When the Last iPad Disappears

Время публикации: 27.04.2012 18:58 | Последнее обновление: 28.09.2021 14:35

Do you recognise them?

In front of you, these are the two key faces of the match currently played in Zurich. The heads are by the German sculptor Bertrand Freiesleben.

The artist made them in 2008, not suspecting about the match four years later, of course.

And now Freiesleben has brought them to Switzerland so as to show to the chess fans.

"Each head is eleven kilograms. They are not the heaviest of sculptures", says Bertrand, "I just packed them into a suitcase, got on a train and travelled up here."

The sculptor admits, not without some bitterness, that his career is similar to a chess one: he works very hard, has lots of ideas in his head, but only known to a small circle of fans.

Freiesleben has made about 200 busts altogether; the most famous ones are all the presidents of Germany. But for us, obsessed with 64 black and white squares, the presidents, of course, cannot compare with the more familiar faces.

Here is one more of them, for example.

"It all started with Korchnoi in 2006", says Bertrand, "I've always admired chess players and wanted to immortalise the greatest and most charismatic. The image of Victor Lvovich suits that very well; besides, I remember him since childhood, when his name resonated across the West."

"After Korchnoi I followed with the busts of Kramnik and Aronian. It was possible to make arrangements with them without many problems, especially as Levon long since lives in the same country as I do. However, it was harder to make arrangements with Anand and Carlsen; they are not easy to get in contact with." 

Bertrand doesn't hide that he'd like to make sculptures of Karpov and Kasparov. "But Kasparov replied to me that he hasn't yet reached an age when that would be appropriate..." 

"For me, the chess players are rock stars" - the sculptor was struggling to find words during our conversation. Like any artist, he finds it easier to express himself by doing rather than in words. "I understand that the popularity of leading chess players isn't comparable to the popularity of, let's say, Formula-1 stars, but it doesn't matter. For me, the chess players are no less precious. And if today I can immortalise their names in bust sculptures, then they will shine even when there are no iPads left in the world. That's my way of evaluating their importance for our cultural heritage."

Chess and sculpture have a lot in common. They followed the same rules and aims for thousands of years. It's possible that everyone has tried to play chess or paint at least once in their life, but only a few managed to achieve a truly high level in these arts. Both chess and portrait sculpture have narrow focus: a chess board in one and a head in the other. There's nothing else apart from many years of study and learning...

There are only 64 squares and seven billion people of the same structure. But chess remains and will remain an infinite, incalculable to the end game. In the same way, there will always be a difference between each of the seven billion people. No one is the same. Everyone has an unlimited number of moods and facial expressions..."

"I can't play chess myself", admits Bernard, "so I don't even try. But through my craft, I want to show my respect and admiration to those who achieved big heights in this game. At the same time, everyone is an expert on the subject of portraits. Faces are familiar to us. I dream of returning the real audience to art. It's possible to do through faces."

Of course, you would ask, whose face Freiesleben is working on in these pictures? That's the Silver Medalist of the Snowboarding World Championship Yuri Podladchikov, who lives in Zurich. His sporting nickname is iPod.


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