Pushkin House presents the exhibition of Yuri Sobolev as a part of our programme, which explores rarelyseen Russian art of the twentieth century.
Programme for the evening:
opening and drinks
musical tribute to the artist by Odaliska duo
(Vladimir Miller - piano, Adrian Northover - alto and soprano sax)
Q&A with Galina Metelichenko, widow of Yuri Sobolev & curator
Yuri Sobolev is considered a pioneer of multimedia art in the USSR and takes his rightful position as a significant figure in the Russian art of 1960-70s. This is his first international exhibition, which provides an overview of a forty-year career. The show features a video recording of the multiple-screen presentation for the Society of Industrial Design in Moscow in 1975, along with graphic works, slide-show and animation.
The Soviet 60s were marked by a revival of interest in the avant-garde art and synthetic artistic practices of the 20s. Sobolev’s work was informed by the avant-garde montage theory of Sergei Eisenstein, a pioneer of montage in film, and Alexander Rodchenko, who laid the foundations for the modern medium of photocollage. Sobolev sought to unify a large range of art forms and apply montage to both film and image. Thus the ideas of Eisenstein and Rodchenko received a new interpretation within a new genre - multimedia art.
The central piece of the exhibition is a video recording of Sobolev’s presentation for the Congress of International Society of Industrial Design (ISID) in 1975. The significance of the Congress for the Moscow cultural scene of that time is linked to VNIITE - the Research Institute of Industrial Aesthetics - which organised the Congress. Founded in 1962 VNIITE aimed at exploring the links between industrial design, behavioural and social science disciplines. This synthetic approach to design was similar to that of the avant-garde artists of the 1920s. VNIITE gave its members a ‘legal’ opportunity to research the avant-garde legacy banned in the Soviet Union. It became the centre of experimental creative practices, and came to be seen as the most open institution behind the iron curtain and became a member-organisation of ISID in 1971.
It was the only time when the presentation was showcased in a public space. Soon after the Congress it was labeled ‘ideologically dubious’ by the official Soviet authorities and banned. Fortunately the video recording of the presentation was preserved and will be shown at the exhibition.
Prohibited in the USSR, Sobolev’s experimental practices coincided with the rise of multimedia art in the West. Eventually the experiments with the new media and technology led to the emergence of a powerful new genre. This exhibition highlights the emergence of Soviet multimedia art and reveals its place in the context of a broader, global art history.
Sobolev was involved with VNIITE and worked in its satellite journals Decorative Arts and Knowledge-Power. The 1975 Congress provided a rare opportunity for Sobolev to showcase his experimental work. Sobolev arranged his presentation on 30 screens showing images of contemporary technology and mass produced objects juxtaposed with art of various historical periods. The presentation was a piece of innovative multimedia art, revolutionary in both technical and aesthetic senses. While working for the journals, Sobolev became aware of new technologies in publishing. The modular publishing system, which helped to organise texts and images on a page, was adopted by Sobolev as a method for arranging his presentation. It allowed him to create layered imagery and express the idea of montage in a new way.
A large retrospective exhibition dedicated to the work of Sobolev was held at the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art (2014), Centre for Contemporary Art Zarya in Vladivostok (2016). In 2017 his works will be exhibited at the Kumu Kunstimuuseum, Tallinn.
The exhibition features the works from the private collection of the artist’s widow Galina Metelichenko.
We would like to express our gratitude to 'Bespoke Framing' and personally Alex Mahoney for his kind support of the exhibition.