In his creative practice Nikolai Lavdansky prefers to use wood. As an artist, he has the unique opportunity to contemplate not only the external manifestations of nature, but also those which penetrate it pneumatologically. Through the material, wood, Lavdansky enters into dialogue with Nature. In this conversation, he acts as a rationalizing, ordered beginning, itself subordinating its primordial element. He takes on the role of not just master, but creator, handling the wood like clay and becoming a demiurge.
Wood, especially oak, has for Nicholas Lavdansky a profound stratification of chronic meanings. Oak is an important symbol in Slavic folklore, it is the center of the universe: stable and eternal. Oak is like a constant of the microcosm of the forest around which life takes place. This species of tree is like the forefathers of the Old Testament, whose age is counted in centuries. They exist in a different time plane, not obeying the human laws of time. Passing years, in contrast with humans, only temper the strength of the oak. One gets the impression that time flows backwards for these trees.
The items presented as part of the “The Mongols Are Coming” collection are made from oak trees found in the forests of the Vladimir Region. The artist wanted to show the trees as a source of memory which preserve within themselves a great history and to perpetuate ancient culture in modern art, carved by his hand from those same trees.