This is the first time Russia is guest of honour in a French art fair at the Grand Palais. There was however an occasion in 1906, when under the same majestic glass roof, Russian artists were shown in an exhibition organised by Serge Diaghilev during the Salon dAutomne.
The event organised by ART PARIS ART FAIR
is not an official invitation. From 28th March to 1st April 2013, the fair offers a real journey of artistic exploration of Russia past and present.
Under the dome of the Grand Palais, ten Russian galleries have been brought together from as far afield as Yekaterinburg, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don and Vladivostok. In addition, some 20 European galleries are showing Russian artists.
With over 90 Russian artists represented, ART PARIS ART FAIR sheds light on what is a varied and diverse scene beginning with the artists of the diaspora in the 1920s and 30s (such as Boris Grigoriev and Aleksandr Yakovlev) to the non-conformists who opposed the Soviet culture of power between 1960 and 1991 (Vladimir Andreenkov, Rogensky, Leonid Sokov, Erik Bulatov, Igor Makarevich...) right up to the stars of the contemporary scene (AES+F, Olga Chernysheva, Oleg Kulik, Boris Mikhailov, Pavel Pepperstein, Olga Kisseleva, Alexei Vassiliev)...
A SNEAK PREVIEW OF WHAT IS TO COME
A MONUMENTAL INSTALLATION BY RECYCLE GROUP AT THE GRAND PALAIS ENTRANCE
A monumental installation by the Moscow group Recycle at the public entrance of the Grand Palais sets the tone. Presented by Suzanne Tarasiève gallery and produced in 2012 for the Futurologia exhibition in Nantes, the work entitled Façade is six metres high. It is a reference to the fake Potemkin villages allegedly erected by Grigory Potemkin, a favourite of Empress Catherine the Great to impress her and cover up the misery of the Russian countryside.
THE EXILED RUSSIAN MASTERS 1920 - 1950
Moscows Heritage International Art Gallery is specialised in modern art by exiled Russian artists. The gallery is unveiling several masterpieces made in the 1920s and 1930s by the painters Philipp Malyavin (born in Russia in 1869, died in Nice in 1940) and Nikolay Zagrekov (born in 1897 in Russia died in 1992 in Germany). Both were disciples of Ilya Repin, a key figure in the 19th Century group of artists known as the The Itinerants or The Wanderers.
Also on show are gouaches and sculptures by Ossip Zadkine (1890-1967) made in the 1930s and 40s and presented by Galerie Fleury which specialises in the work of this Russian artist who settled in Paris in 1909. Claude Lemand gallery is also offering a book of original lithographs by Zadkine entitled Portrait de lOiseau-Qui- NExiste-Pas... (Portrait of the bird that does not exist).
Other figures of the Russian school of Paris including Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969) and Lanskoy (1902-1976) are presented by the galleries Fleury and Alexis Lartigue.
THE NON-CONFORMISTS 1960 - 1980 THE SECOND RUSSIAN AVANT-GARDE
The early 1960s brought a relative political thaw with Moscow as grand capital of the Soviet Union where large numbers of artists began to go against the aesthetic codes imposed by Socialist Realism. A number of non-conformist movements grew, inspired by different schools of art: abstract art derived from Suprematism and Constructivism, conceptual art, and somewhat later, Pop art. ART PARIS ART FAIR has brought together many of the main figures of Russian creation from 1960 to 1980: Mikhail Roginsky (born 1931) is one of the pillars of non-conformism. Some of his paintings, replete with nostalgia and existential questioning are shown by Farideh Cadot (Paris).
Edik Steinberg (1937- 2012) is the subject of a special tribute by Claude Bernard, who in 1988 was the first to show his geometric-metaphysical work inspired by the Suprematist Malevitch.
Nadja Brykinas vocation is to rediscover through her Zurich-based gallery a whole generation of forgotten Russian artists from the 1950s and 60s. She presents work of three artists from this period: Vladimir Andreenko, an abstract painter inspired by the legacy of constructivism, Marlen Spindler, a major figure who was forcibly incarcerated for 15 years, and Igor Vulokh.
Meanwhile, Erik Bulatov (born in 1933) is a figurehead of Moscow conceptual art who emerged in the 1960s. Pièce Unique (Paris) unveils a personal exhibition of his trademark sign drawings.
Igor Makarevich (born in 1943 in Georgia) is another major figure of the Moscow conceptual school. Several galleries pay tribute to his talent, including Galerie SEM-ART (Monaco) and Galerie Blue Square (Washington). His is a polymorphous body of work which mainly seeks to debunk collective, personal or even aesthetic myths. He makes installations and paintings and is perhaps best known for his Pinocchio portraits that poke fun at the sacrosanct supremat ists of the 1920s.
