GRAD
GALLERY FOR RUSSIAN
ARTS AND DESIGN
ДОБРО ПОЖАЛОВАТЬ В РОССИЮ! ДОБРО ПОЖАЛОВАТЬ В GRAD!
WELCOME TO RUSSIA! WELCOME TO GRAD!
THIS IS THE FIRST NEWSLETTER TO OUR SUPPORTERS FROM GRAD: GALLERY FOR RUSSIAN ARTS AND DESIGN. IN IT WE ANNOUNCE OUR FIRST EXHIBITION AND OPENING EVENT, AND LIST FORTHCOMING EXHIBITIONS. WE WILL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU IN THIS WAY AS OUR EXHIBITION PROGRAMME DEVELOPS, AND WE HOPE YOU, YOUR COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS WITH AN INTEREST IN RUSSIAN ART, WILL TAKE A CONTINUING AND ACTIVE INTEREST IN OUR ACTIVITIES.
GRAD is an enterprising not-for-profit gallery exhibiting Russian art in central London, including rarely seen graphic arts and other works from Russian collections and specially commissioned pieces. We will also hold special exhibitions with co-curators from Russia, and seminars dedicated to academic and curatorial developments in the expanding field of international studies in Russian art from the early 20th Century to the present day.

OUR FIRST EXHIBITION, AND LIST FORTHCOMING

SEE USSR

7 JUNE 2013 — 31 AUGUST 2013

The exhibition will take issue with the widely accepted notion of the striking heroic and industrial imagery projected by the Soviet Union throughout late 1920s and 1930s. It will show a very different country – a country of leisure, comfort and luxury, the USSR through the looking glass.

Curator: Elena Sudakova, GRAD, London. Co-curator: Irina Nikoforova, The State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia.

TATPROM

TATPROM

13 SEPTEMBER 2013 — 9 NOVEMBER 2013

The project will stimulate discussion of Utopian architecture in the Russian context through the exhibition of scaled models of two of the most distinctive projects of their time: Tatlin’s Tower and the Gazprom Tower.

PASTELS BY PYOTR DIK (1939–2002) AND DRAWINGS AND SCULPTURES BY GARIF BASYROF (1944–2004)

15 NOVEMBER 2013 — 4 JANUARY 2014

After several successful individual exhibitions in leading art galleries and museums across Russia, these two related but distinctive artists are brought together for the first time here at GRAD in collaboration with GOST Gallery.

 

GRAD: GALLERY FOR RUSSIAN ARTS AND DESIGN CREATES A SETTING FOR GRAPHIC ARTS — AND WORKS IN OTHER MEDIA — FROM RUSSIA AND THE FORMER SOVIET UNION, IN A CONTEMPORARY CENTRAL LONDON SPACE AND WITH FULL SCHOLARLY SUPPORT. GRAD AIMS TO RAISE CRITICAL AWARENESS AND BECOME THE MAIN LONDON VENUE FOR SHOWCASING RUSSIAN ART, FROM THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY TO THE WORK OF CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS. OBJECTS IN GRAD’S EXHIBITIONS WILL BE LOANED FROM NATIONAL AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS IN RUSSIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES. THE PROGRAMME HAS A STRONG HISTORICAL FOUNDATION, EACH NEW EXHIBITION OPENING WITH A SEMINAR INVOLVING AN INVITED AUDIENCE AND SPEAKERS OF ACADEMIC AND CURATORIAL EMINENCE IN THE FIELD.
Please contact us if you would like to be invited to the opening seminars for the first and subsequent exhibitions, giving brief information on your interests and affiliation.
GRAD IS PLANNING TO PRODUCE A RANGE OF PUBLICATIONS, INCLUDING SCHOLARLY CATALOGUES FOR EACH EXHIBITION. IT WILL ALSO PROVIDE GALLERY SPACE FOR THE EXHIBITION AND SALE OF PAINTINGS, TEXTILES, PRINTS, PHOTOGRAPHS, DRAWINGS, WORKS ON PAPER AND VARIOUS GIFT MATERIALS, ACCOMPANYING ITS EXHIBITIONS. INCOME FROM ALL SUCH SALES WILL SUPPORT THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF GRAD AND ITS PROGRAMMES.
Please contact the Director, Elena Sudakova MA, if you would be interested to contribute an essay to future publications from GRAD. We would welcome proposals from academics or curators in the field, particularly where these relate to our future exhibitions programme, which is outlined below.
GRAD’S FIRST EXHIBITION, OPENING IN JUNE 2013, WILL BE ENTITLED SEE USSR, THIS BEING THE SLOGAN ON ONE OF A RANGE OF SOVIET-ERA INTOURIST POSTERS WHICH WILL BE EXHIBITED IN LONDON FOR THE FIRST TIME, ALONG WITH MAGAZINES AND INTOURIST EPHEMERA. IN CONTRAST WITH THIS EXTERNAL SOVIET PUBLICITY WILL BE A RANGE OF INTERNAL PROPAGANDA ITEMS, INCLUDING TEXTILES. GRAD ALSO PLANS TO RECONSTRUCT AND PUBLISH THE POSTER ‘SEE USSR’ WHICH IS NOW KNOWN ONLY FROM PERIOD PHOTOGRAPHS. THIS WILL BE PUBLISHED BY CURWEN PRESS IN A LIMITED EDITION, REALISED IN COLOUR BY HENRY MILNER AND PRINTED BY STANLEY JONES, AFTER THE ORIGINAL DESIGN BY NIKOLAY ZHUKOV.
Please contact us for further information, including availability and price, of this and future GRAD publications.
GRAD’S LONGER-TERM GOAL IS TO ESTABLISH A PERMANENT MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN ART IN LONDON.

