(E-E) Ev.g.e.n.i.j ..K.o.z.l.o.v Berlin
(E-E) Evgenij Kozlov: exhibitions >> Leningrad 80s >>
PERESTROIKA IN THE AVANT-GARDE:
|Page 1: Introduction. From Stockholm to Liverpool. >>|
|Page 2: The New Artists exhibition at the Bluecoat Gallery >>|
|Page 3: The exhibition logo >>|
|Page 4: The Exhibition of Banners at the Tate Gallery Liverpool >>|
|Page 5 The Bluecoat Gallery press release|
Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool, 21 January-4 February
The New Artists
Members of the Club of Friends of Vladimir Mayakovsky
The Bluecoat Gallery press release
An (undated) Bluecoat press release announces the New Artists exhibition for the period from 7-28 January 1989, but this would have overlapped with the Copenhagen dates. The show was postponed to 21 January-4 February, which reduced the exhibition to two weeks instead of three.
An interesting detail is the presentation of the New Artists: both the press release as well as the poster introduce the artists as “members of the Club of Friends of Vladimir Vladimirovitch Mayakovsky”, and the press release presents Timur Novikov as “Chairman of the Fine Arts Section of the Club of Friends of V V Mayakovsky”.
The Bluecoat press release is actually a reprint of Timur Novikov's catalogue text for the exhibtion 7 Independent Artists from Leningrad (Young Unknowns Gallery, Feb 2nd - 27th, 1988, London) more >>, where Novikov introduced himself in the same way: as “Chairman of the Fine Arts Section of the Club of Friends of V V Mayakovsky”. This is in line with Novikov's promotion of the “Club of Friends of V. V. Maykovsky” as a new label for the New Artists.
The text itself is based on Novikov's "New Artists” text from 1986, a text Novikov wrote under his pseudonym Igor Potapov, where he already stressed the emergence the "Club of Friends of V V Mayakovsky". The relevant paragraph is at the end of the press release: "The 'New Artists' formed the Club of Friends of V V Mayakovsky with the purpose of strengthening and developing a patriotic, innovative tradition.…".
A different English translation is available in: The New Artists. Ed. by Ekaterina Andreeva and Nelly Podgorskaya. Moscow: Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2012, p. 27-31. The Russian text is available on Timur Novikov's website. Web. external link to the Russian text >>
I have discussed the paragraph in question in my article from 2020, The New Artists. Timur Novikov: Roots – E-E Kozlov: Cosmos more >>, especially in Chapter 1, Timur Novikov: native roots and western influences:
Note: As a result of using an earlier translation, the Bluecoat press release displays the same mistranslations as the exhibition catalogue for 7 Independent Artists from Leningrad. The correct translations have been added in squared brackets.
THE NEW ARTISTS
members of the Club of Friends of Vladimir Vladimirovitch Mayakovsky
The new year sees Liverpool play host to a major cultural event from Leningrad. Under the title Perestroika in the Avant Garde, there will be a concert by the group Pop Mechanica at St George1s Hall, a solo piano performance by Sergei Kuriokhin at the Bluecoat, and a lecture at the Tate on possibilities for the Russian avant garde under perestroika. These events will take place at the end of January/early February, and prior to this Bluecoat Gallery stages a three week exhibition by a group of artists whose history is given below:
THE HISTORY AND PRINCIPLES OF THE 'NEW ARTISTS', BY TIMUR NOVIKOV
(CHAIRMAN OF THE FINE ARTS SECTION OF THE CLUB OF FRIENDS OF V V MAYAKOVSKY).
The 'New 'Artists' are based mainly in Leningrad. They strive for innovation but this can't be considered the goal of the group. They term themselves '.New' as indication of age. They are 1ike brand-new trams, taking the place of obsolete, worn-out models on the metal track.
The group was formed from artists who have grown up since the new artistic atmosphere commenced in the Soviet Union. Right from the start they had the possibility of showing their work at official exhibitions and did not experience the overwhelming pressure of 'illicitness' so poisonous to the previous generation of artistic avant gardists. Democracy is one of the main marks of all the activity of the group. The artists strive for clarity of content and production of the most easily accessible media of expression, practising this accessibility especially in their exhibited work.
The ‘new Artists‘ antecedents, the 'Letopis' group, made its first appearance in 1977, forming around the artist Boris Koshbokhov [Koshelokhov] who had been painting for thirty-three years [who started painting at the age of thirty-three]. The main orientations of this group were expressionism and primitivism. It began its existence by exhibiting in the artists' flats or those of friends.
The young artists preferred mutual contacts and independence to then formal system of artistic education, rejected the latter, and embraced self-education. The wildness of their work shocked not only official but also 'leftist' artists and only with the greatest reluctance were they permitted to participate even in avant-garde exhibitions. Therefore the artists began to exhibit 'all over' - in parks, out-of-town beaches, in forests, on streets. It was only in 1979 that they organised the first officially sanctioned group exhibition.
As the years passed a new grouping appeared within 'Letopis' and in 1982 they styled themselves the 'New Artists'. The 'New Artists' are not so serious or dogmatic as their predecessors; something not fitting into theory is not commented upon, there is no battle of ideas, everyone likes and respects one another.
The artists have never exhibited for their own purposes, they interest a wide spectrum of youth culture. The world of cinema was the first to take notice and a relationship grew in which cinema workers began painting and the artists began to take part in screen animation, decoration of scenery and actual film-making.
A similar process can be observed in the new mutual relationship with music. In 1984 a parallel association appeared - the 'New Composers'.
Concerts were given at exhibitions of 'New Artists’, many painters began to involve themselves in musical activities, having contacts with such notable groups as ' Kino' , 'Strange Games' and 'Aquarium' . The greatest synthesis of music and Fine Art painters is reached at the concert of Sergei Kuriokhin's orchestra ' Popular Mechanics'. At these concerts yet another side of the 'New' cultural activity is revealed - the 'New Theatre', whose members perform on stage as one part of the performance as a whole. It is this music which accompanies this exhibition.
By working in various genres the artists educate themselves and gain both in personal insight and in general cognisance. Studying art they could not help noticing kindred movements in Western culture. For a time the movement was influenced by contemporary German and French art, also by American graffiti, comics and computer graphics. However the emergence of perestroika (reconstruction) stimulated self-consciousness and the victory of our own roots over Western influences.
The 'New Artists' formed the Club of Friends of V V Mayakovsky with the purpose of strengthening and developing a patriotic, innovative tradition. Almost all the artists joined along with composers, workers in the new theatres and cinema, several rock musicians, art experts and collectors. The club has no official status but manifests itself [The New Artists have no official status but manifest themselves] through various official youth organisations. In this way the artists preserve their informality and save themselves from inevitable bureaucratism and official obligations.
Perestroika in the Avant Garde is a Bluecoat/Ark presentation, made possible with the support of Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Arts.
Further details from the Bluecoat (051 709 5689/5297)
Research and Text: Hannelore Fobo, April / October 2020
uploaded 4 October 2020