ESTABLISHED FIGURES OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Rabouan Moussion (Paris) is showing the spectacular heart made of wood and heart by Dimitri Tsykalov which hangs at the centre of the nave of the Grand Palais. The gallery also presents a self-portrait by Vladimir Mamyshev Monroe as Vladimir Putin that was widely used in demonstrations that took place during the recent parliamentary elections in Russia (the use of official portraits of M. Putin is prohibited). On the opening night of ART PARIS ART FAIR, Vladimir Monroe will perform an as yet unseen impersonation of an unknown individual...
At Arka gallery (Vladivostok), Olga Kisseleva who is the figurehead of Russian Media Art will unveil an interactive device that measures the subjective time of the individual who places his or her hand on a touch screen...
Anne de Villepoix (Paris) is showing Alexeï Kallima, born in 1969 in Grosny, who is known for his large format drawings of soldiers waiting in ambush. A new piece made especially for ART PARIS ART FAIR is presented.
Andreï Molodkin, born in 1966, will show his signature sculptures filled with crude oil at Priska Pasquer (Cologne) and Blue Square (Washington). Orel Art (Paris) offers his equally well known drawings made will ball point pen that suggest tattoos that were banned during the Soviet era.
Visitors to the booth of SEM-Art Gallery (Monaco) can look forward to a wicked cabinet of curiosities by AES+F featuring seven compositions made of porcelain showing naughty scenes of the type favoured in the 18th Century, but in this case re-cast with modern day heroes: immigrants, policemen, skinheads, young Turkish girls, businesswomen, Chinese female workers, leaders...
Anatoly Osmolovsky, is one of the figureheads of the Moscow art scene. He has come up with a deviant church in which the icons are made of pieces of bread (actually in wood), shown by pop/off/art gallery (Moscow, Berlin).
RISING STARS OF THE CURRENT SCENE
Erarta Galleries (London, Zürich, New York, Saint-Petersburg) is showing a piece by Dmitry Shorin who has made an angel whose open wings are equipped with jet engines...
melanieRio (Nantes) presents Peter Belyi, a young talent born in 1971 who presents Russia as a massive danger zone symbolized by his installation The Pause Project, a giant circular saw hanging from a very thin wire...
One of the stars of Russian contemporary art is Pavel Pepperstein who is represented by Moscows Iragui gallery. His is a dreamlike world of Punk landscapes full of constructivist inspiration...
Meanwhile at Rabouan Moussion gallery is the latest work The Interrogation (2013) by the PG Group, a collective that has been thwarted in its work for political reasons. The work presented here represents the arrest and interrogation of the groups co-founder dIlya Falkovsky by the FSB, the Russian secret police...
Perchevsky Gallery (Moscow) is presenting the installation entitled «Your place in the history of art» (2011) by Rostan Tavasiev, one of Russias rising stars whose work has already been exhibited at Moscows Tretyakov gallery, the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum gallery, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, etc.
The gallery LAléatoire (Paris) shows Masha Arendt who brings fabric alive with embroidery, recreating the utopian constructivist Russian architectural projects of the 1920s. Also on show are the watercolours of Julia Zastava who creates a world in which everything is (im) possible...
A disciple of Jean-Michel Alberola, Natacha Ivanova (NK Gallery, Antwerp) inhabits the world of movies and finds herself featuring in many of her own paintings.
A FEW FIGURES OF THE CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN PHOTOGRAPHY SCENE
Grinberg Gallery (Moscow) presents two historic figures of Russian photography of the 1970s and 80s: Nikolay Bakharev (born in 1946) and Mikhail Ladeischikov, whose work is shown along that of two younger talents: Alexander Gronsky, who is known for his landscapes devoid of human life, Rena Effendi, originally from Baku in Azerbaijan, who works in a subjective documentary style to capture the reality of daily life in her country. Vincent Sator (Paris) shows the work of photographer Alexeï Vassiliev who uses classical references to question painting.
Pop/Off/Art Gallery (Moscow, Berlin), presents work by Olga Chernysheva who captures snippets of daily life with a wry vision that combines humour and weirdness with a dash of melancholy.
Lilja Zakirova Gallery (Heusden) presents Katerina Belkina, who was nominated in 2012 for the prestigious Moscow Kandinsky Prize. On show is a selection of her recent photographic works form the series Empty Spaces , Not a Mans World and Paint. Also on offer is work by Raoef Mamedov (born in Azerbaijan in 1956) who was trained in the Soviet cinema. Working with models with Downs Syndrome, he photographs major scenes recreated from the new Testament (Last Supper series).
Suzanne Tarasiève (Paris) presents a selection of recent photographs by Boris Mikhailov, the leading figure in the field of social and documentary photography.
RUSSIAN ART BRUT
Most unusual and one of the leading figures of Russian art brut who was considered mad and was locked up at the age of 23 is Alexandre Lobanov (1924-2003) whose rare drawings are unveiled by Galerie Christian Berst. The gallery also shows the work of the mystical gardener Vlasilij Romanenkov.