Parts of a Whole: Visuality and Language in Aleksej Remizov’s “Peč′”

Linda Shipley, University of Texas, Austin

In Rossija v pis′menax Remizov presents his collection of antiquarian objects, sometimes allowing these objects to speak for themselves and at other times speaking for them as a means of exploring Russian culture and identity. This creative documentary is filled with interplay between visual image and written word. The enamel stove tiles with pictures and corresponding phrases and narrative in the section entitled “Peč′: izrazcovoe” provide an ideal opportunity for examining how Remizov uses visuality and language to depict Russian culture. Foucault’s discussion of the relationship between language and objects in The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences allows us to see how each individual tile represents the unity and conflicts between image and language. These elements also occur within the annotations, as Remizov makes use of scenes and phrases from the tiles to narrate the stove’s cultural context, namely the tiles’ role as an “azbuka ”and the “peč′”as a common place for different generations. In this paper, I will draw on Foucault’s ideas regarding language and objects in order to explore the cultural and literary implications of juxtaposing the written word and visual image in the “Peč′: izrazcovoe” segment.