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Eduard Shteinberg, «Aipril», 1986. Paper, cardboard, gouache. Collage.
Eduard Shteinberg, «Composition», 2011. Cardboard, gouache, pencil
Eduard Shteinberg, «Landscape», 1966. Paper, markers
Eduard Shteinberg, «Fisa from Semenova», 1988. Cardboard, gouache.
Date: February 6 — March 19, 2017
Venue: MMOMA, 10/2 Gogolevsky Boulevard, Moscow

Curator: Natalia Smolyanskaya
Architect: Sergey Sitar

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art under the general support of the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund presents a solo exhibition of Eduard Steinberg «If there is water in the well...» timed to the 80th anniversary of the artist.

The solo show at MMOMA features the artist’s graphic works never exhibited before, these are drawings, watercolors, gouaches and collages mostly from the collection of the Steinberg family. The exposition covers almost all periods of the artist’s creative work from 1960 till the last work created by him in 2011 and acquaints the viewer with a new, «non-canonical» image of the master. The visitors will see Steinberg not only as a classic of geometrical abstraction, but also all the variety of his works. Of special interest is a formation of his specific art language by the example of the transformations which Steinberg has undergone in the process of his development. The selected works produced by «light» materials and the architectural structure of the exposition are aimed at showing the artist’s techniques and methods in the context of his philosophical understanding of the world and his life.

In accordance with the concept of the curator Natalia Smolyanskaya the project’s architect Sergey Sitar has divided the exhibition space into six thematic blocks: «National Soil», «Existentialism», «Metaphysical Still Life», «Diaries», «Metageometry» and «Synthesis», each of them step by step reveals the views of the artist on world and art and explores the paths to his mastery. It is important to tell the viewer what the idea of the national soil meant for him, as well as how he came to the existential understanding of the fate of his generation and himself.

According to Eduard Steinberg, the history of the native country with all its problems must feed a creator. The national soil in his understanding is an organic integrity, the union of people of the same culture regardless of their social status and in connection with other cultures. Having such understanding and feeling of a «man behind the fields of art practice with its hierarchy and tempo» the artist comes to the existential experience of life.

The «Metaphysical Still Life» section shows the transition stage in the master’s creative work: the transformation of objects forming a still life into abstract symbols. The «Diaries» trace the reaction of the artist to facts of everyday life, for example in his «memorial notes» it is an experience of a loss. In the «Metageometry» one can see the author’s method of a geometrical abstraction which occurs as a result of a spiritual impulse, reflects the world of pure forms. The «Synthesis» section provides a possibility to understand the specific feature of Steinberg’s art language combined with life practice and spiritual aspirations.
Before the exhibition at MMOMA the Russian viewers could see in a sense the final result of the master’s artistic grammar and searches for his way. The project «If there is water in the well...» presents the curator’s study of the formation of the art language of Eduard Steinberg and his demonstration.

The Exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and book by E.V. Barabanov about the creative work of Eduard Steinberg entitled «Metageometry of the Artist Steinberg» published by AVC Charity Fund. The design is realized with the support of Manders company.

Eduard Steinberg (March 3, 1937, Moscow — March 28, 2012, Paris) was born in the family of the poet and translator Arkady Steinberg. The artist was much influenced by his father and his circle in Tarusa, where a special role belonged to Boris Sveshnikov. The number of works of Steinberg’s initial period including the ones on display at MMOMA shows how intensive was his self education, though the artist’s first exhibition together with Vladimir Yankilevsky took place only in 1978.
In the time of perestroika, the Paris gallery owner Claude Bernard introduced Steinberg’s works in the international context. Since the 1990-s the artist lived and worked in Paris and Tarusa. His works are in many public collections including the National Center of Art and Culture (Center Georges Pompidou), the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, A. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the State Russian Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art (Wiesburg, Germany), Ludwig Museum (Cologne, Germany), Kolodzei Art Foundation (New Jersey, USA), as well as in private collections of Rothschild (Paris, France), George Costakis (Greece) and many others.

About the curator:

Natalia Smolyanskaya is an artist, curator, theoretician of modern art and avant- guard, PhD. She was in charge of a research program at the International College of Philosophy (Paris, 2007-2013). Smolyanskaya is a participant of the International net of avant-guard and modernism researchers in Europe. The areas of her research interests: art and concepts of avant-guard; creative work and theoretical heritage of K. Malevich; modern art and curatorship. She is an editor-compiler of the issue of the magazine Rue Descartes 64 in the French language, author of publications on problems of avant-guard and contemporary art.

About the Mikhail Prokhorov Fund:

The Mikhail Prokhorov Fund (Charitable Fund for Cultural Initiatives) is a private foundation set up in 2004 on the initiative of the businessman Mikhail Prokhorov. The mission of the Fund is a support of culture in Russian regions, their integration in the world culture space, upgrading of the intellectual level and creative potential of local communities. The directions of the Fund activity are science, education, culture and art. The charitable program is being implemented within the framework of grants competitions, non-competitive support for targeted programs and through the implementation of its own projects.


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