ARTISTS OF THE 1980s. THE NEW EPOCH OF RUSSIAN FIGURATIVE ART. "Inhabited Islands" — International Premier of ten artists — 13-14 November, London.
ARTISTS OF THE 1980s.
THE NEW EPOCH OF RUSSIAN FIGURATIVE ART.
"Inhabited Islands" — International Premier of ten artists — 13-14 November, London.
and COLOUR' Gallery and Anna NAMIT are pleased to announce an
exhibition of the new epoch of Russian contemporary figurative art at
their Mayfair address on 13th and 14th of November 2007. The project
entitled "Inhabited Islands" will represent to an audience of
international and local London collectors and art connoisseurs the work
of ten renowned Russian artists of the 1980s.
exposition of ten Russian artists of the 1980s, titled by the
conceptual name "X", will be presented abroad for the first time ever
in London from the 12th to 18th November at the Irina Emtseva 'Peace
& Colour' Gallery. On November 14th press are invited to attend a 5
o'clock tea with the participation of the artists Ivan Lubennikov and
Lev Tabenkin, the author of the project Anna Namit, the curator of
"Inhabited Islands" at the State Tretyakov gallery Ludmila Marz at
Brown's Hotel, Mayfair at 5PM. This will be followed by the official
opening of the Gallery at 6PM.
The exhibiting artists began
their work at the end of 1970s - beginning of 1980s and were destined
at the time to become the next generation of vosmedisiatniki (1980s).
However the "Perestroika" that followed and the ensuing unexpected
collapse of the Soviet Union, and the downfall of the Union of USSR
Artists had a radical effect on the life of Russian art. The
disintegration of established standards and practices, a new permissive
perception of freedom that suddenly caused the impossible to seem
possible and the rejection of traditional values suddenly gave rise to
a whole host of artistic and quasi-artistic initiatives.
no mean feat for anyone be they artists, art critics or art historians
to understand what was happening to Russian art during the course of
the last 20 years. It will take time to fully and impartially evaluate
what exactly happened. However, it is quite clear even now that the art
of the late 20th/early 21th century reflects the complex and
controversial culture of the era in which it was born. Postmodernism in
its various guises is the tip of an iceberg under which is concealed a
profound talent pool of native culture and tradition in art.
artists whose work is included in the exhibition "Inhabited Islands"
are not unfamiliar to professionals and art lovers in Russia and
abroad. However, it is for the first time that these artists who do not
fall into the category of vosmedisiatniki (80s) have sought to
collaborate together in such a significant way as this.
exhibition presents the works of ten artists: painters Natalia Glebova,
Nikolai Vatagin, Ekaterina Kornilova, Dmitry Krymov, Ivan Lubennikov,
Lev Tabenkin and sculptors Mikhail Dronov, Valery Epikhin, Viktor
Korneev, Elena Surovtseva. All are original and contemporary masters
who have won international recognition. Their outstanding contributions
are stylistically quite unlike one other, although they share at least
their age in common, being born in the 1950s. Many key figures in
Russian art, music and politics are the contemporary to vosmedisiatniki
today - the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, is one
of them. By understanding the heritage of the 1980's one can aspire to
comprehending the roots and potential of Russian art and reality.
course, the ten masters figured here, outstanding as they are, are not
the only representatives of the art of modern Russia. However, it is
not by chance that these ten artists have come together with a common
purpose. Although they make it a point not to be referred "a group",
they are like-minded people who treat each other with deference and are
united by a common passion - plastic school and professional
"Each of us is an island which is imbued with a
living consciousness, a living soul, a living experience, - says Ivan
Lubennikov. - In the course of time we change: One thing, however,
remains constant - the desire to hide in a refuge of one's own
creativity, to remain there alone whilst acknowledging that we belong
to the great, eternal world." Ten "islands" is a kind of "archipelago"
which opposes humanity with the complete outrage of nihilism.
RUSSIAN ART. The Best of "Inhabited Islands" the album will be
presented during the opening of the "X" exhibition in London.
project is supported by Aeroflot - Russian Airlines, Brown's Hotel,
Mayfair, The Cognac House Hennessy, Rocco Forte Collection and
Tridvornova Flower Design. For more details about "Inhabited Islands"
please visit www.namit.ru, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +7 (495) 136-0390
, +44 788 176 2862
Notes for the Editors
, The author of the "Inhabited Islands" project:
exhibition is necessary in order to restore historical justice. Russian
cultural history of the second half of the 20th century saw the ?thaw?
in the art of the 60s and the 70s. The terms ?shestidesiatniki?
