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Fashionmag42 interview: Evgeny Kreshchensky

In the art institute, I extensively studied the history of costumes and object history. We were consistently reminded that each item carries information about its owner’s status and worldview.

MAG42: Tell me more about your collaboration on ” No Exit ” project.
Cooperation on the “NO EXIT” project began with the director Victoria Klipova inviting me to participate as a set designer. This play by Jean-Paul Sartre intrigued me with its unusual dramaturgy, extending beyond three stories. It explores the theme of complete exposure of human nature and self-acceptance. Victoria gave me complete creative freedom. It was necessary to radically rethink the entire concept of the play, and this interested me doubly.

Evgeny Kreshchensky

MAG42: How do you decide what a character should wear in a particular scene?
I worked for a long time in a major Moscow theater, giving me a deep understanding of the specifics of classical theater. Often, it tends to be overloaded with details, a huge number of monumental decorations, and claims to dazzling luxury. I liked it as an artist; I found it picturesque and spectacular.

The “NO EXIT” project required the exact opposite – extreme minimalism. It was necessary to find a bold solution that would not mindlessly illustrate the setting and objects in the play. A completely different approach to the stage space was required, making it maximally playful for the actors.

This performance is heavily focused on the human. All attention is concentrated on the character’s state, on his psychological “transformations” happening throughout the plot. It was important to literally bring out the inner world of each character.

NO EXIT. Scenery sketch

Yes, I have directed dramas before and worked with small stages. I am familiar with the asceticism on the stage of some theaters. But this project completely overturns all my previous experience. In some ways, working on this project reminds me of the rebirth of a phoenix when you acquire a new form and refine your skills from scratch.

In the art institute, I extensively studied the history of costumes and object history. We were consistently reminded that each item carries information about its owner’s status and worldview. Revisiting plays multiple times, I strive to analyze and understand what elements constitute a character’s personality. Every piece of clothing, every accessory – they are symbols. Signs that function as part of a visual biography. The character’s costume is a story told not in words but through objects, through details.

NO EXIT. Costumes

MAG42: What are some of your favorite costumes that you’ve designed in the past and why?
I have worked on various costumes for many performances, and now it’s challenging for me to determine which ones are my favorites. In general, I enjoy working on stage characters. It’s always a captivating process of searching for details, movement, and character traits. These tasks require different approaches and stylistic solutions.

For instance, when creating sketches, I often aim to capture the dynamic movement of the character, trying to imagine how they might appear in real life. Then, I dress them in clothing and add details that emphasize their personality. This process flows easily, almost playfully.

Richard Third. Costumes

However, there are projects that demand an entirely different approach. For example, I designed costumes for William Shakespeare’s ‘Richard III.’ Here, in my opinion, a gothic static, severity, and strictness of lines were necessary. My goal was to convey through the costumes that life is a cruel game, and people are like wooden chess pieces. They have nowhere to escape – they inexorably move away from the board by an unseen force. The process of working on these characters brought me immense pleasure. Perhaps it is linked to my love for gothic aesthetics, Burgundian fashion, and the costumes of past eras for their authenticity.

MAG42: What do you think is the most important aspect of a costume?
Strictness, conciseness, and recognizability of the silhouette are crucial. The precision of details, their character, and quantity are important. It is rightly said, ‘brevity is the sister of talent.’ A costume overloaded with details and trimmings simply turns into a cluttered hanger at the grand entrance. However, it all depends on the task. Perhaps I’ll have a play where I need to create a ‘monster costume’ to scare the audience.

Richard Third. Costumes

MAG42: Describe a time when you had to work with a difficult actor or director and how you handled the situation.
I haven’t encountered critically complex actors and directors yet. However, I’ve come across extremely difficult people in other spheres. A person, in and of themselves, is very complex. The human character, let’s say, is not painted in one color. It consists of numerous shades. Depending on the situation, the tonality of these shades can change. There are no unchanging, ‘ironclad’ people. I believe that in any field, an individual approach to a person is necessary.

Series Freedom Vibes, 2024. Acrilic, canvas. 110 x 90 cm.

MAG42: Any plans for the future?
I always have many plans and ideas, and sometimes I regret that there are only 24 hours in a day.I am a professional artist, and besides theater, I am engaged in painting and graphics. I regularly exhibit my works at art exhibitions. Currently, I am working on a new series of paintings executed in acrylic. I enjoy experimenting with various materials and techniques, such as oil, tempera, watercolor, and gel pens. Acrylic is a new technique for me that I mastered after coming to Belgrade. I consider it a significant achievement over the past year.

The main theme of my creativity is humans, their emotions, and mood. It is essential for me to convey this through paintings and sketches. I love female images, feminine lines. The new series is no exception. It consists of paintings featuring female images. The female essence, with its flexibility, variability, and impulsiveness, holds a special place in my art. Similar to theatrical creativity, I am drawn to the psychological transformation of a person, and I find ways to depict it on canvas or paper.

My immediate plan is to complete the new series and showcase it to people. Additionally, I am excited about working on new, equally fascinating theatrical projects. As for the play “NO EXIT”, I am confident that it will leave no one indifferent.


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