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The New are here!
Curated by: Ekaterina Andreeva
Date: October 27 to December 9 2012
Venue: 17, Ermolaevskiy Lane

In October 1982 Timur Novikov, the Leningrad underground leader launched his own art group titled the New Artists. The group united Ivan Sotnikov, Oleg Kotelnikov, Kirill Khazanovich, Evgenij Kozlov, Georgy Gurjanov. Soon they were joined by Vadim Ovchinnikov, Sergei “Afrika” Bugaev, Vladislav Gutsevich, Andrei Medvedev, Andrei Krisanov and Inal Savchenkov. By the end of the 80s the group counted more than 70 members.

The New Artists were inspired by ideas of the Russian avant-garde, the Zero Culture and Larionov-Zdanevich’s Everythingism. They strived to revive the cultural space environmentally, transforming the surrounding life into art. The permanent creative process continued in the ASSA gallery, opened in Novikov’s room of the communal apartment. Their interest in the non-art did not mean denial of traditional artistic techniques such as painting or print. On the contrary, “zeroing” of art as an official institution in favor of the alternative friendly circle promoted an unusual creative competition in repainting the world surrounding in pictures and even in frescoes.

In the middle of the 1980s, the New Artists were a creative community uniting members who were artists, musicians, actors, poets, and writers at the same time. When Yevgeny Yufit, a parallel cinema director, joined the group they also became movie actors. In 1985, the New became artists of the celebrated Leningrad Rock Club. Viktor Tsoi, the lead singer, musician and author for the famous Leningrad rock-band “Kino”, took part in their exhibitions as a painter. The group members also partook in the performances of Sergei Kuriokhin’s Popular Mechanics orchestra.

In 1986, Joanna Stingray donated works by Novikov and Kotelnikov to Andy Warhol. Warhol became interested in the art of the New Artists and provided them with his own artworks in exchange. It became obvious that the group`s art of the early 80s was initially a structural unit of the international artistic language of neo-expressionism or the New Wave, which also included such artists as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and other artists, whose artworks were on the list of actual art masterpieces. Novikov’s Horizons, expressionist works by Kotelnikov and Sotnikov, concept collages and paintings by Ovchinnikov discovered their kinship with the German New Wilds (Neue Wilde), the Italian Transavantgarde, the American New Wave and the French Free art.

Since 1987 the New Artists have been exhibited in Europe and the USA. Their energy inspired film director Sergei Soloviev to produce the soon to become cult film “ASSA” starring Sergei Bugaev and Viktor Tsoi. In 1991, Novikov and Bugaev donated a collection of paintings by the New Artists to the Russian Museum, which re-launched the Department of Contemporary Art, initiated in the 1920s by the celebrated ideologue of the Russian avant-garde Nikolai Punin. This symbolic gift finalized the history of the group, whose revolutionary period reached its culmination point.

The MMOMA exhibition will present a range of 100 artworks by the New Artists from museums (the Russian Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery) and private collections of Moscow and St-Petersburg. It will contain paintings, prints, panels, collages, author’s books, mail art, films and video films, literary works. Each section will be accompanied with historical annotations and documentary archival materials.

The exhibition is curated by Ekaterina Andreeva, the leading academic researcher at the State Russian Museum, author of T.Novikov’s biography titled Timur. Lie only the Truth!, curator of the Brushstroke project (State Russian Museum, 2010), recognized as the best 2010 project of the State Russian Museum.