After the famous Russian composer Modest Mussorgky had visited the posthumous exhibition of his friend the painter Viktor Hartmann, he wrote a piano suit “Picture at an Exibition“. The composition consists of ten movements, each of which describes one of Hartmann‘s paintings. The parts are joined with the so-called “promenade“ corresponding to Mussorgky‘s walk through the picture-gallery.

My good friend Lisa suggested to me that we gather a group and continue the game started by composer. Lisa is an excellent musician. At that time she was learning composition and prepared to perform one. She imagined a concert, where parallel to her playing the piano a couple of artists would paint live pictures suitable to music in their opinion.

Two other girls, also our friends, both graphic designers with illustration as a main subject like me, joined the project. Veta finished at the design faculty at Nuremberg Institute of Technology at the same time as I did, and Olya is still studying there.

Next the long and hard work on conception of the project began. Because I had already moved to Berlin by the time and the girls live in Nuremberg, we had to arrange to discuss things on Skype for our discussions every week. In our free time we listened to Mussorgsky‘s music and made notes of our ideas and associations, made sketches and short videos.

Photography Tatjana Phillipp

Photography Tatjana Phillipp

Gradually we came to a common idea and composed scenario for the whole performance. We decided to not only do live painting, but also to play with light and projections, to build sculptures, to show some cartoon films using an overhead projector and some prepared paper silhouettes, to blow up a confetti gun and a lot of other things.

I started to go to Nuremberg for our rehearsals once a month. And every time we had to look for a room. Where didn‘t we rehearsed? In music schools, club rooms saturated with smoke, music halls, Veta‘s flat and finally Olya‘s grandmother‘s attic. Every time something cropped up or somebody helped us.

Photography Tatjana Phillipp

Photography Tatjana Phillipp

Once after a rehearsal I and Veta decided to visit a children‘s performance of shadow theater. We thought, we could get inspired by their ideas. After the play we met the artist and organizers of the event Olga and Vadim. We talked to them briefly about our project. And such a surprise! They suggested that they could organize our act. It didn‘t took long time till we had the concert date and reserved the hall for our event. That‘s when it got to be serious and a little bit terrifying.

Photography Tatjana Philipp

Photography Tatjana Philipp

So as not to fail at the premiere we sent an application to take part in a small German-Russian festival called OstAnders and show a fragment of our performance. And we were invited. This festival passed a couple of month before our full premiere. So we has an opportunity to get some first impressions and feedback from outside. This pre-premiere helped us a lot to feel surer and to notice many of our mistakes.

So we arrived on the homestretch. Veta and Olya were designing flyers and posters, Lisa and I were writing advertising texts, our organizers, the group Oil&Poet were arranging about dress rehearsal and spreading the information. Event groups in social networks were opened, tickets were on sale in Nuremberg‘s box-offices, but we were still changing and making over some things.

Photography Tatjana Philipp

Photography Tatjana Philipp

Literally a week prior to our act we scrapped the idea for the episode called „The Old Castle“. Now we wanted to build a castle of sugar. After that we would water it with a rain of red ink and the castle would slowly melt by melancholic music.

Our act passed with great enthusiasm. All tickets were sold out, the hall for 90 people completely full. And yes, we made some mistakes, but it also belongs to a premiere, especially when the hands were trembling so much. But we are all glad that we could bring this project to this level. Now we are planning to give new concerts and to keep on working.

So follow our news and come to see our performance. :o)

To find out more about the project, visit Anna’s http://temhota.net/ or Veta’s website http://www.sliwinska.de/

Photography courtesy of Tatjana Philipp http://www.tatjana-philipp.de/

Photography Tatjana Philipp

Photography Tatjana Philipp

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