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Anatoly Zverev


Soviet Nonconformist Art from A to Z


Museum Story


Icons / Faces / Masks

January 29 – June 6, 2022
0 — 500 RUB

Russian Museum, Marble Palace, 5/1, Millionnaya st., Saint Petersburg


The Moscow-based private Museum of Anatoly Zverev for the first time will present the exhibition at the State Russian Museum. On January 2022, the project “Icons / Faces / Masks” will be opened at the Marble Palace in Saint Petersburg and will feature portraits by the Sixtiers and by several contemporary artists. The exposition will include pieces by Anatoly Zverev, Oleg Tselkov, Vladimir Yankilevsky, Eduard Steinberg, Vladimir Nemukhin, Grisha Bruskin, Sergey Shutov and others.

The exhibition “Icons / Faces / Masks” examines metamorphoses in portraiture of the 20th and 21st centuries and marks the 90th anniversary of Anatoly Zverev (1931–1986), one of the brightest representatives of the Moscow nonconformist art movement of the 1960-s.

The exposition will include the most striking artworks by Anatoly Zverev, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Dmitry Plavinsky, Vladimir Yakovlev, Vladimir Yankilevsky, Oleg Tselkov, Mikhail Shemyakin, Leonid Kropivnitsky, Mikhail Shpindler, Boris Sveshnikov and Vyacheslav Kalinin, Eduard Steinberg, Leonid Purygin, Ivan Lubennikov, Natalia Nesterova, Leonid Rotar, Natalia Turnova, Grigory Bruskin and photographs of artists captured by Anatoly Brusilovsky and Igor Palmin.

Polina Lobachevskaya, the curator of the exhibition, chose these famous lines of lyric poetry by Afanasy Fet as the inspiration for the project: “A lot of magical changes of a dear face…” because the exposition is centered on the drama of the face.

Art Director of the AZ Museum and the exhibition curator Polina Lobachevskaya about the concept of the project:

“Barbarians preferred depicting Masks, — for pure artistic enjoyment and also to scare off hostile forces. Christians painted Icons, and the main subject of their art became episodes from Old and New Testaments. In the Renaissance these two stylistic approaches reached their summit: the profound achievement of Christian art was the undeniable integrity of a human being created in God’s image. But gradually faces of artists’ contemporaries and neighbors were discerned on Icons. For the world’s greatest artists the light was most important, and the light was divine, it converted Faces into Icons. But the 20th century made art shudder: Icons, Faces and Masks clashed. Both in literature and painting, though also in our everyday life we excitedly observed how Faces turned into Masks, but still sometimes into Icons. Icons, Faces and Masks will look into the eyes of each other and the visitors in the 21st century.”

Director of the AZ Museum Natalia Opaleva noted that the opportunity to create an exhibition dedicated to the art of portraiture of the 20th and 21st centuries within the walls of the Russian Museum became especially attractive both for her in person and for the AZ Museum: “The Russian Museum has been the most important symbol of Saint Petersburg for me since my childhood, that is why for me personally and for our museum it is a joy and a great honor to display in the Marble Palace more than 90 works from the AZ Museum collection and from my private one.”

In the view of the Head of the Russian Museum Department of the Newest Artistic Directions Alexander Borovsky, the exhibition “Icons / Faces / Masks” is a good start for introducing the AZ Museum to Saint Petersburg viewers: “Faces” in works by artists of the 1960-s and 1970-s are also depicted in a traditional portrait genre, with an emphasis on psychology, emotional state, and the triumph of the grotesque. The exhibition “Icons / Faces / Masks” has its own drama, which, I am sure, will capture the attention of the audience.”

“We are especially delighted that it is the State Russian Museum that will introduce the AZ Museum to Saint Petersburg viewers,” — states the Deputy Director of the Russian Museum for Scientific Work Evgenia Petrova. — “Today the AZ Museum’s long-term goal is to present the art of the 1960-s to 1980-s as an integral part of Russian artistic culture.”

Authors of the project
AZ Museum:
CEO of the AZ Museum Natalia Opaleva
Author and curator Polina Lobachevskaya
Art director of the exhibition Anatoly Golyshev
Media artist Platon Infante
Project coordinator Natalia Volkova

Russian Museum:
Deputy Director of the Russian Museum for Scientific Work Evgenia Petrova
Head of the Russian Museum Department of the Newest Artistic Directions Alexander Borovsky
Leading Research Associate of the Russian Museum Department of the Newest Artistic Directions Maria Saltanova

Radio Partner: Echo of Saint Petersburg
Art Partner: The Art Newspaper Russia
Media Partners: SNOB.RU, The “Dialogue of Arts” magazine


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