(artists of the sixties) and ?semidesiatniki' (artists of the
seventies) imply concrete content as well as concrete names. The
generation of 1980s went right after them. However, they happened to
begin their creative activity in the fatal 80s - that witnessed
Gorbachev, Perestroika, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the
downfall of the Union of Soviet Artists: A period of wild instability
suddenly set in when anything was ?permitted?. Many artists became
disoriented - their reference points and individual tradition were
dramatically lost. By the end of the century became a paradox apparent:
those artists that had proclaimed themselves ?non-conformists?, adepts
of ?other art?, became generally accepted, whereas those who pursued,
like us, the policy of 'plastic art' proved to be ?non-conformist?.
There were many people then who couldn't help feeling that art had come
to a standstill. The death of painting was proclaimed once again. The
art of the end of the 20th, beginning of the 21st portrays a
kaleidoscope of culture. ?Conceptualism?, ?Actual Art? and other
varieties of postmodernism that claim to be ?contemporary are but the
tip of the iceberg. The purpose of the project ?Inhabited Islands? was
to acquaint Russian art-lovers with contemporary and outstanding
Russian painters and sculptors who keep true to the tradition of easel
painting. The art of these ten well-known and highly respected (both in
professional circles and among collectors and art lovers) contemporary
Russian masters who became internationally recognised at the end of the
20th century, is, by no means, an exhaustive description of the of
Russian artists of the 80s; however, it is representative enough. It
provides a sum, the total from which art historians alike will draw
their own conclusions.
Why ?Inhabited Islands?? This will become
clear in the context of the exhibition and on reading the Album "1980s.
RUSSIAN ART. The Best of the "Inhabited Islands".Yuri Luzhkov
, Mayor of Moscow, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Society of Friends of the State Tretyakov Gallery:
opening of this exhibition dedicated to contemporary Russian artists
retains and continues the traditions of the great Pavel Mikhailovitch
Tretyakov, the honorary citizen of Moscow, who collected the Russian
art. It is in my opinion, a truly memorable event. My very best wishes
to the artists, managers and visitors of the exhibition!Lord Poltimore
, Chairman, SOTHEBY'S Russia:
more than three decades, Russian contemporary art was a well kept
secret from those of us who lived in the West. Sotheby's has always
been interested in this market and was the first to hold an historic
sale of contemporary art in Moscow in 1988. As times have changed and
barriers have come down, we in the West have been lucky enough to see
this talent emerge on the international market. In fact it was only
very recently in February 2007 that Sotheby's in London had its first
sale entirely devoted to Russian contemporary art which established 22
world record prices. "Inhabited Islands" looks at some of this immense
talent, which carries on the great traditions of Russian art and yet
absorbs the best of modern artistic trends. From whatever culture or
walk of life we are from can all appreciate and enjoy this exhibition.Valentin Rodionov
, General Director of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Academician of Russian Academy of Arts:
Islands: Painting, Sculpture of the end of the 20th - beginning of the
21st Centuries"exhibition that was commissioned to mark the 150th
anniversary of the State Tretyakov Gallery is, in my opinion, a truly
remarkable event. Its participants represent the generation of the turn
of the century, preserving the professional methods and giving voice to
the artistic strivings and achievements of the past century.
