About Kitezh

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The myth of Kitezh

The Invisible City of Kitezh is a Russian folk tale.

Old Believers (Raskolniki) possessed a legend about a village that resisted Tartar invasion by submerging itself in a nearby lake. The story survives today in illuminations and Rimsky-Korsakov's opera, the Tale of the Invisible City of Kitezh. Visitors to Lake Svetly Yar can still catch glimpses of this beautiful old Russian village.

For many Russians, Kitezh provides a platform for imagining what their culture might have been like, had it not been stamped by authoritarian rule.

It resonates with the kind of nostalgia we have about the village, prior to industrialisation and globalisation. The sense of calendar, ritual and cultural expression all seem far from the 24/7, mechanical and consumerist world of the 21st century.

But rather than wallow in this nostalgia for this mythical time of connectedness, it is better to consider how meaning might be constructed out of the present.

See also the story of Yuzhem
and another Kitezh
and another Kitezh.

...and another Kitezh can be found as minor planet number 4188, discovered by N.S. Chernykh on 25th April 1979

'Don't stand by the water and long for fish, go home and weave a net.'

Chinese proverb

The projects, texts and exhibitions in this site focus on artists who are able to make something of their own world.

These artists return to the principle of creativity as alchemy - a transformation of ordinary materials into something marvellous.

This applies both to craftspersons, who have the skill and invention to transform matter, and those creating in the South, who have the challenge of making something from the shadows.

Artists can be found across two lines of inquiry. Craft Unbound looks at how the handmade is rediscovered as a form of contemporary expression. And Idea of South questions how 'up' has dominated 'down'.

Both roots dig deep into the world below.

Projects and texts in Kitezh are written and designed by Kevin Murray