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Stiftung Carlfriedrich Claus-Archiv

Opening: Saturday, 10th December 2016, 5 pm

The Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz are presenting about 400 works by 110 artists on loan from the Valdimir Tsarenkov Collection at the start of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Russian Revolution. The exhibition will run from 11 December 2016 to 12 March 2017. The works on show date from 1907 to 1930 and enable a view of both the aesthetic revolt and the socio-utopian impetus of that art. In addition to paintings, drawings and works on paper, they will also include architectural models, drafts of theatre decorations, designs for book covers and textiles, preliminary drawings for posters, porcelain designs and the high-quality utilitarian pottery of that era with its constructivist decoration.

In the early 20th century, when the artists all over Europe trod new paths and formally revolutionised art, they also questioned its social impact and sought new means of communicating! They not only distanced themselves from the teachings of the academies, the conservative orientation around a traditional canon and art world as such, but also sought a broader public, beyond the established social circles. The art of modernism combined the concept of a new aesthetic departure with the utopian ambition of intervening creatively in the living environment through art. This fundamental idea united Cubists, Futurists, Expressionists, Dadaists and abstract artists all over Europe, as did the radicalism of their experiments. Nowhere did this the leap into modernism take place in such a daring and consequential way as in the art of Russia and the young Soviet Union.

Between 1905 and 1920 the old regime realm of the Tsars was shaken by revolutions, warfare and civil war. At the same time a young generation of artists dared to bring about an aesthetic and visionary new beginning that was a herald and driving force of coming changes and also accompanied them. In no other European country did the avant-garde combine art with social commitment so directly. Artists in Russia cooperated with the western European avant-garde in exhibitions and publications while developing artistic variants of their own, such as Cubo-Futurism and Suprematism. They welcomed the fundamental changes after the revolutions almost unanimously and placed their skills at the disposal of the new society. They worked as cultural functionaries and as university teachers, designers and architects. The new formal idiom of Constructivism and Suprematism abandoned artists’ studios and occupied public space, on hoardings and book covers. At a private level, it also permeated everyday life in the form of wallpaper, fabric patterns and porcelain design. The arts intermingled; poets painted and painters wrote. The goal of their art was a new internationalism. Futurist non-verbal texts and geometrical abstractions overcame national and political barriers and flowed into a “Constructivism Internationale”. Today the scope of those visions and the spirit with which people worked on their implementation are a source of fascination – irrespective of the ultimate failure as a results of the shackles of Stalinist cultural policy.

A 424-page catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition in a German and an English edition, with colour illustrations of all the works and essays by ten authors. It will contain brief individual introductions to all of the artists in the exhibition.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fringe programme of readings and lectures.

The exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of the Ostdeutsche Sparkassenstiftung together with the Sparkasse Chemnitz, the NILES-SIMMONS-HEGENSHEIDT GmbH, the BMW branch in Chemnitz, the GUNTER HÜTTNER + Co GmbH BAUUNTERNEHMUNG and the Diagnosticum. We are very grateful to all of them.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays, 12 noon
Wednesday 4 pm

30 Euros

With generous support






© Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz 2019