The Stairs

The first exhibition of the group of eight artists, known as the ‘Stairs’ (Semyon Bely, Anatoly Gromov, Lyubov Dobashina, Vladimir Dolgopolov, Anatloly Zaslavsky, Nikolay Koshelkov, Lev Lants and Valery Mishin) was held in 1988 at the Okhta Exhibition Hall of the Arists’ Union. The basis of the eight artists’ association was neither political nor aesthetic; it was friendship based on mutual spiritual attraction. They all belonged to the same generation; and they had a similar non-conformist attitude to art and the desire to expose themselves within the walls of the Artists’ Union, in opposition to the dull regularity of official exhibitions, in which they could not participate, due to severe filtration of selection committees with police functions. It is these bans that were responsible for a long period of dramatic struggle prior to the 1988 exhibition.