Via London to Venice

“In order to present Russian art here, a view from London is necessary”, the owner of the London gallery “Calvert22”, where an exhibition of young Russian artists opened on March 23rd, says.

The owner of the “Calvert22” gallery and the former St. Petersburg citizen Nonna Materkova believes that a “fresh view from the outside is needed to destroy the existing negativism.”     

“There’s no doubt that there’re many stereotypes towards Russia today, and besides, there’s an opinion that no boost is given to modern culture there,” the owner of the “Calvert22” gallery Nina Materkova says. Of course, the Hermitage Museum, the Bolshoi Theatre and the Mariinsky Theatre are well known as Russia’s brands, and that’s all, as it seems. Much time and task-oriented work are needed to make modern Russian art easier for understanding abroad. Therefore, we attract serious specialists to our exhibition activity. They go to Russia and meet with artists there.”  

“This is how 8 Russian authors from 22 to 36 years of age were invited to London” , the exhibition curator Iossif  Bakshtein  told a Voice of Russia correspondent.

“All these are artists who have become well known in Moscow and who seem to be the most promising of all others. Some of them are taking part in the “Start” programme, which is organized by the Moscow Centre For Contemporary Art “Vinzavod”. The majority of them studied at the Moscow Institute of the Problems of Modern Art. My British colleague David Thorp and Nonna Materkova visited the exhibition of the graduates of the Moscow institute last December. Their works put focus on the doubts all artists have. All of them want to answer the question they are faced with, that is, whether what they do meet the spirit of their time. Many participants of last year’s exhibition have been invited to take part in the London project, which is titled “The Practice of Everyday Life”, Iossif Bakshtein says, adding that it is of great importance for the artists to understand the reality surrounding them. They are sure that artistic comprehension of reality alone is insufficient. Young authors are trying to analyze and make comparisons – that is why their works present interest for everybody, and their painting plots fit in well into the context of the global culture of today. The pictures of the young Russian artists are easy to understand because they address problems the people in Russia encounter very often, and everybody understands that the visual language the artists use is international too. The combination of local and global elements is their distinctive feature.”

The exhibition “The Practice of Everyday Life” includes sculptures of Sergei Ogurtsov which he created with the use of book pages, the performance videos of Taus Makhacheva, and the installations of Arsenii Zhilyayev, who shows us the nostalgic interiors of the Soviet-era times. There’s also a gigantic wool sock there, which was knitted by Olga Bozhko.

The organizers of the London exhibition say that this is actually a dialogue between a certain layer of the Russian art and world tendencies. By the way, this dialogue will continue this summer because one of the participants of this exhibition, Anna Titova, will represent Russia in the main international project of the 54th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale.

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