Progressing their talents in the turbulent 1980-1990s these artists
have developed into first-rate masters in their own right. The
participants of the exhibition are all outstanding individuals who are
quite unlike each other stylistically. They work keenly, strikingly and
realistically within the framework of easel painting and sculpture.Yuri Fedotov
, Ambassador of Russia to the Court of St. James's, Embassy of the Russian Federation in UK:
publication of the new album "1980s. RUSSIAN ART. The Best of The
"Inhabited Islands" offers a wide audience the opportunity to discover
the works of the talented masters who have always enriched our mother
Russia. I would like to mention in particular the fact that now is the
time for the works of artists who have received wide acclaim in Russia
to become accessible to all lovers of Russian art in the UK. I hope
that this project will receive the success it deserves and will open to
us all the real art of modern Russia.Valery Okulov
, General Director OJSC "AEROFLOT - Russian Airlines":
Islands" is not only the art project's title. It is, in my opinion, a
poetic pattern of our great country with its immense space, variety of
landscapes, nationalities, cultural traditions, and, what is more
important - its one and united soul. Our company sees its major mission
in reducing the distances, facilitating the elimination of
communicational barriers between people and cultures, connecting the
"inhabited islands". "Aeroflot" in a literal sense bears rich Russian
art on its wings. It transports the invaluable masterpieces by air
carefully and punctually, supporting the organisation of different art
exhibitions in different corners of the world. Moreover, Aeroflot has
also initiated a new tradition in our civic aviation: all new Aeroflot
airplanes carry names of great Russians, including artists, writers,
poets, and composers of the past. The "Inhabited Islands" help to
present the great masters to the world who lived and performed during a
critical time in Russia, and who stayed faithful to the ideals of
humanism and to love of a human being that make the Russian culture
closer to mankind at all times.Morris Richard Hennessy
, The Cognac House heir-at-law, Honorary President of Hennessy Socio-Cultural Fund:
May 20, 2004, the Cognac House "Hennessy" officially announced the
start-up of the Hennessy Socio-Cultural Fund in Russia. Music, Art,
Photography, Cinema and other cultural spheres form the field of the
Fund's interest. Ties of friendship unite the Cognac House "Hennessy"
and Russia. These are being standing. This tradition is coetaneous with
the first deliveries of our cognac to the Tsar's court in 1818. We were
honored to host many talented people from Russia at our Bagnolet
castle, Cognac. The Hennessy Socio-Cultural Fund enables such cultural
exchanges, and the idea of supporting art I find particularly exciting.
I am in love with Russia and constantly look forward to expanding our
partnership within the framework of Fund's activities. By taking part
in the organisation of exhibitions, The Hennessy Fund continues its
noble tradition of supporting the initiatives of Art Institutes that
represent the culture of Russia.Vladimir Logvinenko
, Art Collector:
is pleasant to see that at this exhibition are presented only high
quality, museum level works of art. Pieces of these painters and
sculptors are worthily presented in the leading Russian and foreign
museums as their creators are mature artists at the best of their
ability. "People of 1980s" today is the most active generation. Their
works of the end of XX - beginning of XXI century continue the best
traditions of Russian realistic art and are still relevant in modern
Russia today. The aim of Russian collectors, and foremost of Pavel
Mikhailovich Tretyakov, was the support of artists and a collection of
their art that bear evidence of those times. To continue this tradition
today is our noble mission.
Historical context of 1980s
exhibiting artists began their work at the end of 1970s - beginning of
1980s and were destined at the time to become the next generation of
vosmedisiatniki (80s). However the "Perestroika" that followed and the
ensuing unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union, and the downfall of
the Union of USSR Artists had a radical effect on the life of Russian
art. The disintegration of established standards and practices, a new
permissive perception of freedom that suddenly caused the impossible to
seem possible and the rejection of traditional values suddenly gave
rise to a whole host of artistic and quasi-artistic initiatives.
Underground art came emerged as the official art - and that was the end
of it. The accusatory pathos of Soc-Art ran out (strangely enough, it
is still alive - apparently to preserve the image of its authors); the
Western Pop Art that seemed to be exhausted in the 80s quite
unexpectedly reemerged at an exhibition in Moscow in 2005 as a new
Russian modernistic trend. Postmodernism has flourished with its
numerous conceptual branches. The intolerance and pretentiousness of
the latest "actual" trends that have appropriated the exclusive right
to be called "contemporary art," their intention to monopolise their
concepts led to the paradox: those who called themselves
"nonconformists", adepts of the "other art" turned out to become
official artists. Later, came about the general notion that plastic art
was over and done with.
