2 April–25 May 2014
Calvert 22 Foundation
22 Calvert Avenue
London E2 7JP
Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High St / Old St / Liverpool St
Hours: Wednesday–Sunday noon–6pm,
First Thursdays noon–9pm
T +44 (0) 20 7613 2141
Artists: Sergei ‘Afrika’ Bugaev / Sergei Chernov / Sergei Dobrotvorsky / Alexei ‘Willie’ Feoktistov / Konstantin Goncharov / Georgy Gurjanov / Yevgeny ‘Debil’ Kondratiev / Oleg Kotelnikov / (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov / Irena Kuksenaite / Victor Kuznetsov / Yuris Lesnik / Stanislav Makarov / Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe / Oleg Maslov / Bella Matveeva / Andrei Medvedev / Ivan Movsesyan / Timur Novikov / Egor Ostrov / Vadim Ovchinnikov / Ivetta Pomerantseva / Inal Savchenkov / Kirill Sluchainy / Ivan Sotnikov / Joulia Strauss / Olga Tobreluts / Viktor Tsoi / Andrei Venclova / Igor Veritchev / Denis Yegelsky / Yevgeny Yufit
The first UK group exhibition of work by the New Artists and the New Academy; two movements founded in St Petersburg by the artist Timur Novikov (1985–2002). The exhibition takes its title from the Club of Friends of V.V. Mayakovsky, which was founded by Novikov as an expression of the New Artists’ creative freedom in the context of perestroika.
In 1988, as the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost was gathering momentum in the former Soviet Union, an exhibition took place at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. It was titled Glasnost I Kulturhuset, New Artists from Leningrad, and was the first international show of the Leningrad avant-garde (the New Artists) in the West. The exhibition travelled in a smaller form to arrive finally in the UK at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool, where it acted as the backdrop to a performance by Popular Mechanics, an orchestra that created a synthesis of music and art under the direction of the experimental composer Sergei Kuryokhin. Twenty-five years later, this moment underpins the exhibition Club of Friends at Calvert 22 Gallery.
The New Artists—Oleg Kotelnikov, Ivan Sotnikov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Inal Savchenkov, Viktor Tsoi, (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov and Sergei ‘Afrika’ Bugaev—broke away from the official Leningrad art scene and rejected formal art education in favour of a more open-ended system of self-education and multi-disciplinary relationships. First operating out of a communal flat in a former church in central Leningrad, and then from informal spaces such as Novikov’s ASSA gallery, the group held a series of influential exhibitions, gigs, screenings and parties throughout the 1980s.
In 1989, during a critical time of political, ideological and economic transition in Russia, Novikov decided to radically change his aesthetic and founded the New Academy; electing to follow the Old Masters and seeking out an ideal past within European culture.
The exhibition is curated by Ekaterina Andreeva and brings together painting, video, graphic and archival material to present the work and life of a generation of figures whose experiments in art, collective creative practice and sexual representation remain groundbreaking to this day.
The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.
Talks and events
Thursday 3 April, 7–8:30pm
Ekaterina Andreeva, curator of Club of Friends, discusses the exhibition in conversation with David Thorp. The exhibition will be open until 9pm as part of First Thursdays.
Panel discussion: From Stalin to Sochi
Thursday 8 May, 7–9pm
What is behind the recent political homophobia in Putin’s Russia? What is the background that led to Russia’s new law against ‘propaganda for homosexuality’? Dan Healey, Professor of Modern Russian History, Oxford University; Maria Dudko, Founder of the Moscow Experimental School of Gender Studies and Svitlana Biedarieva, PhD Researcher at the Courtauld Institute of Art, will discuss the current political situation in Russia with a focus on gender, sexuality and censorship. Chaired by Mark Nash.
Talk and live music event: Utyugon
Wednesday 21 May, 7pm
St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch
Free entry. Booking is essential.
Cultural historian and BBC broadcaster Alexander Kan discusses the history of the utyugon and charts the New Artists’ associations with the Russian rock band Kino, the Popular Mechanics orchestra and the New Composers. Followed by a live music performance on a custom-built utyugon, with Ivan Sotnikov and Aza Shade, lead singer of London-based no wave band Manflu.
Panel discussion: Art education in Britain and Russia in the post-communist era
Monday 26 May, 7–9pm
A panel discussion reflecting on points of commonality and difference within art education in Britain and Russia today.
Panellists include Dr Richard Noble, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Goldsmiths University of London; Joseph Backstein, founder and director of the Institute of Contemporary Art (Moscow); Olesya Turkina,curator, critic and tutor atSmolny College Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, St. Petersburg State University.
About Calvert 22 Gallery
Calvert 22 Gallery is the only not-for-profit institution dedicated to presenting the contemporary art of Russia and Eastern Europe to UK audiences. We present a dynamic programme of exhibitions, talks and cross-disciplinary events with both emergent and established artists. Founded in 2009, Calvert 22 Gallery gathers the most active voices from the region to investigate current directions in artistic practice and theory relating to the ‘former East.’ Calvert 22 Gallery is an initiative of the Calvert 22 Foundation.
*Georgy Gurjanov, (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov, Timur Novikov, Igor Veritchev at Evgenij Kozlov’s place; Galaxy Gallery, 1987. Photo: Paquita Escofet Miro. Courtesy of (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov and Hannelore Fobo.