A monumental and elegant building, Manege was originally built as riding hall for the Horse Guards Regiment by Giacomo Quarenghi in 1807. The beautiful horsemen sculptures and its neoclassic architecture are still a testament to this legacy. 

But If you go there this weekend, you’d also be passing by a Christmas tree decorated with holographic eyes. It’s an installation by the Israeli artist Igor Revelis (aka Klone) fittingly titled “Can You See Me?” and is supposed to explore “the phenomenon of human memory and the fluctuating boundaries between the external and the internal. 

Photo by news.jeps.ru
Photo by news.jeps.ru

That’s to put it mildly, considering that you’re looking at dozens of hologram eyes that belong to a St. Petersburg resident. As you walk by, the optical effect makes the eyes appear open or closed, depending on the angle they’re viewed from. Apparently the idea is that the observer is also the observed. 

Step inside the Manege, and this weekend, you’ll be looking at some serious Soviet art. Entitled Deineka / Samokhvalov, it features the work of two outstanding Soviet-era painters – Alexander Deineka and Alexander Samokhvalov – who worked on similar themes: athletes, miners and construction workers, heroism by ordinary people, Red Army soldiers, but their takes are distinctly different, which makes for a fantastic exhibition. 

"Meeting of Women" by by Deineka
"Meeting of Women" by by Deineka

“It did not take us too long to decide upon how to structure the exhibition. We have two artists – one who worked in Moscow, the other in Leningrad. These are cities which stood in opposition to one another in various respects – in art and in sport,” said the exhibition’s curator Semyon Mikhailovsky.  “The artists themselves focused on very specific themes. These themes were singularly relevant ones, and demonstrated the people’s involvement in the process of social transformation.”

Photo by http://www.visit-petersburg.ru
Photo by http://www.visit-petersburg.ru

One you’re had your fill of classic art, step back outside and check out a modern take on a horse by Andrei Lyublinsky. Made of colorful cylinders, it’s like a pictogram that contrasts with its classical surroundings. While reminiscent of the Russian avant-garde, it also seems to be a nod to the digital nature of modern-day visuality.

Manege opening hours: 11 am till 8 pm

Tickets: adults - 300 rubles, students - free.

 
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