Andrey Korobtsov: Sculpture as a vocation
Andrey Korobtsov is a young sculptor from Moscow. He is only 29 and has already created pieces of art that spark admiration and touch hearts. We’ve got to know each other at a Viennese Ball in Moscow happened in May this year and I had an immediate feeling that I had to tell my readers about him. We met again at the best of all places – the artist’s studio where I spoke to Andrey about art, his dreams and his muse.
Could you tell me a few words about yourself? How did it happen that you’re in Moscow?
I was born in Kazakhstan, the city called Dzhezkagan. Then after the USSR fell, in 1994 we moved to Belgorodskaya oblast, the town called Gubkin. I came to Moscow to go to the university.
How did you choose your path? When had you realized that sculpture is your calling?
To tell the truth, I hadn’t realized it until quite late. I’m extremely thankful to my parents for encouraging me. Speaking of my childhood I was always playing with play dough. I remember myself doing it since I was about three. Then I went to an art school. My teachers were complimenting me constantly; telling me my work is better than theirs. But even then I had no real calling to become a sculptor. I was just enjoying what I was doing. In the end of the college years, you have to choose where to go next and my decision was driven by maths. I wasn’t really good at it and had no idea how to pass the entrance exams – maths was crucial everywhere. But it turned out it wasn’t necessary at an art academy. Thus I chose the Glazunov Academy. I didn’t succeed the first time but realized this was the place I want to study. I was preparing all the next year and finally got accepted. I finished the academy in 2011 and now am an independent artist.
You have a lot of ballet themed sculptures. How did you get interested?
I’m ashamed to admit it but I knew a little about ballet until recently. I’d seen it on TV but wasn’t interested at all. My current love affair with ballet is due to my wife Evgenia Obraztsova (she is a ballerina). We got to know each other because of my sculpture which she was very fond of. It’s a sculpture of Evgeniy Rodionov – a young man executed for his refusal to take off his cross during the 1st Chechen war. Evgenia’s family considred him a saint and she really wanted to see this sculpture. I decided to show the work myself as it was quite hard to find in the building. That very night I watched my first ballet. Evgenia invited me to see the Nutcracker. It blew my mind and resulted in my piece called ‘Cloud’.
So Evgenia became your muse, didn’t she?
Absolutely. She never stops to inspire me.
You are very young and have already done so much. Where do you get your inspiration from?
It never stops really, I have lots of ideas but the idea transforms to a real thing only when it is fully formed in your head.
What materials do you work with?
Basically it is any material but the main is bronze.
(At that moment we moved to a sculpture decorated with emeralds so I asked Andrey about it)
What is this amazing work? Is it somebody’s order?
No, it is fully my idea inspired by Evgenia. She danced a Balanchine ballet called ‘Jewels’ which has three acts. The 1st is called ‘Emeralds’ symbolizing Paris. All the emeralds and silver work was done by a goldsmith. Also I’ve used a very curious mineral called labradorite.
How long does it take to work on a sculpture? Which stages does it go through?
It depends on how inspired I am and on the scale of work of course. It could take from two weeks to 1,5 years. First it’s an idea, and then you make a drawing. Then you make a maquette and after that the real scale sculpture.
What is your work schedule?
Despite the fact that I’m an independent artist I spend all my free time here in my studio. My work takes almost all of my time.
Do you have a dream as a sculptor?
Yes, I’d love to make a monument for Lubyanka (a very famous street in Moscow). I think it’s the best place in Moscow and it barely begs for a monument. Perhaps the one of a tsar. It doesn’t have to be a tsar but definitely a grand-scale person.
Out of those grand-scale persons whom would you like to make? Whose story would you like to tell?
My dream could turn real soon. I’ve always wanted to make a monument of Ivan the 3rd (Russian Tsar) and I took part in a competition for making his monument. I need to deliver it the next week. May be this year my dream will come true.
Photo: Dmitry Penkov & Olga Mordach