Lyubov Shmykova

I believe in small cities

Born in Perm, studied in Perm National Research Polytechnic University at the department of design, graphics, and perspective and shadows projections. Artist, since 2011, she works in the Museum of Modern Art PERMM and in the Fantastic Research Bureau.


  • We do not appreciate humanity; many do not care about a human being at all. It is true both for state and society.
  • It is very frightening to understand at some point that you can't do anything, to feel the void.
  • I believe that through art we really change people. Even when we are playing. You can't afford to do something beautiful but senseless in art, you always have to fill it with sense. The responsibility is very high.

My story

I was born in Perm but when I was not even two years old, we went to live to Cuba. Cuba formed my visual image of the world, and when we returned to the USSR in 1991, my life was divided in two parts: before and after.

My parents immediately sent me to various sections but when the time came asked me to choose something — and I chose dancing and painting. Ever since then, both activities accompany my life.

While at university, I didn't make it to the top of designers but I always liked everything about stage. So, I found myself in the student's club and stayed for seven years. I always wanted to do something visionary. Our mechanical-technical faculty usually didn't stand a chance of winning at the university festival Student's Spring, so we told our first-years, 'We need to surprise them all!' Due to our faculty, new genres appeared, and as for me — ever since then I understand that my main goal is to surprise people.

I can definitely call myself a visual person, and Michel Gondry's films, especially Be Kind Rewind, influenced me a lot. There's another example. Once I saw a show of modern choreography on the Kultura TV channel and thought, 'God, how beautiful and awesome it is!' I understood, we would not be able to stage something of the sort, I had never even seen anything like that in Perm. I faced a choice between creative exercises and professional art and decided to move along professional path, that's how I engaged myself with the Museum of Modern Art.

In 2011, during White Nights festival in Perm, two crucial events occurred: I learnt what things you can make of cardboard and how, and I met Irina Novichkova and Nastya Serebrennikova from Cherdak project.

One of my favourite exhibitions is Tranzit Zone and our project for children Experiments on Dinosaurs. We gave kids an opportunity to create art objects on the walls as artists do; we showed them another scale of art, far from a small piece of paper. Probably, it is the thing I am most proud of.

There was also a project called Sea for Kids. We were offered to create our own space; we had to do everything from the scratch, without a proper budget, but as always enthusiasm won. We started renovating and at the same time we started working and all the money we received, we put into rent and finishing renovation. We didn't have a plan, just intuition to do what we liked. And it was mentioned and appreciated! The Village portal wrote about us, Moscow and Saint Petersburg sent offers to buy franchise. But we had already understood that the secret of any cool project was the team, you couldn't just copy it and transfer.

Museum has given me a sense of belonging to arts, and it is special indeed. When you are in arts, you feel like creating history, you work with concepts and values, which do not come to you easily.

On some traits of character. I am often hesitant. Shy of something, that's why I don't do some things. These doubts make me unhappy. They are sometimes so strong that I start questioning myself why I am doing it all. But there is always another side of the coin — a reason for happiness. I think I am lucky. I, indeed, do what I want, 100 %, and I feel my freedom. And freedom is the most important thing in life, I know that for sure. The opportunity to create and transform, change people's attitude to themselves, world, and art also makes me happy.

It is easy for me to generate ideas and fill them with sense. Due to the museum, I learnt not only to see the outer beautiful side but also dig deeper. I guess my goal and role as for today is to keep this in me. I dream that my work will let me meet people and travel even more. And, of course, bring everyone to Perm, create things here. I believe in small cities, in their creative potential.