Rea Nikonova (1942-2014)


Rea Nikonova (1942-2014)

This month the news of the death of Rea Nikonova was posted on facebook by Dmitry Babenko. She died on March 10th 2014. This group is made to share our thoughts and also to remember her for who she is and lives on in out thoughts. May she rest in Peace.

Please publish your thoughts and if you have artworks you can share to remember her, please do.

Location: Russia / Germany
Members: 11
Latest Activity: Dec 20, 2021

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Comment by Ruud Janssen on March 13, 2014 at 7:25am

Comment by Ruud Janssen on March 13, 2014 at 7:24am


Pictographic writing, which has been used for conveying utilitarian messages for millennia is typically considered unsuitable for rendering poetic metaphoric and abstract images. Hence a strong belief that poetry cannot be produced using pictographic signs. This assumption was challenged by the Russian Constructivists, Aleksej Čičerin and Ėl' Lisickij in the 1920s. Recently, pictographic poetry has been successfully developed by the leading Russian visual poets, Rea Nikonova and Sergej Sigej, whose literary and artistic works demonstrate a notable congruence with the early Russian avant-garde experiments. This study analyzes selected pictographic poems written by Nikonova and Sigej from the 1970s until the present. Originally appearing in manuscript form, limited editions, and small circulation journals, most of these poems are unknown to scholars and the general public.

The paper explores the strategies and techniques developed by Nikonova and Sigej for rendering notions, ideas and concepts by pictographic signs. It is demonstrated that Nikonova's and Sigej's pictographic poems vary considerably in the degree of their abstraction and potential for multiple interpretations, a feature totally absent from the first utilitarian pictographic texts. Therefore, the semantics of their works is dependent on the reader's interpretation of graphic and contextual clues. As Sigej's and Nikonova's works demonstrate, understanding contemporary pictographic poetry requires the reader's readiness to be engaged in the hermeneutic game, to manipulate various contexts in order to construct meaning, thus transforming the reader into a co-author.


  • Avant-Garde;
  • Nikonova;
  • Sigej;
  • Pictographic Poems
Comment by Gik Juri on March 13, 2014 at 7:11am

Rea and Serge Seagay organized first mail art exhibition in Russia (USSR) in 1989 in Eysk. She was "mother" of mail art in Russia. I have met her once in 1997 in Moscow, but I did not have mail art contact with her or Serge Seagay though I invited them to my early projects.

Comment by Ruud Janssen on March 13, 2014 at 6:37am

Yes, Rea deserves a special place in our heart and thoughts. I remember the 80-ies where I had the correcspondence with Rea and Serge in the country Russia (USSR then) and to see and feel how life was there. I will go through the archive to find back details of my memories again. Will publish it here too.

Comment by Ed Varney on March 13, 2014 at 12:18am

Recently i made a list of Mail Artists who have passed away and it' a pretty long list. I am 71, born in the same year as Rea Nikonova and I have been making and sending Mail Art since 1970 - that's 44 years - so it's not that strange that many of my contemporaries have died. The theory used to be that after 30 years, an art trend became recognized as a "movement". I don't know if this is true. But Rea deserves an important place in our history. She was one of the first Russian artists to be involved back when it was much more difficult to be an alternative artist in Russia then it is today. As they say, she will be missed.

Comment by Bruno Chiarlone on March 12, 2014 at 8:54pm

Comment by Ruud Janssen on March 12, 2014 at 7:38pm

Rea died just a few days ago on March 10th 2014. The news comes from Serge's son and several artists in Russia.

Comment by Bruno Chiarlone on March 12, 2014 at 7:22pm

Rea Nikonova is now living?

Comment by Ruud Janssen on March 12, 2014 at 7:12pm

Comment by Ruud Janssen on March 12, 2014 at 7:08pm

more details on Rea Nikonova on this Russian website:




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