The Poet and the Lady

The story of true friendship: a Russian poet and the First Lady, Andrei Voznesensky and Jacqueline Kennedy
Project Type:

145 sq.m

Andrei Voznesensky Cultural Centre
Scope of works:

Interpretative planing


Exhibition design and Creative direction

Graphic design

Project management

Andrei Voznesensky Cultural Centre
July - October 2019
The project team:

Julia Napolova
Ekaterina Davydenkova

«The Poet and the Lady» are Andrei Voznesensky and Jacqueline Kennedy, the living icons of their time. They remained faithful friends, even when their friendship seemed impossible. The very time they lived in was against their connection: the relations between the United States and the USSR were at a fever pitch. But the friendship between Andrei and Jacqueline kept uniting two yet so different worlds together.

It all starts with the first impression. The gigantic video installation greets the visitors: it unites private photos of Kennedy and Voznesensky with historical pictures. It is the kaleidoscope of two people’s lives against the backdrop of large-scale political developments. The Cuban Missile Crisis and President Kennedy’s assassination coexist with the routine of everyday life, with Voznesensky’s trips to the U.S. and  the encounters that made history.

The exhibition takes our attention away from big headlines — and introduces us to a more private sort of space. It is Jackie’s living room — and her saloon on the Fifth Avenue. Voznesensky used to come here while in the States; this is where Jackie collected his works as well. The poet created a few «videoms»: the compositions of words and letters. Such poems should be scrutinized, not simply read. His famous «Nabokov’s Butterfly» centers the exposition. It is surrounded by display cases with real butterflies, the ones composed by entomologists. Therefore they entwine Voznesensky’s work into the fabric of Nabokov’s butterfly collection.

Through the living room — «through the looking-glass». The next exhibition hall is a mirror room, with video projections reflecting and glistening all around. The visitors find themselves in the whirlwind of fancy parties and big city nightlife. Moscow or New York City? Why not both? Andrei and Jacqueline untied these cities together — now we only have to follow.