2018 was an amazing year for the events related to Russian art and culture all over the world. And RA+C took an active role in bringing all the details, announcements, interviews, reviews and opinions to our readers. Let’s look back and reflect on some of the best art exhibitions.
Oscar Rabin, 90 years on, Never at rest. Art Paris. April 2018.
2018 was the year when Oscar Rabin, the patriarch of Moscow non-conformist art scene celebrated his 90th birthday. unfortunately, it was also the year when he passed away. In April this year Mark Ivasilevitch of Russian Day with the support of The State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, and founder of the AZ Museum in Moscow Natalya Opaleva, organised Rabin’s jubilee exhibition at the Grand Palais during the Art Paris Art Fair.
AES+F. Theatrum Mundi. Musee d’Art et d’Histoire. May – October 2018
The Theatrum Mundi exhibition at the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire in Geneva offered the visitors an opportunity to explore the past 10 years of AES+F’s mesmerising and highly original works. AES+F are a collective of Russian contemporary artists well-known for their immersive video installations of carefully orchestrated digital photographs. Their style mixes the elegance of Renaissance art and the aesthetic codes of today’s globalised world to create narratives that are both conceptually and visually powerful. Without ever making declarative statements, AES+F’s work loudly portrays the instability, vanity, and cultural clashes that can be found in the contemporary world.
Marc Chagall. The Breakthrough Years, 1911-1919. Guggenheim Bilbao. June – September 2018.
This summer could be rightfully considered the summer of the Russian avant-garde. Taking over from the Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao continued to explore the subject by staging he monographic exhibition Chagall: The Breakthrough Years, 1911–1919 generously supported by Fundación BBVA. The show focused on the years when Chagall experienced his first major international breakthrough and featured over 80 rare paintings and drawings, mostly from the Kunstmuseum Basel and Solomon Guggenheim’s collections.
Thessaloniki. Costakis. Restart. State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki. August 2018.
The Costakis Collection. Restart which is now on in the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki is an exciting reboot of the museum’s legendary collection of Russian avant-garde. Assembled in the post-war Soviet Union it embraces Russian avant-garde art of the 1900s-1940s, including all its diverse styles, genres and techniques. The founder of the collection George Costakis hunted down the neglected works from that period often saving them from oblivion and destruction. In 1977 he left Moscow donating a considerable part of his collection to the Tretyakov State Gallery and bringing the rest with him to Greece, where it became the core of the Museum.
Yuri Albert. Elitist-Democratic Art. Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein. September 2018 – January 2019
The Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein presented Elitist – Democratic Art, the solo exhibition of Yuri Albert, one of the most important artists of Moscow Conceptualism. It was the largest and the most comprehensive show of his works outside of Russia.
Read our interview with the exhibition’s curator Sandra Frimmel to learn more about Albert’s practice and the highlights of the current display.
Dialogues – The 60s Generation: Lydia Masterkova/Evgenii Rukhin. Zimmerli Art Museum. October 2018 – March 2019.
Zimmerli Art Museum occupies a special place on the map of Russian art and culture. Being a part of Rutgers University it is a teaching museum with diverse collections and dynamic programming which offer something for everyone. It owns a large collection of Russian and Soviet art which provides a unique overview in Russian cultural history from the fourteenth century to the present. The biggest gem is the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union which is the largest and most comprehensive collection of unofficial Soviet art in the world. In 2005 the museum received the generous gift from Claude and Nina Gruen which included approximately 180 works by leading Russian contemporary artists, some of whom were Soviet artists now living in the diaspora. In October Zimmerli opened Dialogues – The 60s Generation: Lydia Masterkova/Evgenii Rukhin. This exhibition is the first in a series that pairs artists who were prominent in dissident circles, but whose careers have been overlooked by histories of unofficial art outside Russia.
Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs. The Queen’s Gallery. November 2018 – April 2019
For more than 300 years Britain has been linked to Russia through exploration and discovery, diplomatic alliances and, latterly, by familial and dynastic ties. Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs, explores the relationship between the two countries and their royal families through works of art in the Royal Collection, many of which were acquired through the personal exchange of gifts.