October 27, 2023

Georgy Bonza, Оформленный снаружи и внутри / Decorated exterior and interior

this image and the next two from website Moi Mir

The image above shows an art environment in Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, a country located in Eastern Europe between Romania and Ukraine. Moldova was part of the USSR for many years, but became an independent republic in 1991.

Life and works

This now disappeared art environment, comprising a front garden and an interior full of decorative creations, was created by Georgy Bonza, about whom virtually no biographical information can be found on the internet. 

It is not clear in what year he was born or whether he got any specific education. However, it is known that he entered into a marriage, but that his wife left him, partly because he often spent whole nights making all kinds of creations.

It is also known that Georgy Bonza died in the late 1980s.

In the image above Bonza is seated on the steps to the door of his house, surrounded by columns decorated with streamers, and with a pair of large human sculptures on his right. He looks like a grown man, perhaps about fifty years old.

At the top right of the image one can see the number 47, a referral to the number of Bonza's house in a street that then was named.Irkutskaya Street.

The image below gives a better view of the part of the outer wall to the right of the entrance. The streamers continue and there are numerous small-scale decorations such as a fruit basket and all kinds of people's heads

Fencing and front garden

The fence that separates the front garden from the street is well worth a closer look. It was decorated by a long line of sculptures of boys and girls holding hands. This is a design that, to my knowledge, is completely unique in the European field of art environments.

The first photo of this post and the one below show this specific aspect of this art environment.  

The image above also gives to some extent an impression of the creations that adorned the front garden. So at the right end of the fence there was a large figure blowing a musical instrument in the shape of a long pipe, a kind of bagpiper, but in a different cultural context.

The space between the fence and the house included many more characters, such as the busts of Russian political leaders Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev, and the astronaut Yuri Sagarin.

And then there were many more characters, such as the little boy wielding a fishing rod (?) below.

this image and the next two
from website Moi Mir

There was also a fountain with all kinds of figures, there were representations of various  animals, such as birds and a snake that was planning to explore the roof.

To complete the impression of this part of the site, two more images below, on the left the mailbox in the shape of a large frog and on the right a rabbit, carrying a heavy load.

The interior of the house

The interior of the house, like the front garden, was richly provided with all kinds of decorations, such as masks, paintings and high reliefs on the walls and many sculptures, including one of Leonid Brezhnev, who led the Soviet Union after Khrushchev.

this image and the next one from website locals.md

Attention was also paid to local celebrities, as reflected in the image below of Chisinau-based famous wrestler Ivan Zaikin (1880-1948).

A special item in the interior was a coffin on a table in the middle of the room where rested a realistically depicted old lady with a headscarf, his passed away mother, as Bonza explained.

House with chimeras

Residents of Chisinau have referred to Bonza's art environment as a Дом с химерами (House of Chimeras). This is also the designation used in the Old Chisinau website (see documentation) that offers them a discussion platform.

Applied to the art environment, and by extension to Bonza as the creator, this equivocation could mean that there are at least two qualities associated with the creation, a beautiful side, such as a series of wonderful sculptures, and a somewhat scary side, as might be in particular reflected in the exhibited coffin.

* Article (September 2017) on website Moi Mir
* Discussion on the Old Chisinau website
* Article on the local website Locals.md

Gregory Bonza
Decorated exterior and interior
Irkutskaya street, 47 (nowadays V. Kupcha street)
Chisinau, Moldova
this art environment doesn't exist anymore

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