Masterpieces of Pioneers of Russian Avant-Garde Art Showcased in Seoul

“The Lady Playing the Piano” by Kazimir Malevich (Surikov Krasnoyarsk Art Museum)

Russian avant-garde modern art began to flourish in the early 20th century with artists beginning to explore new abstract styles, rejecting conventional academic tradition in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917 which overthrew the Empire Russian.

While avant-garde artists – including the most famous Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich – are widely known today, many of them were oppressed in the 1930s after Stalin seized power, who stigmatized their works. Many artists fled to Europe and remained ignored in Western art history due to the Cold War that spanned from 1947 to 1989.

The “Kandinsky, Malevich and the Russian Avant-Garde: Revolutionary Art” exhibition at the Sejong Museum of Art brings together 75 paintings by 49 Russian avant-garde artists, including those who remained relatively unknown in South Korea. The works come mainly from the collection of the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts, the largest art museum in the Ural region of Russia.

“Mowers” by Natalia Goncharova (Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts)

“Russian avant-garde art was politically shunned at the time, but reborn as minimal art after 50 years. The artistic avant-garde movement also influenced Korean abstract art, such as the” dansaekhwa movement,” said Kim Young-ho, a professor at Chungang University who curated the exhibit.

The exhibition begins with ‘The Improvisations of Wassily Kandinsky’, showing Kandinsky’s works from the series of improvisations produced in 1909, 1913 and 1917 which feature more simplified forms and bolder, more sensual colors. The first session is followed by “The Absolutism of Kazimir Malevich”, which guides through the absolutism of Malevich who rejected painting as a means of representing objects with an attempt at extreme geometric simplification.

The exhibition also features works by artist and photographer Alexander Rodchenko, one of the founders of Russian constructivism and design who died in 1956, and Mikhail Larionov, an avant-garde artist who pioneered Russian abstract art. working with radical exponents. Larionov’s Venus series of paintings in 1912 is exhibited at the “Venus by Mikahil Larionov”.

Natalia Goncharova was among the female artists at the forefront of the Russian Revolution, pioneering a new form of Russian art as a leader of the Russian avant-garde. Goncharova was inspired by indigenous Russian art forms such as lubok, the Russian folk print derived from literature, religious stories and folk tales.

The exhibition opened on December 31 and will run until April 17 at the Sejong Museum of Art in Seoul. The museum is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

By Park Yuna ([email protected])

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