Oil on canvas, 250 x 160 cm.
I Was Born a Gardener, 2018
Oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm
From the series Pages from the Album, 1998
Ink on paper, 26 x 24 cm
I Caught Her! 2018
Tridimensional enamel, 225 x 180 cm.
Date: May 22 — September, 2019
Venue: HEYDAR ALIYEV CENTER (BAKU, AZERBAIJAN)
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, together with the Heydar Aliyev Center and the Russian Academy of Arts, present the exhibition Possible Dimensions. The project will continue the series of anniversary exhibitions celebrating the Russian-Georgian artist Zurab Tsereteli, timed to coincide with his 85th anniversary.
Possible Dimensions represents Zurab Tsereteli’s fruitful creative career, including works influenced by his encounters with the world-renowned maestros Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, and Robert Rauschenberg. The project brings together more than 30 works from Moscow, Tbilisi, and London, including paintings, sculptures, and enamels that cover the artist’s long career. A play with time and reality, the fantastic and the common: viewers of the exhibition in Baku will see the diversity of the themes of Tsereteli’s works.
Zurab Tsereteli grew up in Soviet Georgia, and worked with bronze, stone, glass, wood, and mosaics, but it was only in the late 1960s that he started to receive widespread recognition and government orders. Tsereteli stood out among the artists of his generation: his monumental works combined images of children’s fairy tales and dreams and archaeological and ethnographic symbols with a powerful creative impulse that became especially noticeable during the approval of more free forms of artistic expression in the cultural climate of the USSR. Monumentality reveals itself in his sculptures commissioned by public orders in different countries: one sees his statues in many cities, including London, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, and Tokyo. His large-scale works created in an expressive manner convey complete freedom in art.
Tsereteli can rightly be called a citizen of the world: he has workshops in his native Tbilisi, as well as in Moscow, Paris, and New York. Working in each of the four cities contributed to the formation of his individual style. The artist claims that, after meeting Picasso and Chagall in 1946 in France, he radically revised his understanding of the creative process. The skilfull ease of the maestros in transitioning from painting and graphics to ceramics and sculpture inspired him to create a new series of works. The influence of Picasso is evident in Inessa (1968), which he painted shortly after visiting Picasso’s workshop in Paris. Tsereteli’s famous sculpture My Favorite Artists (2009) represents Picasso, Modigliani, Chagall, and Van Gogh, having created sculptural images of Pirosmani and Henri Rousseau a year earlier. Tsereteli has a place in the ranks of neoexpressionists, which include Fernando Botero, Arnaldo Pomodoro, and Georg Baselitz. Among those who influenced Tsereteli’s creative work were also Russian artists: Tsereteli transformed Kandinsky’s abstract expressionism or Malevich’s suprematism into his rich palette of recognizable red and blue colors.
Solo exhibitions of the artist dedicated to his anniversary will also be held in 2019 in Beijing and Liechtenstein.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Zurab Tsereteli was born in Tbilisi (Georgia) in 1934 and graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts in 1958. His selected solo exhibitions include: Novyy Manezh, Moscow (1998 and 2004), UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (2007), Museum of San Salvatore, Rome (2011), Palazzo della Gran Guardia, Verona (2016), and the Palace of Festivals and Conferences, Cannes (2017). In 1995, Zurab Tsereteli founded the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the first state museum in Russia completely dedicated to contemporary art, which was officially opened in 1999. In 1997, Tsereteli was elected President of the Russian Academy of Arts. In 2001, the Zurab Tsereteli Art Gallery opened in Moscow, which is part of the Russian Academy of Arts, and in 2012 the artist founded the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tbilisi. Zurab Tsereteli was proclaimed a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador (2007). He is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg, Austria (2009), a holder of the Order of the Legion of Honor of the French government (2010), and a winner of the «For Life in Art» award, the international Giuseppe Sciacca award from the Academy of Fine Arts of Rome (2011), and UNESCO’s «Five Continents» medal (2014). He is also a member of the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts (2015).
Heydar Aliyev Center is a cultural center built on Heydar Aliyev Avenue in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. It is a complex that includes an auditorium (congress center), a museum, and exhibition halls. It bears the name of Heydar Aliyev, the third President of Azerbaijan. The center was developed in 2007 by architect Zaha Hadid. The Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center is considered one of the symbols of modern Baku.
Moscow Museum of Modern Art is the first state museum in Russia, founded in 1999 by the President of the Russian Academy of Arts, Zurab Tsereteli. His personal collection, consisting of more than 2000 works of famous 20th-century artists, marked the beginning of the museum’s assemblage, which is currently one of the most representative collections of Russian art of the last century. MMOMA is an active participant in the country’s artistic life and is located on six squares of the city. In addition, the MMOMA Education Center, where one can visit the open library of art, a museum café, a lecture hall, and see works from the MMOMA collection, stands in the heart of the capital. The institution prioritizes education in the field of art, support for young artists, its own publishing program, the development of inclusive projects, scientific activities, and laboratory expertise. Today, the museum actively develops a regional program and contributes to maintaining the rhythm of the artistic life of the country. In 2019, MMOMA celebrates its 20th anniversary.