Do You Know How to Do This?
How a Dancer Became an Artist and Other Adventures of Alexandra Korsakova
Date: March 3 - July 2, 2023
Venue: The MMOMA Education Center, 17, Ermolayevsky lane

Curated by Oksana Voronina

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art is proud to present a new project titled «Do you know how to do this? How a Dancer Became an Artist and Other Adventures of Alexandra Korsakova». The show is a part of the Collection. Vantage Point program, ran by MMOMA Education Center. It intends to introduce the viewer to the significant collection of Korsakova’s artworks in the museum’s holdings.

Alexandra Korsakova developed as a character and as an artist in the 1920s. However, the impulse for true realization came only with the Krushchev Thaw. The artistic problems of the first third of the century became relevant again. The beloved of one of the leaders of the national avant-garde Vladimir Tatlin, Alexandra Korsakova became the guardian of the artistic tradition. Her joint work on theatrical productions of the early 1950s with Vladimir Tatlin and the role of his companion determined to a large extent her further independent path.

In her work she often searched for ways to embody the images of those who influenced the formation of modern artistic thinking: Charles Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Velimir Khlebnikov, Marina Tsvetaeva, Mikhail Bulgakov, Nikolai Klyuyev. Vladimir Tatlin stands out in this logocentric «genealogy» of modernity. Korsakova devoted to him a whole separate cycle with complex autobiographical compositions.

Korsakova deliberately blurred the boundaries between the art and life of the artists she portrayed. She created not only portraits of her heroes, but also graphic or pictorial interpretations of their works. The energetic, «acrobatic» stroke that captures the rapid movement becomes her most important artistic device. Reflecting the other side of Korsakova’s creative nature is the «unfocused» image, forcing to guess itself and as if slipping away. This experience played an important role in the formation of the artist’s own image, covered with mystery.

The exhibition is held on two floors of the MMOMA Educational Center and consists of a prologue, five sections and several «immersion zones». These help the viewer to better understand the artist and her creative method. They also outline various connections in the culture of the twentieth century. The exhibition includes Korsakova’s graphic works, archival material, printed editions about the artist, her favorite books. The documentary film In Search of Alexandra (1990) and several video interviews prepared for the exhibition expand the context the project. The exhibition is based on Korsakova’s works in the collections of the MMOMA. It also features copies of works and archival materials from the collections of the Dahl Russian State Literary Museum, the Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum, the Dostoevsky Literary Memorial Museum (St. Petersburg), the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, etc.

The Collection. Vantage Point program

Collection. Vantage Point is a long-term exhibition program developed specifically for the MMOMA Education Center in addition to the series of large-scale thematic exhibitions that have become emblematic for the museum. One of the program’s distinguishing features is a different, more focused and intimate approach to the study and demonstration of museum collections, as well as a much more dynamic rhythm of the exhibition. The program combines exhibitions of various types — from monographic and archival to interdisciplinary. Intended to explore individual segments of the collection, these essentially laboratory projects often address private, non-mainstream, artistic subjects and allow new exhibition solutions to be tested. The program provides an opportunity to consider a wide range of phenomena — names, trends, images and ideas in the Russian art of the XX–XXI centuries from different positions and perspectives. In turn, the museum collection itself serves as a unique resource and a convenient ‘vantage point’ for talking about art, history, science, and culture in general.

The program was launched at the end of 2017 and is implemented by the curatorial staff of the Research Department of MMOMA.

The program is authored by Andrey Egorov and Anna Arutyunyan.

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