Oleg Tselkov. Stranger
Date: March 02 — July 10, 2022
Venue: MMOMA, 10 Gogolevsky Boulevard

Curated by: Andrey Erofeev
Exhibition design by: Stepan Lukyanov

Moscow Museum of Modern Art in collaboration with Tsukanov Family Foundation presents the first full-scale retrospective exhibition of Oleg Tselkov, one of the most famous classics of Soviet nonconformist art.

Oleg Tselkov is a recognized pioneer of the difficult path of Russian unofficial art. He was expelled from classical art educational institutions, while his colleagues and peers recognized him as a genius, a miracle for the period of cultural restrictions and prohibitions. It was he who inspired many artists to break with socialist realism. Developing, contemporary art of the USSR increasingly picked up the latest Western trends, while one of its founders, Oleg Tselkov, at the dawn of his creativity preferred to turn to the Russian avant-garde of the early century and, in particular, to the Cubo-Futurists and Fauvists. In his original work one can also find features close to expressionism and surrealism, but Tselkov’s language itself, based on obvious examples, was exceptional and individual. Tselkov’s first works are saturated with direct references to the works of Konchalovsky, Matisse, Léger, Malevich.

By the 1980—90s, Tselkov’s style and philosophy had completed the process of formation, and he turned to a critique of the society of the spectacle, the faceless mass. His famous faces are both generalized masks, devoid of soul and guided by a single idea, and people of the future, archaic images of the past, and philosophers seeking universal happiness for humanity. At the same time, Tselkov himself denied in the fictional images a hint of criticism of totalitarianism, he believed that he was looking much deeper, into the very essence of the personality of modern man. At this point in his career, Tselkov finds himself closer to Western contemporaries Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon than to domestic non-conformists seeking to confront ideology.

The retrospective exhibition in the MMOMA demonstrates all periods and stages of Oleg Tselkov’s work and also gives the opportunity to follow the process of formation and apogee of the unique author’s style. The exhibition consists of 8 thematic and chronological sections covering the period of Tselkov’s creative activity from 1950s to 2020s in more than 100 works from 25 private and museum collections in Russia, France, Germany, Switzerland and the USA. Especially for the exhibition Kerber (Germany) with the participation of ABC Design (Moscow) published a catalog-essay of Oleg Tselkov, which includes about 900 works of the author. The designer of the catalog was Dmitry Mordvintsev.

Supported by the AZ Museum, the Andrey Cheglakov Foundation, and the State Tretyakov Gallery.


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