Celebrate Maslenitsa at Nikola-Lenivets

Herald the spring with artist Nikolay Polissky by watching his latest monumental sculpture go up in flames.

Burning of “Media Tower” (2004). Photo via Nikola-Lenivets Archive

The Nikola-Lenivets art park will be hosting a Maslenitsa celebration with a fiery finale on February 25. Also known as “Butter Week,” Maslenitsa is an eastern Slavic religious and folk holiday, celebrated the week preceding Lent. Nikola-Lenivets has previously embraced the holiday’s bonfire tradition – a practice that has earned the park the nickname “Russia’s Burning Man.” 

Contemporary artist and park founder Nikolay Polissky has been working with a team on his latest work, a 20-meter-tall flammable sculpture. Entitled “Pyramid,” the structure – composed of discarded wood and covered in substandard hay rolls – will be burned during the Maslenitsa festivities. It will have taken three months to build and will be burned to ashes in a single evening. 

According to Polissky, the fire provides an unknown element to the artwork: the original structure is known, but the manner in which the flames destroy “Pyramid” depends on a slew of unpredictable factors which will add originality to the piece. The sculpture will be set alight at 5 p.m. and is expected to burn for five hours – weather dependent.

Located 200 kilometers outside of Moscow on the banks of the Ugra River, the art park features large-scale sculpture and organic architecture nestled within natural surroundings. Nikola-Lenivets is now home to 28 land artworks, artist workshops and residencies and festivals.

Maslenitsa 2017 at Nikola-Lenivets begins a yearlong series of events at the park entitled, “How to Live.” Ticket reservations for Maslenitsa at Nikola-Lenivets can be made via the event website.