrate a significant event. They bought an ordinary Soviet flag in the store, which is hung out on holidays at the entrance to state institutions, and took it with them on board the spacecraft. In flight, during one of the spacewalks, they hoisted a camouflage cloth, previously taken in a frame (there is no air in space and the banner cannot fly) to the very top of the 14-meter farm.
For about a year, the flag of a country that no longer existed flew over the orbital station. Over time, it began to collapse: sharp temperature drops, radiation, space dust ... I asked a regular crew to remove the cloth and deliver it to the ground. But the cosmonaut cannot just go into space. This is a complicated operation. Finally, Tolya Soloviev came to work overboard the orbital station. I was just at the Mission Control Center at the time and asked: “Tolya, what's the flag like there?” “There are two threads left,” came the answer. The flag disappeared into eternity. Together with a great country that opened the way for the stars to the world.
And maybe it's for the better? He was not, as in the Kremlin, lowered and remained in orbit forever.
- Andrei Konstantinovich, did you have a desire to fly into space and see the Earth from orbit?
- There was, but I'm a realist. There is little desire. It is necessary to withstand the most severe competitive selection, especially with regard to the requirements for health. After all, it is known that the first cosmonaut detachment numbering 20 people selected from 7 thousands of pilots. That is just one person out of three hundred and fifty candidates (let me remind you, this is a fighter pilot with excellent health) was able to withstand the test. So, I repeat, there is little desire alone ...
As an artist, I tried to make my own contribution to the annals of the storming by the human genius of the universe, tried and tried to look into the future, without looking up from reality. This brings to mind the wise words of our great compatriot Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky: “Nothing is over. Everything has just begun, the end will never be. "
And another thing: whatever ideological and political trends, predilections are now, but the fact remains a fact for centuries: it was the Soviet Union that first launched an artificial satellite and a man into space. And I am proud of belonging to our country, to our people.