DIRECTOR’S LETTER

To all our supporters, and those with a general or scholarly interest in Russian art:
Welcome to GRAD and the first of our regular newsletters. With my background as director and curator of the GOST gallery in Moscow, and as a recent Masters graduate in Russian Art from the Courtauld Institute, I saw the need for a new focus on Russian Art in London. That is, to exhibit in Western Europe the graphic arts and other works from 20thC Russia both before and after the 1917 Revolution, and thereby contribute both breadth and depth to international awareness of this extraordinarily diverse and vibrant body of material.
We will be building on our strong connections with the major museums in Russia, and our relationships with the families of celebrated artists of the period, as well as encouraging a new critical awareness of some lesser-known contemporary artists. My colleagues and I have strong academic links, which will contribute to the scholarly approach taken in our forthcoming programme. Our exhibitions will be visually spectacular and historically well-founded, backed up by thoughtful and elegantly designed catalogues.
Our not-for-profit status ensures we will remain distinct from the commercial galleries operating in London. We look forward to your support in the years ahead, and to welcoming you to our newly refurbished space in Fitzrovia, central London’s ‘design district’.
Best wishes,
Elena Sudakova, Director

REVIEW

LISSITSKY — KABAKOV: UTOPIA AND REALITY
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, December 1 2012 – 28 April 2013
ILYA AND EMILIA KABAKOV: THE HAPPIEST MAN
Presented by Sprovieri Gallery London and Ambika P3, 27 March – 21 April 2013
This will be the story of three rooms in two extraordinary exhibitions, which collectively reveal, each in a highly suggestive setting, the paradoxes of the Soviet utopian goal. These rooms, El Lissitsky’s Proun Room (1923), reconstructed in 1971, and Ilya Kabakov’s installation The Man who Flew into Space from his Apartment (1985), both shown in Eindhoven, and the room of the eponymous Happiest Man, (2000, recreated 2012) installed in London, represent the before, during and after of the socialist dream.
In the spacious modern extension of the Vanabbemuseum we are led on an (ironically) red carpet through rooms in which the idealised spaces and constructions of Lissitsky are interposed with objects and spaces, often of a deliberately bathetic kind, made and curated by the Kabakovs. Lissitsky’s Prouns (a neologism meaning ‘Project for Asserting the New’), boldly suggest objects in flight with their geometrical spatial arrays. In the Proun Room, developed from a lithograph and realised at the Vanabbe, the Prouns and we ourselves are both grounded, enclosed, forced to consider both the ethereal ideal and the architectural reality of Lissitsky’s dream factory. John Milner explains: ‘The floating space of the picture, once anchored in the perspective system of the architectural drawing, can then be constructed. El Lissitsky made painting, design and architecture into one continuous spectrum of activity’ (John Milner Design: El Lissitsky, Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, 2009). This activity, moreover, was dedicated single-mindedly to the elaboration and promotion of the coming Soviet utopia.
In London we confront dream and reality in a single, vast and depressing setting, the gloomy basement that is the University of Westminster’s P3 exhibition space. A single room, poorly furnished yet homely, huddles within a theatre auditorium. Through the window we view, as if in reality, propaganda films of alternately brisk and sentimental images from the farm, the music hall and the river boat. We are quickly embraced by these visions of progress and prosperity, we become the happiest man. Leaving the room we see the images for what they are, projected on a distant screen beyond the rows of empty seats, a celluloid Utopia, unreachable in practice.
Back in Eindhoven the red carpet leads us to Ilya Kabakov’s defining installation, a small room plastered with propaganda posters into which we can peer, through a broken wall, just like the astonished neighbours in one of the associated drawings. A contraption of springs and cords hangs beneath the jagged hole in the ceiling through which the hero of the narrative, in private emulation of Yuri Gagarin and the cosmonauts of the Soviet space programme (and there is perhaps also a reference here to the Christian Ascension), has propelled himself beyond the confines of reality into a new and perhaps brighter personal Utopia. Is he dead or alive? We do not know and we may guess that the artist does not know either. Now an émigré himself, there is surely a degree of personal identification here between artist and narrative. The jaundiced yet nostalgic review of Soviet reality in the Kabakovs’ works shown here, the details of collective living as well as the magnificent but unrealised public projects, seems to be the view of artists who have rejected reality for a new Utopia in North America, but cannot quite let go of the socialist dream. Boris Groys writes of Ilya Kabakov’s ‘enlightened, sceptical attitude’, an artist for whom art is ‘about the chance to change existing circumstances or at least to escape them.’ To exchange one Utopia for another in fact.
Although you may have missed these two grand if disquieting shows, much can be gained from the substantial though expensive Van Abbe catalogue, and from Boris Groys’s slim and enjoyable book The Man who Flew into Space from his Apartment (Afterall Books,London 2006).
Richard Barling, April 2013

TAKE HOME MESSAGE

CONTACTING AND VISITING GRAD

TUESDAY – FRIDAY 11.00 – 19.00
SATURDAY 11.00 – 17.00
3-4a Little Portland Street W1W 7JB London
Tel: 020 7637 7274
info@grad-london.com