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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Cant or Kant

Art meets design at the exhibit of small sculpture and jewelry currently showing at the Museum of Private Collections.

The artist behind the works is Anatoly Kuznetsov, a painter and sculptor whose work is generally classified as "handicraft design."

A graduate in law, Kuznetsov is also known for his fondness for philosophy and poetry, a leaning reflected in the exhibit's title "The Thing in Itself," borrowed from the philosophical teachings of Immanuel Kant.

Kant propagated the idea of humans unable to fully understand their surrounding world. Kuznetsov, in turn, advocates the necessity of moving away from the design of soulless objects, and his works attempt to reflect human emotions, individual fate or historical events.

The item opposite, entitled "Greed," exemplifies this, with Kuznetsov using wood and metal to portray teeth clenching a gold ingot.

Kuznetsov also created a series of what he describes as the "dynamic of forms." Bearing a similarity to a cinema story board, these works reflect three phases of an event symbolizing the process of transition - here mostly from good to worse.

"In today's life, only a madman or criminal would be overwhelmed with good emotions," Kuznetsov comments.

Another work, entitled "Steps of Democracy," extends this pessimistic theme. It shows a handmade traditional Russian peasant lapot, or bast sandal, stepped on by a worn-out modern shoe, with an enormous nail hammering both of them into the ground.

"The Thing in Itself" runs through Sept. 19 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Museum of Private Collections, 14 Volkhonka Ulitsa. Closed Mon. and Tue. Tel. 203-1546/7998.

- Laila Shousha