Using a chainsaw, he creates primitive-style objects from solid oak blocks. By treating wood with linseed oil - an ancient Russian traditional method that gives the wood a specific finish - he emphasizes the wood’s texture, and protects it. Milovanov crafts with his left hand, which makes it nearly impossible to replicate his designs.
Over the past decade, Milovanov has gained worldwide recognition. The artist collaborated in projects with architect Zaha Hadid (2012) and Boris Vervoordt (2015), and his work is presented at important design and art fairs. We were fortunate enough to talk to him about his fascination for old oak, his love for Russian culture, and beauty.
Where does your relationship with wood come from, especially with old oak?
It happened rather by accident. I was walking my dog and witnessed a felling of old oaks. I was amazed by the enormous size of the logs, just lying there, on the grass. It was an unprecedented sight. I spent almost the entire day among these logs, presenting monumental forms in them. I ended up buying them at a reasonable price and transported the logs to my country house. That’s where my relation with the wood truly started.
Where do you find the oak trees?
I gather them in mountainous regions of the North Caucasus and in hard-to-reach swampy areas of the Mari El Republic in Central Russia. Transporting logs from isolated places may not seem logical, because of the high costs it implies. Yet, as an artist, it allows me to give these trees an afterlife, after they have died a natural dead.