The potential of the artists must be
very high, otherwise they would have become "the lost generation" in
those disturbed decades; they would have yielded to the "spirit of
time"; they would have failed to stand up for the continuation of the
traditions of national culture. Who were they in the 1980s? These
artists went down in art "on the back" of thу "shestidesiatniki" (60s)
and "semidesiatniki" (70s). In addition to that, nearly half of the
participants of our exhibition are children of "shestidesiatniki"
(60s), and their parents were their first teachers. What singled them
out was the fundamental professional school, thorough knowledge of
world culture, as well as the contemporary cultural life of Europe and
America, early craftsmanship, artistry, richness of their metaphoric
images and piercing apprehension of the coming of the end of the
century. While there was confusion raging behind the studios' walls,
these artists worked hard, participated in exhibitions and in various
artistic symposiums, and exhibited their works abroad. Most importantly,
never dreamed to leave Russia. For, as history of the 19th and 20th
centuries proved, voluntary emigration inevitably cause an artist to
lose touch with the cultural life of his country. Today the
participants of this exhibition are an outstanding, universally
recognised generation of leading contemporary Russian artists aged 50.
Hopefully, the exhibition "Inhabited Islands" will reflect the
self-determination of the whole cultural layer inherent to the end of
'Vosmedisiatniki' (80s) in 2000s.
"X" is a collection of the best masterpieces exhibited at the
"Inhabited Islands" project that was organised for the 150th
anniversary of the State Tretyakov Gallery and shown in Moscow in
February 2006 with remarkable success. Like the exhibition
'Shestidesiatniki' (60s) in the 90s" held in the Tretyakov Gallery in
1993, the exhibition "Inhabited Islands" could rightly be called
"'Vosmedisiatniki' (80s) in the 2000s." The only difference is that
behind the terms of "shestidesiatniki" (60s) and later "semidesiatniki"
(70s) there are concrete names and concrete content, whereas calling
the artistic generation of the 1980s "vosmedisiatniki" (80s) is clearly
to stretch a point. Therefore, the exhibition "Inhabited Islands" sums
up 20 years' of their work.
Artists of the 1980s (Vosmedisiatniki).Natalia Glebova
Artists and sculptors of the exhibition "X" of the project "Inhabited Islands"
Born in Moscow in 1951. Graduated from the Surikov Moscow State Arts
Institute (workshop of K.A. Tutevol) in 1980. Her works are represented
in the State Tretyakov Gallery and other Russian museums and in some
private collections in Russia, Germany, Italy, USA, Finland and France,
The paintings of Natalia Glebova, just like the artist herself,
are of a quality: the identity of spirit and soul, which are filled
with attentive and grateful love towards everything that the artist
sees, hears and feels. "For me, everything is beautiful: what I am
myself, what is inside me and what surrounds me. I am filled with joy!
Truly, every creature praises the Lord!". Her landscapes are images of
the temple of nature, the world of family, the home, the garden,
streets of her native city, moods, and recollections.Mikhail Dronov
Born in Moscow in 1956. Graduated from the Surikov Moscow State Arts
Institute (department of sculpture, workshop of Prof. M.F. Baburin) in
1980. Member of the Russian Arts Academy. His works are represented in
the State Tretyakov Gallery in the Russian Museum, and in Russia and
private collections, etc.
While he was still a child, Mikhail Dronov
got his first serious notions about sculpting and sculpture from his
parents, who were sculptors, and their friends, who were active members
of the generation of artists of the sixties. The serious education that
Dronov received from the Surikov Arts School and his in-depth
familiarity with contemporary Western art led to the early development
of his artistic individuality, sculpting talent and plastic technique.Ekaterina Kornilova
Born in Moscow in 1957. Graduated from the Surikov Moscow State Arts
Institute (workshop of T. Salakhov) in 1985. Her works are represented
in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, and museums,
galleries and private collections in Russia, Belgium, Great Britain,
Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, USA and France, etc.
Ekaterina Kornilova is an easily identifiable artist with an individual
touch, she does not follow a single style. She was born in a literary
family: her father is a poet, and her mother is a writer. This may be
the reason why Kornilova draws painting as if she were telling a story
in different genres as well as depicting narratives ranging from large
panoramic scenes to easel paintings. She closely studies context,
landscape, and daily life and spends a lot of time creating her works,
as if she was writing a painterly novel with a sequel.Viktor Korneev
Born in 1958 in Tambov. Studied at K. Savitsky Art school, Penza (1979
- 1983). Graduated from Moscow Arts and Industry High Sсhool (formerly,
Stroganov School) in 1983 the workshops of A.N. Burganov and Y.P.
