Elena Akopyan
Doctor, Editor-in-Chief of the Heritage and Progress Foundation
To Celebrate the Birthday of Our Great Contemporary
Exactly 20 days after the Victory, when the sky over the country was still illuminated by festive flashes of fireworks, a boy was born in the old district of Sololaki in Tbilisi in the patriarchal Armenian family. The midday sun is now gliding cautiously over the wooden façade, shimmering mat on the cobblestones of the paved courtyard heated during the day. It doesn't blind. Gently strokes the boy's buzz cut head. The terrace, entwined with grapes, is buried in the shade. The house is quiet and cool. A huge chandelier is hidden in a gauze cover (so that flies could not sit up on it). A large table for guests, covered with "Richelieu embroidery" tablecloth. Floors are polished to a shine; the furniture is smelling of wax. There is a small old sideboard in the kitchen, mother is cutting onions for eggplant caviar (so that it crunches and no! tomatoes). The shouts of boys playing football come from the street. The crooked alleys run scattered, as in "hide and seek". In a little more, the languid evening coolness will descend on the city, and the exquisite dazzling elite of old Tbilisi in snow-white suits will float to the cherished Rustaveli. And, of course, the father with the "Dawn of the East" under his arm, and then a long feast with wine and smart conversations until the morning. And instead of a lullaby, the grandmother will play passages on her Bernstein (all in all, a graduate of the conservatory in Glazunov's class). He reminisce about the past.

"I grew up in Georgia and my sense of space developed there, among the mountains ... When you see that the clouds are floating below you, that the eagles are flying below, and you follow their sliding shapes against the background of the mountains, the movement of air, rising fog, that's how the sensations that predetermine your life are born"

Since 1956, the family moved to Moscow, here he entered the famous and now physics and mathematics Second School, from where, as if in a spiral, his encoded looped fate rose, expanded, unrolled its loops, gaining height. Shakespeare scholar and expert in antiquity Vladimir Rogov taught at this school. They adapted the tragedy of Sophocles, and the boy sculpted a small figure of Philoctet. Seeing this miracle, a family friend, the sculptor Smirnov, discovers his art, and in 1964, having mastered the craft of a draftsman, the young man entered the sculpture department of the Stroganov Higher Industrial School.

"Only by absorbing all the stages of world art, you can become a part of it ... You can destroy the Temple, but each part of it will carry the spirit of creation." And he becomes a part of it, keeping the omnipotent spirit of creation, like a brick with the encoded gene of the dilapidated masonry of the Parthenon, replicating and storing it. There are no empty spaces in his sculpture. In his works, the incorporeal is material, half-hint acquires the power of the word, the curves line up in the desired vector, and our amazed thought, dichotomously branching and perplexed, finally comprehends the meaning laid down by the author. His characters are modern and ordinary. Impulsive, thoughtful, tired or full of strength, they are always earthly, but preparing to take off, leaning slightly on the sheets of their works or sliding off a stone. It seems that he is catching the moment when the soul flies off, separates from the body. Like his Pushkin, astrally tall, already with an otherworldly face, but still alive, still with his earthly hand clutching a cloak on the Black River, under which there is a wound in order to somehow hold back the blood. Volume and space, but the volume is always outside the boundaries, and space, with all its infinity, is always finite. It is filled with air, takes on contours, outlines, and becomes the main character of his compositions, like the Invisible Man, dressed in clothes. The material with which he works is polyphonic, like a symphony orchestra. Bronze, marble, wood, ceramics, wax and glass, mirror and water. His works come from the portals of time, and like ancient centers of power, they change the space around. Novokuznetsk and Zelenogorsk, Ravenna and Moscow, Antwerpen and Brussels, Baltiysk and Venice, Jerusalem and Odessa.
With arms akimbo, legs wide apart, his Peter the Great stands at the intersection of the main streets of Antwerpen, exactly in the place where his ship first docked. The water has long been gone. But those bells that greeted him in 1717 greeted his new arrival with a solemn festive chime. All his sculptures are alive. Without waiting for the solemn ceremony, a monument to Bulgakov decided to open itself (the plastic screen hiding the monument mystically disappeared). The boat on which Dante and Virgil set off on their journey through the realm of the dead is now fluctuating on the waters of a green lagoon near the San Michele Island. Brodsky is buried on this island in the Venetian cemetery. And, years later, at his own expense, the sculptor donates to Moscow an amazing monument: in the midst of disembodied shadows, there is the figure of a poet who came out to Novinsky. Lifting his head, he now turns his face over to the rain, snow, sun ... the sky, from where they whisper to him, or maybe listen ... The first monument to Einstein in Israel. In front of the National Library on the territory of the University of Jewish Studies, to which he left all the letters and manuscripts. This is not a sculpture, it is him, alive, in a rumpled jacket with a favorite pipe, a hand in a pocket, a vest, and a tie. Coming from a world where everything is relative, to a world where everything is constant, from childhood with a portrait of the great physicist on the wall above the desk in his office to the opening ceremony of his work in Israel ... It is beyond tempting now to come up and fix the slightly crooked tie ...

Long ago, in childhood, in his Moscow Second School, the literature teacher, Raskolnikov, revealed the forbidden Babel to his students, and years later, while working on the writer's monument, he confesses "Isaac Babel is a sculptor from literature." Babel, Odessa. Sitting on the steps with a notebook on his knees, short-sighted, head hunched, with asthmatic chest, stooped, sad, autumnal. Next to him, on a real Odessa paving stone, as if raised above today's asphalt, there is a rolling wheel. It's symbol unique for everyone (for me the wheel of history, which cannot be stopped). Babel's widow A. N. Pirozhkova said: "Having seen the layout, I am happy that I have lived to this day." In Bryusovsky Lane, Aram Ilyich Khachaturyan as if surrounded by musical instruments, breaks out of the music, dressed in a concert tailcoat, with notes on his knees (about to fly away), almost without touching the floor. And "raised to the nobility, a nobleman of the Arbat court" Okudzhava loves to walk with friends along the Arbat in the evenings ... How many of them out there came to life, lived! How few of them!
My sister and I once decided to meet after work.
"Come to Lesnaya, let's sit in a cafe."

It was still light; the sun was setting reluctantly. The usual workday of the metropolis was coming to an end. In cafes scattered in flocks, on benches and pedestals people sat, drank, ate, laughed, a guitar sounded at a youngster's table. People left the offices and walked without noticing their smiles, squinting in the sun, mentally throwing away their daytime problems, forgetting the troubles of the day, and along with them walking without haste, were the seven figures of men and women shining with the setting sun. Sharp, precise with clear lines, like the lines written out in the diary from the "to do" section, shining with steel, like ironed suits, business megalopolis, but already a little funny, with loosened ties, free, festive. They walked together with us, reflected in the glass-concrete walls along the White Square, which converged in a wedge to the White Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. And from behind the dome, under the solemn chime of bells, the setting sun was festively blinding, flooding the ordinary working, exhausted evening with the genius of one person turning your life into priceless happiness …

Thank You, our great contemporary! Happy Birthday, Georgy Vartanovich Frangulyan!
3 Dnepropetrovskaya Str., Moscow, Russia, 117525
Heritage and Progress Foundation for the Development and Support of Russian-Armenian Humanitarian Initiatives