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Moscow artists Ivan Kolesnikov and Sergei Denisov have thought up a creative way to honor famous people. Now everyone from Lenin and Stalin to Marilyn Monroe and Bill Gates all have been tagged with letters from the Russian alphabet and images cast in postal stamps.

Their joint Artistamp project entitled Azbuka Veka, or the alphabet of the century, is now showing at the S’ART Gallery.

All of the stamps have symbols along with the names. Football player Pele is illustrated with coffee beans that form the ball on the green background of a football field. Che Guevara’s stamp is revolutionary red. Mikhail Gorbachev comes across as Gorby with camels filing to and fro, as a hump is translated as "gorb" into Russian. A strawberry yogurt stands for none other than the Beatles. The Lumiers Brothers are referred to by means of a railway track. However, Marilyn Monroe offers a more puzzling encoding of a cigarette butt with traces of lipstick. Its brand name "Prima" clearly refers to the star as prima donna.

Some of the interpretations are strange. Some are clear. And some are just left to the viewer to figure out.

The exhibition runs until March 10.


Azbuka Veka: stamps by Ivan Kolesnikov and Sergei Denisov, to March 10.
Address: 14 Zemlyanoy Val Ulitsa, access from Maly Kazyonny Pereulok
Metro: Kurskaya
Open: noon - 8 p.m.
Tel: 916-0366
Admission: free