Moscow City Government
Moscow City Department of Culture
Gallery pop/off/art
Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Between Zero and One.
Alexander Pankin and the Avant-gardes
Александр Панкин. Красный квадрат. 1994. Холст, масло.
А. Панкин. Геометрическая единица ряда Фибоначчи. 2001 Холст, масло.
А. Панкин. Золотое сечение. 2000. Холст, масло.
А. Панкин. Политический деятель. 1991. Холст, акрил.
А. Панкин. Два Иррациональных куба. 2005 Холст, масло.
Date: June, 1st — July 7th 2019

Curators: Nikita Spiridonov, Sergey Popov, Oksana Poluyakova.

Moscow Museum of Modern Art, in collaboration with pop/off/art gallery (Moscow), presents the exhibition Between Zero and One. Alexander Pankin and the Avant-guards, which offers a unique perspective on the oeuvre of Alexander Pankin, a classic of Russian contemporary art known to the general public for his mathematical abstractions and reinterpretation of the heritage of the Russian avant-garde. The title of the project goes beyond a mere reference to mathematical regularities, evoking basic binary relations, which are the real essence of Pankin’s take on art, the model describing the unordinary relations within his art.

The exhibition curators write: ‘Pankin is a rational artist who perceives the clarity of the imagery through calculations but on the other hand, he is also given to expressive and spontaneous reactions towards diverse events and cultural trends.’ This dichotomy defines the scenography of the display divided into the right and left sides of exhibition halls, with the left part expressing the ‘zero condition’ — an intellectual calculation, detached harmony, and objectification of processes and the right part representing the ‘one condition’ with its expressivity, intense colour schemes, emotional experiences. It is the interaction of these two conditions all along Pankin’s artistic path that makes his research of an ideal harmony so intense and diverse.

Nevertheless, the curators do not limit themselves to a solely visual representation of Pankin’s practices. The perception of his work is dilated through demonstrating relevant musical, cinematic and scientific parallels to Pankin’s art. Such a multidisciplinary approach is influenced by the artist’s close circle of contacts— most often his pieces had been first viewed by scientists — engineers, mathematicians, biophysicists. Often, Pankin initiated polemics with them and participated in numerous seminars on the borderline issues of arts and science.

Quite expectedly, Pankin equally gives special weight to Russian avant-garde, whose discoveries he explicitly builds on. Moreover, many present-day art historians, while studying avant-garde, turn to Pankin’s art in search of responses on the oeuvre of Kazimir Malevich, Ilia Chashnik, Mikhail Matyushin. So logically many works of historical avant-garde also make part of the display. Being the artist of the 1960s, Pankin paradoxically reflects in his art the nonlinear nature of the processes in human thought from the second half of the 20th century to the present day, and this aspect is particularly important for the viewers. Pankin discovers new connections between art and mathematics or, on a grosser scale, between different fields of science, thus demonstrating innovative artistic strategies, which would largely define the later development of Russian Science Art movement.

The exhibition will comprise over 120 of Pankin’s works, with some of them exhibited for the first time. Besides, among the works on display will be those by the artists congenial to Pankin’s artistic quest and the concept of the project, including ::vtol::, Yury Albert, KP Brehmer, Rick de Boug, Fedor Vetkalov, Johan de Wilde, Sofia Gubaidulina, Yury Zlotnikov, Nikolay Kasatkin, Sergey Katran, Vladimir Cobrin, Viacheslav Koleychuk, Lev Nusberg, Alexander Rodchenko, Fedor Pankin, Artavazd Peleshian, Petr Pospelov, Andrey Smirnov, Vladimir Favorsky, Constantin Flondor, Yakov Chernikhov, Boris Ender, Maria Ender.


Alexander Pankin (born in 1938) has been in constant artistic evolution for almost 60 years. In 1963 he graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute. Parallel to his studies, he delved into fine arts. Pankin’s art went through an unconventional evolution — he started off with experiments with the latest approaches on Abstractionism; in the 1970s, partly due to Ely Bielutin’s influence, the artist changes the overall direction to embrace the metaphorical vocabulary of Expressionism, and only in the 1990s he evolved his experiments into Analytical Abstractionism that Pankin himself refers to as the ‘meta abstraction’. It is the art system that combines the very language of Abstractionist Art together with the methodology of mathematical research and other scientific disciplines. Alexander Pankin has had more than 30 solo exhibitions, with projects at the NCCA (Moscow) among them. His works are in the collections of the State Tretiakov Gallery (Moscow), the State Russian Museum (Saint-Petersburg), the NCCA (Moscow), in some Russian regional museums, Russian and foreign private collections. The artist lives and works in Moscow.


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