Pommer. Gold medal of the Russian Academy of Arts. His works are
represented in the State Tretyakov Gallery, in Russian and foreign art
museums and in private collections in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the
Netherlands, China, USA, France, Croatia, Sweden, etc.
Each time you
see sculptures by Viktor Korneev, you have the sensation of absolute
naturalness of their existence in space, of perfectly balanced volumes,
of inner harmony of meaning and form. His work evolves within the
framework of conventional plastics. Owing to his professionalism,
involvement in history of world culture, his knowledge of contemporary
European art as well as his firm personal attitudes and tastes, he has
become one of the most noteworthy and distinguished artists of his time.Nikolai Vatagin
Born in Moscow in 1959. Graduated from the Surikov Moscow State Arts
Institute in 1982. His works are represented in the State Tretyakov
Gallery, Russian and foreign museums, and private collections in Italy,
Nikolai Vatagin is a fourth generation artist. His
great grandmother A.L. Rzhevskaya, was an artist, his grandfather, V.A.
Vatagin, was a famous animalist, and his mother, Irina Vatagina, is one
of the most renowned contemporary icon painters. His artistic
development primarily took place in the family. He also calls Cezanne,
Rembrandt, Titian and Velazquez his teachers, although he always feels
Russian no matter where he goes and cannot imagine himself without
Russia. "I'm a conservative by conviction. I can perceive myself only
in the context of Russian and, more precisely, Moscow art."Dmitry Krymov
Born in Moscow in 1954. Graduated from the School Studio of the Moscow
Art Theatre in 1976. His works are represented in the State Tretyakov
Gallery, the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, the Russian Museum, and in
museums and in private collections in Russia, Belgium, Great Britain,
Germany, USA and France, etc.
The works of Dmitry Krymov can be best
described as actions or experiments that efface the traditional
boundaries of art forms. Interestingly enough, he began his career as a
theatre artist who worked with different stage directors (in
particular, with his father, the well-known Anatoly Efros). His works
have enchanting colours; they combine collage, assemblage, painting,
the counterpoint of texture
and luxurious glimmer of cloth. Krymov
takes a mosaic approach, making a single unity out of small details by
choreographing actions in the space of the painting and directing a
delicate play of light.
Ivan Lubennikov. Born in Minsk in 1951.
Graduated from the Surikov Moscow State Arts Institute in 1976. Honored
Artist of Russia. His works are represented in the State Tretyakov
Gallery, the Russian Museum, and in museums and in private collections
in Russia, France, the Netherlands, etc.
Without any doubt, Ivan
Lubennikov's art began to flourish in the eighties when he developed
out his own artistic language in the traditions of Moscow monumental
art. Although he became an artist when he was young, he
turned to the most global aspects of human existence. People are always
at the centre of his paintings. All of his works try to penetrate into
the spiritual world of a human being.
Elena Surovtseva. Born in
1952 in Kazakhstan. Graduated from Moscow Arts and Industry High School
(formerly, Stroganov School). Her works are represented in the State
Tretyakov Gallery, in the art museums of Russia, in private collections
in Russia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, etc.
Surovtseva is a very energetic, enthusiastic and emotional woman. Her
life is like a novel where sculpture is the main character. She is full
of new plastic ideas, plans and discoveries. The plasticity of a
woman's body provides ample opportunities. "I do what I know quite
well, what I feel and understand. Forms of a woman's body expressing
the inner state, the essence of the woman prevail with me". Surovtseva
is not so much interested in the beauty of the living as in its
destiny. The pregnant, mangy cat raises its head proudly like Egyptian
goddess Bastet. A dead swallow is stiffened in bronze. "If I weren't
to make them, Elena says, no one would ever see it."
Tabenkin. Born in Moscow in 1952; 1975 graduated from Moscow Printing
College. His works are represented in the State Tretyakov Gallery, the
State Russian Museum, and in many museums of Russia, Germany, as well
as in private collections both in Russia and abroad.
"As a rule, an
artist is reminiscent of an explorer of new islands, continents,
worlds, galaxies." This is how Lev Tabenkin defined his credo. Son of
Ilia Tabenkin, a wonderful painter, one of the most intricate artists
of the 1960s, he inherited from his father the individuality,
profundity and intensity of his inner life. Lev Tabenkin possesses a
gift of special vision, he can show what others either do not observe
or are unwilling to observe.