press release

Concerning the Spiritual Tradition in Russian Art: Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation examines the intersections of artistic and religious consciousness that explore spiritual expression in the Soviet Union and Russia. This exhibition confronts the historical collisions of the sacred and secular, the conflict of government censorship, and freedom of expression under the Communist regime. During the Soviet era, such works of religious subject matter were often banned from public display, and in some cases, they were even confiscated.

Images of Christian churches or objects of veneration, as in the works of Oscar Rabin, Dmitri Plavinsky, and Anatolii Slepyshev, were considered religious propaganda. Art that was supportive of religion in any way was unacceptable to Soviet authorities. Regardless, a number of Russian artists turned to religious themes as a protest to government restrictions, an escape from Russian day-to-day life, or a private expression of faith. While some artists embraced traditional imagery depicting Russian churches, religious icons, or images from the Old and New Testament, other artists, such as Leonid Borisov and Gennadii Zubkov, expressed their spiritual ideas in more abstract, geometric forms. By the mid-1990’s, after Russia had emerged on the international art scene, artists shifted their focus to new subjects and ideas like digital media, as is used in the work of Konstantin Khudyakov and Alena Anosova.

This selection of 50 works by 35 artists, spanning from the 1960’s to the present, illuminates the progression of various artistic and political movements in Russia. Featured artists from the 1960’s and 1970’s participated in significant, unofficial exhibitions that challenged the official, approved style of Socialist Realism. Artworks from the 1980’s to the present reflect the emergence of a free and democratic Russia, after the era of Perestroika. Concerning the Spiritual Tradition in Russian Art offers the viewers a glimpse into artistic traditions of Russian artists who, despite oppression, fervently re-appropriated sacred imagery as a way of conveying rebellious expression.

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Concerning the Spiritual Tradition in Russian Art
Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation
Kuratorin: Natalia Kolodzei

Künstler: Alena Anosova, Edward Bekkerman, Farid Bogdalov, Leonid Borisov, Olga Bulgakova, Oleg Bourov, Irene Caesar, Mihail Chemiakin, Maria Elkonina, Rimma & Valery Gerlovin (Rimma Gerlovin, Valeri Gerlovin), Dimitry Gerrman, Francisco Infante, Otari Kandaurov, Anton S. Kandinsky, SanSan Kara, Konstantin Khudyakov, Mikhail Koulakov, Yefim Ladyzhensky, Valentina Lebedeva, Tatiana Levitskaia, Sergei Maliutin, Komar and Melamid, Artem Mirolevich, Igor Molochevski, Ernst Neizvestny, Natalia Nesterova, Alexander Ney, Shimon Okshteyn, Vladimir Ovchinnikov, Valeri Pianov, Dmitri Plavinsky, Petr Pushkarev, Oscar Rabin, Eduard Shteinberg, Alexander Sitnikov, Anatolii Slepyshev, Alexi Tyapushkin, Yakov Vinkovetsky, Alexander Zakharov and Gennadii Zubkov