"Eva Progenitress"

The draft project of the architectural and sculptural park composition.
"Eve the Progenitress – the Hearth-Keeper "

1995. Plasticin. h-45 cm.

The sketch of the monumental composition “Eve the Progenitress, the Hearth-Keeper” was conceived as a sculptural and architectural object for Sokolniki Park. This project is based on a combination of cultures and styles, on a dialogue between the prehistoric art of the Paleolithic time (35,000-10,000 BC) and the Ancient Scythian art of the Iron Age (7th-2nd century BC).

The project’s plan is linked to the landscape of the park by means of an artificial decorative barrow like those build by the Ancient Scythians. Our ancestors, the Ancient Scythians, used to install a stone figure, a so-called “Scythian Figure”, a monumental and very superficial depiction of a “tribe chief” or a “noble warrior”.

Using the ancient religious magical “symbol of a spiral shape” which has come to us from the prehistoric age of matriarchy, from the Paleolithic time, the project solves the problem of a steady circular upward movement towards the center of the barrow. The “spiral” path is paved with stone bearing carved magical signs. It leads to the “Eve the Progenitress”, the main part of the project.

This “spiral” path is fenced in on both sides with large granite boulders of varying sizes. These bounders bear complex carved compositions on the themes from prehistoric people’s lives that follow the style of the rock paintings of prehistoric art and of the Ancient Scythian gold and copper ornaments.

The themes include hunting, early farming, the taming of the dog, horse and domestic animals, the origin of crafts. They are also about the war of tribes, the death of warriors, the origin of the early religious cults with their rituals, dances, idols and paganism. There is also love and the continuation of the kin, etc. You can look at all these “pictures” from the history of humankind while walking along this “spiral” path.

Centered in this “eternal circle of life” is the solitary figure of the calm and pensive “Eve the Progenitress” on the top of the barrow. She is listening quietly to the life of the child that is developing in her, standing at the threshold of her ancient “house”, which is the first construction of man known in the history of art and culture. It is the so-called dolmen: two upright stones (the prototype of columns) are topped with a third stone as a horizontal roof. The beginning of deliberate construction was the moment when the humankind left the caves.

The idea of the composition of “Eve the Progenitress”, the characteristic stylization of her image, the solution of this theme were based on a combination of two cultures. I am interested in the prehistoric art of the Matriarchy epoch (35,000-10,000 BC) and in the cultural legacy of our ancestors, the Ancient Scythians, who lived on the territory of my country in the Iron Age (7th-2nd century BC). They left many monuments of art and culture behind. Archeologists find them in steppe barrows, e.g. in Kostroma, and in the remains of ancient settlements.

It is in the prehistoric Aurignacian epoch, in the Paleolithic time, that one of the world’s oldest sculptures, the so-called “Venus of Willendorf”, was created. Its age is about 25 thousand years. It is a small (only 11 centimeters tall) but highly impressive naked figure of a woman made from limestone. This figure left just as huge an impression on me as the splendid monumental “Scythian Figures”, 2 or 3 meters high and 2.5 thousand years old, standing in the courtyard of the Oddessa Museum of Arts. I often looked at them and drew them when I studied in the Grekov College of Arts in 1977-1985.

All these impressions and passions of different years formed the basis for the idea and composition solution of my project. This “monument to Woman” does not belong to a specific age. It somehow came to us from the Paleolithic times, from the Matriarchy epoch, when there was the cult of “Mother the Progenitress”. But even in our time of post-modernism, “democracy” and feminism it is quite a modern phenomenon in both its form (a combination of cultures, a mix of different styles) and its content (it is an “eternal theme”).

The “woman-Eve” has always been and will always be the source of life on Earth, the keeper of the kin, home and family. She combines the whole of history and goes through all the epochs and ages.

Eve is the basis for the “eternal circle of life”. She is in the center of the “spiral” the civilization and the history of humankind is developing along. Therefore my monument to “Eve” is beyond time.

These are the key ideas of the draft project “Eve the Progenitress, the Hearth-Keeper”.

I. Ponomarev


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