Dream and Reality

17 January — 25 February 2018

The Museum of St. Petersburg 20th and 21st Century Art opens the Jubilee Exhibition of Vitaly Tyulenev (1937 – 97) of St. Petersburg.

Tylenev’s oeuvre is a most brilliant contribution to Russian art of the second half of the 20th century. His career began during Khruschev’s ‘Thaw’ when artists were given a certain degree of freedom of expression. At that time, Tylenev’s works appeared, which were characterized by his own metaphorical and hyperbolic artistic vision. The exhibition shows works belonging to different periods of Tyulenev’s career, all of these reflecting the then reality, complicated and contradictory, seen through the painter’s eyes. Such themes as Russia, Mother, Childhood, Nature and Revolution were always among Tyulenev’s favorite ones; paintings based on these themes appeal to the spectator’s imagination.

Tylenev was inclined to playing games with he spectator by turning all things upside down, ‘top and borttom’, ‘heaven and earth’ and ‘reality and fiction’. In his paintings, fishes fly in the blue sky, cocks dance on red cows, girls play on milky clouds, and the leader of the Bolshevik revolution speaks with the Angel of Desert. Here, mythological subjects appear beside Perestroika topics, disintegration of the USSR, the crush of the Socialist ideals or flouting the values, to which the artist had been and remained loyal, by the new ‘masters of life’. All this the artist perceived as his personal tragedy.

In his lifetime, Tyulenev new both persecution and recognition. As a young man, he expelled from the Academy of Arts for formalism, but later he took part in very many exhibitions, belonged to the “Eleven” group of the young Leningrad artists, etc., etc. He new everything but oblivion. So, the aim of this exhibition is, by showing Tyulenev’s works, to remind the public about the jubilee of one of the most unusual artists of the 20th century.

The Epoch’s Breath

17 January — 25 February 2018

The Epoch’s Breath exhibition organized by Museum of St. Petersburg 20th and 21st Century Art is devoted the artist Anatoly Proshkin (1907–1986), Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s disciple and friend, and father of the renowned film director, Alexander Proshkin.

Anatoly Proshkin’s formation, both professional and as a personality, was taking place in the ‘roaring 1920s’, the period of greatest upheavals, from which Proshkin never stood aloof. In his ‘thematic’ canvases, he depicted both the ‘industrial giants’ of the 1930s and the Great Patriotic War (1941 – 45), which he also saw through the eyes of an active participant: in a guerilla unit, between actions, he was depicting his comrades-at-arms, strong and courageous men. These works, some of them shown at the present exhibition, have not only artistic but also historical significance.

Besides genre paintings, Proshkin’s oeuvre includes a considerable number of landscapes created in small provincial towns, e.g. Khvylynsk, Petrov-Vodkin’s home-town, as well as cityscapes showing squares and embankments of Leningrad, a lyrical depiction of Nature and Architecture.

Anatoly Proshkin belongs to the Leningrad school of painting. Like many of his contemporaries, he was under the influence of the French Impressionists, in particular, Marqué, but later he discovered an artistic idiom of his own, with generalized forms, the color gamut which is elegant but restrained, and very poetic.

The exhibition includes Proshkin’s works of the 1920s – 80s, from the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg and private collections. No exhibitions were held during the artist’s lifetime, the present one being the first posthumous exhibition of Anatoly Proshkin.

The New Library

Installation, objet d’art, video-art, painting, drawing

18 January — 25 February 2018

At the New Library exhibition in the Museum of St. Petersburg 20th and 21st Century Art. the book is to get through countless transformations; leaving the boundaries set by the text and into the space of the exhibition, it will become imbued with light, sound and even motion. These metamorphoses will disclose the meaning of the book, hitherto unknown.

Over 40 artists from Russia and Western Europe are taking part in the exhibition, among them, Naftali Rakuzin (Paris), Alexander Reichstein (Helsinki), Sergey Yakunin and Pyotr Perevezentsev (Moscow), Mikhail Karasik and Vitaly Pushnitsky (St. Petersburg) and many others. They exhibit kinetic objects, audio-visual and space installations, video-art, paintings. drawings, unusual book editions and designs.

Here, traditional printing methods combine with new art forms, Gothic volumes transformed into animated books, a classical codex into a roofing-felt objet d’art, a medieval parchment into a fifteen-meter “Dream” collage and travelogues and poems appearing as melodic installations.

The exhibition is a door to a parallel world inhabited by literary characters and themes, such as Catherine the Great‘s unfinished play presented as a mise en scene or the ‘axe’ of Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov and Velemir Khlebnokov’s materialized ‘clock’ chiming.

The exhibition demonstrates today’s approaches, both various and varied, to the book as an art theme and art object.

The exhibition includes a vast educational program organized jointly by the Museum and the Mikhail Lermontov Library, on their premises.

The Museum’s sincere thanks are to the MAKON-Restoration Ltd. for their support the organization of the exhibition.