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Moscow City Government
Moscow City Department of Culture
Russian Academy of Arts
The State Mayakovsky Museum
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
AVC Charity Foundation

bIRds and figIRes
Celebrating the 130th anniversary of Velimir Khlebnikov’s birthday
Nataliya Goncharova. The cover of A. Kruchenykh’s and V. Khlebnikov’s “The Worldbackwards” collection. 1912. Collage. From State Mayakovsky museum collection
Vasily Vlasov. “A black branch of the dark was falling with black feathers”. 2015. Paper, zincography, two color printing. From Maya Avelicheva’s collection
Alexander Djikia. Lord of the Birds. 2015. Galvanized tin, automotive primer. Author's property
Mikhail Karasik. Budetlyanin. 2015. Paper, autolithography. From Maya Avelicheva’s collection
Date: November 24, 2015 - January 17, 2016
Venue: MMOMA at 10 Gogolevsky Blvd, building 2

Curated by Mikhail Karasik
Exhibition design by Dina Karaman

Moscow Museum of Modern Art, The State Mayakovsky Museum, and AVC Charity Foundation present bIRds and figIRes, an exhibition celebrating the 130th birthday of Velimir Khlebnikov (1885–1922). The exhibition will feature some editions published by one of the key avant-garde poets during his life, as well as drawings, videos, objects, sculptures and installations inspired by his work and made specifically for the show. The project is part of The World and the Rest festival organized for the Russian Year of Literature.

Velimir Khlebnikov is one of the seminal poets of the 20th century, a pioneer of futurism recognised as «the world’s biggest poet of the time» by his contemporaries (Roman Yakobson). His persona and his work fascinated his contemporaries like Vladimir and David Burliuk, Pavel Filonov, Yury Annenkov and Vladimir Tatlin — and are still an inspiration to poets and artists today. The exhibition focuses on bird- and number-related imagery abounding in Khlebnikov’s work, visualizing these elements of his grand historiosophical and linguistic project, to which he devoted his entire life.

According to the curator, the project was conceived as ‘a visual echo of a poet’s word’. Along with his futurist publications, which appeared during his lifetime in the 1910s and after his death in 1920 (Unpublished Works by Khlebnikov) it contains works made by contemporary artists a century later. The central piece in the show is the bIRds and figIRes album, from which the exhibition borrows its name — an artist’s book of over 50 sheets with drawings by Moscow and Saint Petersburg artists. Portraits of Khlebnikov also featured in the show present him as a serious scientist, a dreamy ornithologist or a mythical Sirin with a poet’s head and a bird’s body. Petr Miturich’s Spatial Drawings, reconstructed by his wife Vera Khlebnikova and his son May Miturich in the 1990s, welcomes the visitor in the gallery with installations inspired by Khlebnikov’s poetry.

Tangible as it is, Khlebnikov’s influence on contemporary art is hard to define. His works are chaotic and often difficult to decode. bIRds and figIRes is an attempt at understanding the oeuvre of the seminal Silver Age poet. It continues the series of events dedicated to the anniversary of Khlebnikov’s birthday.


Marina Alexeeva, Sergei Denisov, Alexander Djikia, Olga Florenskaya, Alexander Florensky, Mikhail Karasik, Grigory Katsnelson, Vladimir Kozin, Anton Khlabov, Vera Khlebnikova, Vladimir Kozin, Alexander Lavrentiev, Kira Matissen, Mikhail Molochnikov, Valery Orlov, Peotr Perevezentsev, Alexander Podobed, Viktor Remishevsky, Dmitry Saenko, Peotr Shvetsov, Andrei Suzdalev, Leonid Tishkov, Vasily Vlasov, Sergei Yakunin

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