Artists of the Russian avant-garde movement during the period of Russian Revolution pursued new forms of art that were ahead of their time.
The Russian avant-garde artists at the forefront of the revolutionary movement were ironically stigmatized and oppressed after Stalin took power, and their artworks were deliberately ignored in Western art history due to the Cold War. However, the Russian avant-garde movement is now recognized for having had a tremendous influence on 20th century art, architecture, and design.
We hope that through this exhibition, you will be able to feel and experience the essence of non-Western avant-garde art that is a counterpart to European modern art.
1. Wassily Kandinsky’s Improvisations
Kandinsky is well-known as a pioneer of abstract art. In Kandinsky’s works from 1909, the form appears more simplified and the color scheme bolder and more sensuous. It was also during this period of time that he began producing Improvisations. All of Kandinsky’s works on display in the exhibition are from the Improvisation series produced in 1909, 1913, and 1917, through which the transformation of his artistic style can be seen.
2. Absolutism of Kazimir Malevich
Malevich, who advocated absolutism, first unveiled his 21 absolutist works, including Black Square, at the Last Futurist Exhibition (0, 10) held in St. Petersburg in 1915. Malevich’s Black Square caused quite a shock comparable to Duchamp’s Fountain. Malevich’s absolutism rejected painting as a means of representing objects, with an attempt at extreme geometrical simplification beyond any other form of art. In this exhibition, you will be able to appreciate the works of Malevich that served as the foundation for the rise of absolutism.
3. Mikhail Larionov’s Venus
Larionov produced a series of Venus paintings in 1912. In the history of Western art, Venus, the goddess of beauty, has been constantly reproduced as a woman with ideal beauty, and through Larionov’s works, she was reborn as a woman with crude voluptuousness and vitality from a neoliberal perspective. Even somewhat comical, Larionov’s Venus shows his intention to ironically subvert existing stereotypes about aesthetics and art.
4. Natalia Goncharova of the Russian Avant-garde
During the period of the Russian Revolution, female artists were at the forefront of producing original Russian painting styles and were just as active as male artists. Among them, Natalia Goncharova attempted to create a new form of Russian art with a rather crude yet familiarly pleasant way of expression, characteristic of lubok, Russian popular prints. She borrowed the style of lubok to show the piety and integrity of the people and produced her works in a way that emphasized contours and highlighted rough yet simple flatness, similar to folk woodblock prints.
5. Alexander Rodchenko and Russian Constructivism
Alexander Rodchenko was a central figure in a new generation of Russian avant-garde artists, exerting a substantial influence on the development of Russian Constructivism as well as modern photographic art and design. In this exhibition, you will be able to see the early works of Rodchenko, who conducted formative experiments under the influence of Malevich and Tatlin. The dynamic composition of and tension in his painting works were subsequently utilized in his innovative photography, advertising designs, product designs, and furniture and interior designs from 1921.