Akhe Theatre of Engineering

site specific
1999 Open Day
Plasy Monastery

Approximately a week's stay of Akhe from St. Petersburg proceeded the personal meeting during their performance at the 2nd International Theater Festival 4 Days in Motion in 1997, (then under the name Axe). Semchenko and Isajev arrived by train from Prague with two small old fashion suitcases at the Plasy station and after a short tour around the premises they decided to practice in the former lusthaus in the garden of the prelature. All objects used in the performance were found on spot. After a few days, a crowd of enthusiastic viewers watched a strange story in which one of the protagonists was almost injured when a rope on a ladder broke.
Miloš Vojtěchovský, 2019

Founded in 1989 by three members of the experimental Yes/No Theatre Group of Boris Ponizovsky, the company began by exploring their own diverse range of interests, from street happenings to concerts and exhibitions, and making short black and white 8mm films. Since 1996, however, with two members of the original group – Maxim Isaev and Pavel Semtchenko – still at the heart of the company, Akhe has devoted itself more to theatre-based projects. Isaev and Semtchenko are painters fashion all of the objects that appear within the shows themselves, with both sound and light also produced by the company.

Pavel Olegovich Semchenko (born 1967) changed many locations in his childhood. His school years were spent in Leningrad, Kirishi, Prague, Baku, in the village Kadui, Cherepovets District, Vologda region. Pavel studied in Leningrad Intermediate Art School, finished the courses of The Mukhina Leningrad Higher Arts and Crafts College, The Serov Art School and The Russian Academy of Art. Also Pavel got a speciality of the mason and the decorator in a “well-known” Art Restoration Professional School №61 in Leningrad.

Pavel always was fond of reading of the Soviet magazines such as “The Science and Technics”, “The Young Technician”, “Technics of Youth”, “Model-designer”, “Technics Horizons”, visited lessons of plane modeling and karting in the of pioneers palaces and admired Perelman`s books. The innate impressionability and natural ability to keep in mind big figures would push the young man to all sort of adventures. In 1988 Pavel got to know Boris J.Ponizovsky, the brightest mystificator and the theatre theorist in the 70th – 80th. A couple of years Pavel O. Semchenko was an actor of the theater “YES-NO”, but nevertheles continued his painting practice. Than together with V.Vasiliev and Maxim Isaev he created a theatre group “AKHE” on the territory of the art squat “Pushkinskaya 10”.  Pavel is still a member of the ART CENTRE.

From this point all creative realizations has been connected with AKHE theatre. The spectrum of these realizations is wide: installations, sculptures, mural paintings on walls in public institutions, films, performances, exhibitions, illustrations and even dance. The activity of AKHE since 1996 has shifted towards theatre and Pavel O.Semchenko as a part of the group has visited practically all large festivals of the country in Russia and Europe, both in America and Asia.

Maksim Isaev, was born in 1965 in St.Petersburg. After finishing the education in Serov’s Art College was working as stage designer in theatre “Fairytail” in St.Petersburg. In the same time he started to work as decorator and artist in theatre “Yes – No”, directed by Boris Ponizovski. Maksim Isaev along with a few other actors from “Yes – No” has formed the performance group AKHE in 1989 and since that time as a member of the group he is repeated participant of theatre festival, art exhibitions, artprojects. From 1996 together with Pavel Semtchenko he started to work as a director and creator for AKHE and moved the group more to the theatre world. He paints the pictures, interested of connections between theatre, literature and real life as well as about transformations “signs” in different art’s levels.