Part I Roman Babichev’s Collecton
Монин А.А. Портрет-физкультурницы (портрет жены О.Н. Мониной) 1929-г. Х.м
Вялов К. Баку. 1933 г. Х.м
Ермилова-Платова Е.Ф. На станции. 1932 Х.м
Рублев Г.И. Товарный поезд. Х.м
Шевченко А.В. Аджария. 1935 г. К.м
Date: September 27 — November 20, 2017
Venue: MMOMA Petrovka, 25
Part II: November 28, 2017 — January 14, 2018
Curatorial team: Roman Babichev, Nadia Plungian, Alexandra Selivanova, Valentin Dyakonov, Olga Davydova, Maria Silina.
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents «Implicit Modernism», a two-part exhibition showcasing Roman Babichev’s vast private collection of Russian art, which illustrates a new perspective in the conversation surrounding the problem of Modernism in Soviet art.
The display of private collections in a museum space is a common occurrence in cultural institutions worldwide, and for MMOMA in particular. The history of Russia’s largest museums is rooted in the history of private collections, known as «chastnoe sobranie». Over the duration of several centuries, private collections acted as the foundation of museum inventory, and the selection of those works now plays a critical role in the national cultural heritage. The private collection of Roman Babichev has grown over the past 25 years and contains around 4000 works of Russian art of the 20th century.
Featured in exhibitions in Russia’s leading museums, the collection laid the foundation for a research which aims to provide a new perspective on the Russian art of the 20th century. The results of the curatorial team’s analytical work have been compiled in a 5 volume publication «Implicit Modernism». The impressive size of this archive of art is not confined to one exhibition. The first iteration of this project, opening on September 27 at MMOMA Petrovka 25, showcases a broad view of the conducted research. The following second part opens on November 28 and focuses on the Leningrad school which spanned the period from the 1920s to the 1950s.
The authors of this study refer to their view of Soviet art a «view from a symbolist perspective» and actively dialogue with the Encyclopedia of Russian avant-garde, a large project of recent years foundational to the three-volume publication edited by Andrey Sarabyanov and Vasiliy Rakitin. The curators ask whether contemporary art necessarily requires a division of «avant-garde» and «arrière-garde», and where and why the line is drawn between these two concepts. The first show will display over 350 works of Russian art: painting, sculpture, architecture and book graphics, and sketches of theatrical scenery by famous masters such as Petr Konchalovsky, Aristarch Lentulov, Alexandr Osmerkin, Nadejda Udaltsova, as well as artists «invisible» after 1932, who sacrificed their connection to viewers for the sake of both formal and open-ended experiments.
The exhibition will show a variety of Soviet modernisms, the continuity between separate points in the history of Russian culture and will trace a number of cross-cutting trends that date back to the beginning of the century. The curatorial texts accompanying each of the 14 sections of the exhibition immerse the viewer into the analytic research and explore the work’s historical context, showing its relation to the creative pursuits of previous generations, and the impetus that it gave the next.
Beginning the countdown of Russia’s Modernist period from Symbolists and the Union of Russians artists, the exhibition builds several parallel lines of continuity and reveals the dynamics and internal processes of Soviet art. The curators focus on the formal search for post-revolutionary artists: from the graduates of VKhUTEMAS, among which are Georgiy Rublev, Leonid Khoroshkevich, Alexander Labas, Yuri Pimenov, Tatiana Kupervasser, Alexander Rusakov and others, to the masters of the Severe style and «unofficial» artists. Continuing the logic of the collection’s formation, the exhibition shows previously unnoticed layers of Soviet art: paintings by the founder of the Leningrad school of book graphics Vladimir Lebedev, as well as watercolor studies of color and shape by Fedor Platov. The core medium of the exhibition’s narrative, painting, is supplemented by sculpture featuring the works of symbolists Anna Golubkina, Alexander Matveyev and Sergey Konenkov, the futuristic portrait of Bryusov by Nina Nissland-Goldman and the architectonic compositions of Meer Aizenstadt.
A separate part of the exhibition will be devoted to easel and book graphics, where until the 1960s many discoveries of pre-war modernism developed. This section will display the works of Antonina Sofronova, Nadezhda Udaltsova, Dmitry Mitrokhin, and others. Another independent section of the exposition will be dedicated to works in the genre of architectural graphics, where viewers will have the opportunity to see variations of «paper architecture» of the Palace of the Soviets by Boris Iofan.
The first opening of «Implicit Modernism» is timed concurrently with the release of the first of five volumes on the collection of Roman Babichev. The exhibition is preparing educational and excursion programs, as well as an audio guide.
With the support of Manders.
Roman Babichev — Роман Бабичев — an art collector of Russian contemporary art from 1910-1970s. The works from his collection have been displayed at exhibitions at the State Tretyakov Gallery, The Pushkin State museum of Fine Arts, The State Russian Museum, Moscow Manege and others.
Nadia Plungian — Ph.D in History of Arts, senior researcher at the State Institute of Arts, critic and curator. Authored the monograph on «Group 13» in the context of artistic life from the late 1920s to mid-1950s. Author of several publications on 1930-50s Soviet art. Curator of exhibitions investigating the problems of Soviet and Contemporary art.
Olga Davydova — Ph.D in History of Arts, lead research associate of the Institute of Theory and History of Fine Arts at the Russian Academy of Arts, member of the Association of Art Critics of Russia and the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Specializes in the study of fine arts of the XIX-XXI centuries. The author of books about modernism and modern art.
Valentin Dyakonov — Ph.D in cultural studies, art historian, curator, and critic. Author of a number of innovative curatorial projects in the field of contemporary and Soviet art, and the monograph «Moscow Artistic Culture of the 1950s and 1960s: The emergence of „unofficial“ art». Columnist at «Kommersant».
Alexandra Selivanova — Ph.D in Architecture, Senior Researcher at the Museum of Moscow, curator of the Avantgarde Center and the «On Shabolovka» gallery. Senior scientific researcher at the Institute of Theory and History, focusing in architecture and urban development. Soviet architecture historian, curator of over 50 exhibition projects, author of articles on architectural history, urban planning and early XX century art. Author of the book «Unnoticed Avantgarde».
Maria Silina — Ph.D in History of Arts, Research Associate at Institute of Theory and History of Fine Arts at the Russian Academy of Arts, author of the monograph «History and ideology: a monumental and decorative terrain of 1920-1930s in the USSR». Associate Professor, Faculty of Art History of the University of Quebec in Montreal (Canada).