A photographic book of the artist’s studios in three cities: Moscow, Paris and New York.
Thanks to the stunning images of the British photographer and photojournalist James Hill, the book offers a rare glimpse into the studios of the renowned artist Zurab Tsereteli – in Moscow, Paris and New York.
In every location, the photographer discovered something unique. On Prechistenka in Moscow, the studio feels like a truly social space. It is arranged in the artist’s gallery, which forms a part of the Museum and Exhibitions complex of the Russian Academy of Arts. In the course of the day, the host would sometimes work by himself, but more often he is surrounded by school children, fellow artists or friends. The space is like a cross between a studio and a living room, also because Tsereteli does not try to separate his work from his daily life: for him, they are intrinsically interwoven.
His studio near the Trocadero in Paris, however, is very different. Here, the rooms and corridors are narrowed by paintings unable to find room on the wall. The ambiance is much more intimate and private. Though, even in Paris, there were constant interruptions as Tsereteli’s friends dropped by for a chat or a cup of tea, even if he would barely pause from painting. It was usually only late at night that the artist found himself alone. New York too, where the studio is located on the top floor of a house just to the east of Central Park, is calm and pensive. In January days, cool, steely light would flood the room at one moment and then be replaced by a soft, cloud-diffused grey. Each time Tsereteli started a new canvas, he would look for a friend to paint or an object in the studio – perhaps some flowers or a porcelain animal would catch his eye. There was never any question of taking a break. Even in his 80s, there is a necessity, not only a desire, to pick up his brushes and paint.
Back in Moscow, he spends time working at the largest of his studios on Bolshaya Gruzinskaya, while on the weekends he heads to the quiet Peredelkino, just to the south of the city. Everything is restful there, except for Tsereteli himself who, immediately after breakfast, vigorously begins his creative process in the studio.