Our Friend Larionov Exhibition curated by Nana Zhvitiashvili at Pushkin House 9 – 21 October 2014 opening – 8 October at 6pm-8pm artists’ talk: 18 October 2014
Through the Broken Harbour by Harry Adams / Courtesy of Pushkin House
Pushkin House, the independent home of Russian culture in London, has invited Billy Childish and Harry Adams to present an exhibition of paintings as an expression of a current British response to the inspiration of Russian culture. For this the artists have chosen to collaborate on making paintings which celebrate the work of Mikhail Larionov (1881–1964) in the spirit of an international unity of artists, in a time beset by geo-political tensions. The title and idea for the exhibition was first mooted by Childish in 2006: recognising a kindred spirit, he’d made several paintings in homage to Larionov’s Neo-Primitive style which was itself a fusion of modernism with traditional Russian folk-art, so when the invitation came from Pushkin House it seemed a perfect time to make new paintings and realize the exhibition. In this instance Childish will collaborate in painting new homages to Larionov with Harry Adams and Edgeworth in a ‘studio approach’ to making the work. These paintings will all be made in the month preceding the exhibition. Following a long period of abstinence and rejection of Art in the early 1990s, Harry Adams (a collaboration between the artists Steve Lowe and Adam Wood) has been painting with intent since 2006. Adams also collaborates with Childish on the Art Hate Archive and many other projects through the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop – a studio, publisher and presentational platform for a small group of artists founded by Steve Lowe in 2003. Edgeworth Johnstone, a painter who has collaborated with Childish on a special series of works since 2013, makes unmediated and expressionistic paintings, and the work they make together reflect Childish’s paintings from the late 1990s which were similarly raw and direct.
Relaxing Soldier, after Larionov by Childish Adams / Courtesy of Pushkin House
Through their individual and collaborative practices these artists honour the ideals which arose from the work and ideas proposed by the modernists and avant-garde movements of the early 20th century, making work which similarly defies the dominant trends, now that apparently radical forms have become passé. And so, refusing the socio-political constraints of orthodox contemporary culture in favour of spiritual freedom, movement towards individuation, and the encouragement of demiurgic dimensions in art, they share a commitment to the traditions of painting built on the foundations of their anti-art credentials. Through a betrothal to their craft they divulge worlds of harmony and discord – taking the figurative form as its anchor that nonetheless seeks and celebrates its elemental make-up. As a direct result of this exhibition a new radical painter’s group Heckle’s Horse will be founded. A document in the form of a manifesto outlining the aims and ideals of this group will be published on the opening day and a number of small works by younger members of the group will also be displayed. Please visit the website
for more information.