Hans Christian Andersen.

Andersen’s fairy tale with illustrations by Alexey Buldakov.

Alexey Buldakov (1980) is an artist and an anthropologist. Participating in the “School of Contemporary Art” of Avdey Ter-Oganyan. A member of the “Radek Collective” (2002-2005) as part of which Buldakov took part in Manifesta 4 (Frankfurt, 2002), the Prague Biennale (2003, 2005).

“Thumbelina” by Hans Christian Andersen is the first book in the fairy tale series of V–A–C Press, which are designed by contemporary Russian artists. The project looks to the tradition of Soviet illustration, whose representatives not only illustrated children’s books but also played a critical role in the development of the arts of their era.

The contemporary artist Alexey Budakov used an experimental technique for his illustrations of Andersen’s tale: it was based on an aesthetic of random graphic effects which emerge from the interaction of watercolours and ink on moist vellum

Thumbelina, for Buldakov, is a “person who grew from a seed”, was artificially and magically generated.

Alexey Buldakov unusually interprets the fairy tale of the Danish writer as a story of interspecies interaction. This directly resonates with important topics in his own work: spontaneous generation, the functioning of the ecosystem, animal and plant habitats and the presence of man.

Photo by Sofia Akhmetova

There was once a woman who wished very much to have a little child, but where could she find one? At last she went to an old witch and said to her:
“I have set my heart on having a little child: can you tell me where I can find one?”
“Oh, that can be easily arranged!”- said the witch.
“Here is a barleycorn of a different kind to those which grow in the farmer’s fields, and which are fed to the chickens; put it into a flower-pot and you will see what happens!”