Selected works from the collection of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Владимир Янкилевский. Адам и Ева. 2005
Евгений Антуфьев. Без названия. Из серии «Бессмертие навсегда». 2015
Евгений Юфит. Уставшее солнце. 2011
Леонид Цхэ. Подготовка к вечерним торжествам. 2014
Ольга Чернышева. Машина. Из серии «Панорама». 2005
Date: September 23, 2021 — February 20, 2022
Venue: Nizhny Novgorod, Kremlin, b.6, Arsenal

Curated by: Olga Turchina, Anastasia Nefedova

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) is proud to present The Unnamable, an exhibition prepared especially for display at the Volgo-Vyatsky branch of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Nizhny Novgorod (Arsenal Center of Contemporary Art).

The project includes some of the most prominent and significant works of the authors, which occupy an important place in the history of Russian art from the 1920s to the present day. It should be pointed out that the themes of the exhibition and its specificity were developed in a dialogue with the artistic community of Nizhny Novgorod. The city itself, its history and peculiar atmosphere set the direction for thinking about the connection between the museum collection and the local context.

The artists featured in the exhibition are: Nikita Alekseev, Victor Alimpiev, Evgeny Antufiev, Tatyana Ahmetgalieva, Oleg Vasiliev, Kirill Garshin, Blue Soup Group, Alexandra Dementieva, Anya Zhelud, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Yuri Zlotnikov, Ilya Kabakov, Irina Korina, Andrey Kuzkin, Oleg Kulik, Taus Makhacheva, Andrei Monastyrski, Irina Nakhova, Yuri Nolev-Sobolev, Pavel Pepperstein, Viktor Pivovarov, Dmitry Prigov, Alexander Rodchenko, Evgeny Rukhin, Aidan Salakhova, Leonid Sokov, Leonid Tskhe, Olga Chernysheva, Ivan Chuikov, Sergey Sharshun, Mikhail Shvartsman, Vladimir Yankilevsky. Artists from Nizhny Novgorod have also contributed to the exhibition, they include: Anton Morokov, Andrey Olenev, Ivan Gray, Yakov Khorev, Vladimir Chernyshev, Your Mum’s Knight.

Nowadays, we are increasingly faced with events that we find difficult to give a name to. While we struggle to find ways of describing them, their true names elude us. Thinking about this issue has led the curators to explore the notion of the unnamable.

Throughout history various discourses and disciplines have referred to the unnamable: art, philosophy, music, drama, film, psychoanalysis, mathematics, and literature. When we look at art, we see that artists most closely approach the field of the unnameable, as something permanently present on the border between the visible and the implied, history and memory, birth and death. It is the manifestations and traces of this phenomenon that this exhibition explores.

The structure of the exhibition includes three blocks, each of which occupies a separate room: Archaeology of the Unnamable, Quicksilver Space, and Action/Immobility. Through the artworks, the curators examine different aspects of the unnamable: moments of its origins as a phenomenon and concept, forms of its embodiment, habitats and practices through which it is addressed by different authors. By exploring border territories, artists capture diverse voices, points of tension, allowing them to be heard and felt.

The project presented at the Arsenal is about the unnamed, so keenly felt today — disturbing and alarming in its uncertainty. Such uncertainty provokes misunderstanding and rejection in some cases, and fear and consternation in others. Asking questions about the nature of the unnamable, the reasons for its emergence and its role in the present, the curators trace its presence in key works of the 20th—21st centuries from the MMOMA collection.

About the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts:

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts is a museum complex that is currently in possession of one of the largest world art collections from Ancient Egypt and Greece to our days. Today the holdings of the museum contain around 700 000 art works of different epochs. The jewel of the collection is French art of the XIX — XX centuries — one of the most famous collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world. In January 2020, the Pushkin Museum was joined by the State Center for Contemporary Art with branches in Vladikavkaz, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg and Tomsk.

The Volgo-Vyatsky branch of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Nizhny Novgorod (Arsenal Center of Contemporary Art) is one of the leading regional institutions specializing in contemporary art. It is located in the Arsenal building in the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin. Since 1997 it has been implementing numerous exhibition and multidisciplinary projects, as well as educational, children’s and inclusive programs. Since 2020, it has been the Volgo-Vyatsky branch of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.