First published: Spring 2005
Alexei Ivanovich Rudov (1926–2002) was a retired railway worker who lived in the village of Kondrovo in the Kaluga region south of Moscow. When he was 50 he fell ill and quit working on the railway which ran past his village. Unused to inactivity, his doctor advised him to take up some form of creative expression as a way to better health.
Utilising branches, wood and sometimes tree mushrooms, Rudov began his first piece. He instantly realised that it was what he had always wanted to do. Rudov's creations were not therapeutic diversions but whole sense complexes relating to an inner and outer world. They were directed by the simple philosophy he and his father shared: 'Take care of Nature – we are a part of it'; 'Think of beauty, as beauty uplifts us'; 'Remember God and the Motherland'.
Rudov's work was didactic and not simply decorative and he considered himself to be more a teacher than an artist. The education of young people was fundamental to his purpose; their spiritual, ecological and moral enlightenment was at the centre of his activity.
In 1980 he opened his 'Home Museum In The Open Air' on land next to his house. Many people from the region came to visit. Local officials brought visiting dignitaries. Rudov would delight in giving guided tours. Newly weds, following a Russian tradition of visiting memorials on their wedding day wished to be photographed at the site. Local children loved and honoured Rudov who died of heart failure on April 14, 2002.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #50