ARTICLE PATRIK SANDBERG
PHOTOGRAPHY GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY
EMERGING MENSWEAR SUPERSTAR GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY CIRCUMVENTS LIMITATIONS WITH SNAPSHOTS, SKATERS, AND A BOOK TO TRANSMIT—AND TRANSFIGURE—HIS MULTIMEDIA VISION
Russian menswear designer Gosha Rubchinskiy is known for his dreamy and exacting sportswear, which harnesses the nostalgia and romance of youth through a post-Soviet lens, often landing on the backs of the skaters and skinheads who helped to inspire it. Despite this success—his designs have caught the eye of the elusive and illustrious Rei Kawakubo, who produced his newest collection through Comme des Garçons—Rubchinskiy continues to pursue his vision through a wide host of media. Aside from designing and photographing his collections, he also creates seasonal fanzines and has launched a gallery space in Saint Petersburg's island of New Holland called TRANSFIGURATION. Aimed at reviving the pulse of the area, the space has become a cultural hub for young neighborhood artists and skateboarders. This month, a book of the same name is released in a limited edition of 1,000 copies. We spoke to the designer, photographer, and visionary to figure out what it means to transfigure.
How did the book project form?
GOSHA RUBCHINSKIY I wanted to spend the whole summer in Saint Petersburg, and I thought about the book and the film from the beginning. When New Holland invited me to be part of their summer project, I started to do it.
Where did you find your subjects?
GR We created a workshop with a mini photo studio inside, and a skate park outside. I took photographs and video portraits of the boys who came to skate there. TRANSFIGURATION hosted events, exhibitions, live shows, and skateboarding competitions.
How do the subjects of your photos reflect your creative vision in terms of design?
GR In the summer of 2011, I took a pause from fashion. This project tells of my ideas that came from that time. People are always the main subject and what inspires me in my art and in my fashion work.
What does the word TRANSFIGURATION mean for you in regard to collection of material?
GR It is my vision of the present, of the moment of NOW. I showcase things that I want to remember. It is the beginning of the way to something new and fresh for me.
Would you characterize this book as a document of the space, or something more nebulous?
GR The film shows the space and the performances, whereas the book is more portraits and landscapes.
What is it like in New Holland? What is the scene like there today?
GR The island of New Holland is located in Saint Petersburg. It has opened its doors to the public for the first time in its 300-year history. My space was a small part of a larger project, of rejuvenating life on the island. It is designed by the IRIS foundation (who also made the GARAGE cultural center in Moscow) as a temporary summertime cultural hub, geared toward young artists. TRANSFIGURATION is my project from my residence there.
The architecture and sculpture shown in your photographs implies a romantic cultural history. Does the history of these city structures factor into your work?
GR I show things which I like in Saint Petersburg. I try to show some of my feelings there. Nothing from the USSR, only about beauty and romance.
Can we expect another chapter for TRANSFIGURATION?
GR My project was there for only one summer. Now we have this book and I am ending with the TRANSFIGURATION film, part of which you can see here.
What can we look forward to in your next collection? What are you inspired by now?
GR I am working on Autumn/Winter 13 and I hope we'll make a new book and video project next year. I met very interesting young artists here in Moscow and I want to collaborate with them.
Transfiguration is on sale at VFILES now!