Fountains and explosions
Cover artwork by Liza Kin

Library Russia

Fountains and explosions

By Alexander Rappaport

Cover artwork by Liza Kin

May 2018

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Fountains and explosions

(to H. Arendt and L. Kin)

Fountains, explosions and eruptions have an archetypal scheme where energy or its embodiment in a matter of light emissions, lines and radiances represent an upward movement from a single point that then bursts out as a cone of traces — lines and stains — up to a certain altitude with a bright glow, and finally vanishes, fades and gutters down as flakes of smoke and vapor. 

In graphical terms this scheme can spill over to various plants as well — herbs, bushes and flowers — that grow out of a single point in the ground and then rise up forming a trunk and a crown or a bush.

Figuratively these archetypes can  symbolize processes inside one’s mind — inspiration, vision, prophecies, hopes, strivings. The word ‘strive’ that means flow here changes its horizontal vector (Heraclitean “panta rhei” — “everything flows”) to a vertical upward strive and ascension in the direction opposite to gravity. But the upward movement itself here can allegorically be interpreted as the symbol of aspiration up to the sky or the power coming from within — the body and soul — towards the sky and the sun.

Creative and destructive meanings of an explosion can then be seen ambivalent as both at the same time and infuse delight and fear — interchangeably or simultaneously.

Top down inverse of an explosion is curious too — when roots of a tree turn out symmetric to its own crown.

In architecture and techs the idea of explosion as an inside-out movement is accompanied with an implosion — an inward movement.

In a thermonuclear bomb first an atomic bomb explodes which creates pressure in the center,  forcing the hydrogen charge to explode. In urban development that is how the city life’s pressure towards the center is seen — towards a cathedral square, creating a civilizational effect of social activities intensification. 

Vector and directed explosions are complemented with chaotic ones where numerous points collapse as a result of detonation in all directions, creating outlines of an ornament that has no dominating direction.

Saint Petersburg, spring 2018

Alexander Rappoport (translated by Malika Autalipova)


Alexander Rappoport is a Russian architect, architecture theorist and critic, art expert.


Liza Kin's solo exhibition ’Salut’ opens May 24 in Almaty.

Published: May 23, 2018