Cultural and Geographical Markers of the City as Objects of Artists’ Attention (On the Example of Vladivostok)
The study aims to reveal the characteristic features inherent in the images of objects–markers of Vladivostok’s urban environment depicted in the paintings of local painting masters. The sources were the objects–markers of Vladivostok’s urban environment, a number of paintings depicting them, as well as the results of research on the problems of cultural geography and geocultural branding by Russian culturologists, architects, art historians. The author considers urban space as a visual text, which corresponds to the methodology of a semiotic approach. The latter presupposes the substantiation of communication between various subjects as a process in which various sign systems play a huge role. In this case, not only familiar symbols can act as signs, but also various images, material objects that have a certain meaning. In this study, objects (markers), expressing the essence of urban space, act as signs, and paintings with their images are understood as “mediators” between the sign itself and the recipient (the subject who perceives it). This study helps to find out how much the demand for an urban object as a pictorial image contributes to its definition as a spatial marker. The spatial markers of Vladivostok, which also are often touristically significant places and form the brand of the city (Millionka District, Vladivostok Funicular, and the Golden Bridge), have been studied. The works of artists, in which the significance of these markers is confirmed, have been analyzed; the artistic nuances inherent in the image of a particular object have been revealed; the symbolism and the inner content of artistic images have been determined. Their characteristic features are the focus on creating a certain associative array that appears in the minds of people who perceive a work of art; organic inclusion of objects in the surrounding space; symbolism, often turning into metaphor; and a calm contemplative manner of depiction full of lyrical shades. All these characteristics in their totality reflect the positive image of the city, which has a long and interesting history, and at the same time is forward-looking. The artists’ creative approaches to depicting the objects are different; however, the very choice of these markers indicates a certain commonality in the perception of the cultural code of the city. Based on the results of the study, it can also be concluded that the works of local artists can undoubtedly serve as an important source and means of identifying recognizable images when creating the concept of local or regional branding that is geocultural in nature.