Exhibitions

Alexander Zadorin

Exaggerations

16 April – 2 June, 2019

Alexander Zadorin (1941 — 2006) is known in the history of St. Petersburg art for his talent and brilliant versatility. The retrospective exhibition at the Museum of St. Petersburg 20th and 21st Century Art, for the first time, represents his legacy, thus rescuing the master’s name from oblivion.

The very title of the exhibition reflects the most important traits of Zadorin’s artistic temperament, his powerful vitality, creative energy and the love of freedom. One can see it clearly in his productions in different techniques and materials. Everywhere, in sculpture and works of decorative and applied art, painting and drawing, he was able to achieve perfection and retain his unmistakable identity.

Most glaringly, Zadorin’s talent manifests itself in ceramics, demonstrating great vivacity of ideas and expression typical of the artist, most daringly transforming vases and vessels into portraits, still lifes and even landscapes and combining individual details into genre sculptures and installations. It is Zadorin’s sculptural compositions that demonstrate, most vividly, his inclination towards theatricality.

As clearly, Zadorin’s striving for creative freedom manifests itself in painting and graphic art, with similar transformations and combinations of motifs, in which love occupies a special place. According to Zadorin, it is omnipresent; in his interpretation, it is fraught with humor. Love contributes to the artist’s better and more profound understanding of the world. To him, characters of classical mythology and the Bible are as familiar as his contemporaries sitting in a bar, playing jazz or bicycling.. Really surprising is Zadorin’s ability to see, in history and the present day, situations demonstrating similarity of human attitudes. This quality places him on a par with greatest masters of past epochs. Zadoring belongs to that rare kind of universally gifted artists who, at all times, have shared with the spectators the joy of unlimited freedom art gives us.

The present exhibition has ca. 150 works, including paintings, drawings, ceramics and installations.

Zadorin’s works are in the Tretyakov Gallery, State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, All-Russia Muzeum of Decorative and Applied Arts, ‘Tsaritsino’ State Museum-Reserve, State Pottery Museum, Kuskovo Manor-Museum of the Eighteenth-Century, Art Museum of Omsk Province, etc

Yury Gusev

π r2

12 April — 12 May, 2019

Yury Gusev  (1939-2018), St. Petersburg artist and art teacher, has a special talent for penetrating into the profundity of the world harmony and his own artistic idiom to express the knowledge he obtains in this way. The exhibition of his works created in the past fifteen years suggests that the artist’s reality is not confined within any visible space.

In the name of the exhibition is the formula of the area of a circle, but according to Gusev, in addition to its mathematical meaning, it has some deeper philosophical connotations, describing the artist’s conception: “…the meaning of being is incomprehensible; it is like an evading sound. Let every work of art have an unknown sound-symbol the artist hears in the universe, which we (people) will try to understand and enjoy (as much as it is possible).”

In Gusev’s work, “sounds-symbols” appear in his self-portraits and genre compositions such as the Drawing Class, Workshop, Exhibition and Cows and a Bicyclist. Some bizarre scenes, e.g. bears riding bicycles have metaphorical significance creating psychological tension. A trivial cycling scene (Fall) makes one think about tragic moments in life. A buffoonery, unsophisticated at first glance, in the Unicorn and His Cow, turns out to be an interpretation of complicated human relationships that mirror, as it were, those of human beings. .

A most important aspect of Gusev’s work is color, crimson, umber-gold and ultramarine contrasting with the white of the figures and canvas.

Yuri Gusev’s works are, in fact, his feelings and emotions transformed into an epistle to those capable of hearing the sounds of the universe.

The exhibition includes about forty paintings.

Yury Gusev’s works are in the collections of the Museum of St. Petersburg 20th and 21st Century Art, State Museum of City Sculpture and Erarta Gallery (St. Petersburg), as well as in private collections both in and outside Russia.

Levon Ayrapetyants

Black and Red

Posters. Draings

12 April — 12 May, 2019
Levon Ayrapetyants, draftsman and poster artist, book illustrator, master of graphic design and teacher, is a significant personality in the art of the Soviet period, practically forgotten nowadays. It is for this reason alone that the present exhibition may be regarded as an important event in the art life of St. Petersburg.

The exhibition includes works of the 1960s – 80s, a period of metaphor- and Aesopian language communication, drawings and posters; the latter are the most faithful reflection of the social and political tendencies of the time under review.

Ayrapetyants’ posters devoted to five-year plans, Communist Party congresses, protection of African children, etc. have a magical effect on the spectator, due to laconic acuteness of execution, dynamic composition and red-and-white contrast. The texts are daringly made a compositional aspect, with fonts arresting the spectators’ attention with their unsophisticated expressiveness. Ayrapetyants’ addressees are indviduals, rather than masses; each view is to perceive the sprit of the time, together with the artist.

As expressive are Ayrapetyants’ playbills for the Comedy Theatre headed by Nikolay Akimov, where he worked for many years. The playbills are characterized by its special aesthetics, each time concordant with the play it is devoted to.

In his graphic works, one sees the lyric aspects of Ayrapetyants’ art; here the artist is able to find absolutely new meaning in most ordinary motifs. Developing the genre of the so-called ‘quiet art’, popular in the 1970s, he created a number of chamber scenes, with the participants reposing or reading, as well as a number of nudes, portraits and land- and cityscapes imbued with similar lyricism. The language of the drawing, based on terse lines, thin and exquisite, is used to create, on white sheets of paper, silhouettes and contours conveying the sense and emotion typical of the time, common to both the artist and his spectators.

The exhibition includes about fifty playbills and graphic works from the Museum of St. Petersburg 20th- and 21st Century art and some private collections.