Necrorealism Alive and Well in Moscow

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is pleased to present "Necrorealism", on view at the museum from September 23rd through October 30th. This is an unusual aesthetic genre for collector members of the Art Kabinett social network, so we will try to explain more here... Necrorealism emerged in the early 1980s in Leningrad, founded by Evgeny Yufit, artist and independent film director. This genre overturned the established Soviet concept of death as the only possible heroic ‘death in the name of Motherland’. Necrorealism was born as a social protest, full of absurdity and black humor, and based on forensic medicine textbooks. The main aesthetic theme of Necrorealism is the condition of man standing on the verge of death and demonstrating some pathology. The artists tried to represent the unthinkable – death itself. The very title contained a paradox: necro, which means death, and realism pointing to life. The very first works produced by the group were studio photographs in ‘zombie make-up’ and impromptu performances that imitated fights and chases shot against the background of woods, abandoned construction sites, suburban trains, etc. These shootings were a start of the parallel cinema in Russia. Yufit founded the first experimental film studio ‘Mzhalalafilm’ that united independent directors and artists. In the early 1990s, Necrorealism reaches international acclaim, and the works by group members take part in the most prominent exhibitions of Perestroika era, such as ‘In the USSR and Beyond’ (1990; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam), ‘Binazionale: Soviet Art around 1990’ (1991; Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf; Central House of Artists, Moscow; Israel Museum, Jerusalem), ‘Kunst Europa’ (1991; Kunstverein, Hannover), and others. The exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art is the first full-scale retrospective of Necrorealism that allows retracing the development of this original artistic movement. The display features both well-known and new works by the artists, as well as presents the ‘necro-method’ and complete iconography of the group. Curated by Olesya Turkina, "Necrorealism" includes works by Evgeny Yufit, Vladimir Kustov, Sergei Serp, Valery Morozov, Andrey Mertvy (Kurmayartsev), Leonid Trupyr (Konstantinov), Igor Bezrukov, Evgeny Kondratiev (Debil), Anatoly Svirepy (Mortyukov) and Yuri Tsirkul (Krasev). The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is the first state museum in Russia that concentrates its activities exclusively on the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inauguration, the Museum has expanded its strategies and achieved a high level of public acknowledgement. Today the Museum is an energetic institution that plays an important part on the Moscow art scene. The Museum was unveiled on December 15, 1999, with the generous support of the Moscow City Government, Moscow City Department of Culture. Its founding director was Zurab Tsereteli, President of the Russian Academy of Arts. His private collection of more than 2.000 works by important 20th century masters was the core of the Museum’s permanent display. Later on, the Museum’s keepings were enriched considerably, and now this is one of the largest and most impressive collections of modern and contemporary Russian art, which continues to grow through acquisitions and donations. The Museum has five venues in the historic centre of Moscow. The main building is situated in Petrovka Street, in the former 18th-century mansion house of merchant Gubin, designed by the renowned neoclassical architect Matvey Kazakov. Apart from that, the Museum has three splendid exhibition venues: a vast five-storey building in Ermolaevsky Lane, a spacious gallery in Tverskoy Boulevard, the beautiful building of the State Museum of Modern Art of the Russian Academy of Arts, and Zurab Tsereteli Studio Museum. The permanent collection represents main stages in formation and development of the avant-garde. The majority of exhibits are by Russian artists, but the display also includes some works by renowned Western masters. For example, graphic pieces by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Joan Miró and Giorgio De Chirico are on view, along with sculptures by Salvador Dalí, Armand and Arnaldo Pomodoro, paintings by Henri Rousseau and Françoise Gilot, and installations by Yukinori Yanaga. Within the Museum’s holdings, a special emphasis is put on the assembly of Russian avant-garde. Many works have been acquired in European and American galleries and auction houses, and thus returned from abroad to form an integral part of Russian cultural legacy. Highlights include paintings and objects by Kazimir Malevich, Marc Chagall, Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, Pavel Filonov and Wassily Kandinsky, Vladimir Tatlin and David Burliuk, as well as sculptures by Alexander Archipenko and Ossip Zadkine. Besides that, the Museum owns a unique collection of works by the famous Georgian artist Niko Pirosmani. An extensive section of the permanent display is devoted to Non-Conformist art of the 1960s-1980s. The creative activity of these masters, now well-known in Russia and abroad, was then in opposition to the official Soviet ideology. Among them are Ilya Kabakov, Anatoly Zverev, Vladimir Yakovlev, Vladimir Nemukhin, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Oscar Rabin, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Leonid Schwartzman, Oleg Tselkov, and more. Visit the museum's website at ... http://www.mmoma.ru