New Archives June 5th - 30th

New Archives June 5th - 30th

In June the art gallery on New Holland will present an exhibition project curated by Peter Belyi, New Archive

New Archive consists of four exhibitions, four chapters in the history of St Petersburg’s art over the last twenty years. Events from the late 1980s will be recreated in the gallery space with Schizorevolution, from the early 1990s in Retromutants, from the the late 1990s and early 2000s in The New Blockheads. The last of the four chapters is Navicula Artis, an exhibition which unites them all. 

Taken together, the four exhibitions present a number of unique and meaningful phenomena, missing links in the chain of urban myth and parallel culture that are so often unremarked by or hidden from the wider public. ‘St Petersburg is like a protected parkland, preserving things long disappeared from the wider world, such as traditions, small communities, even, in some sense, fellowship. We have heard of course of the globalisation of art with its international rules, its transformation into an industry, but that is all far off, somewhere “over there”. Perhaps in this disorganisation lies strength.’ Curator Peter Belyi.

June 5th – 10th: Schizorevolution 

Schizorevolution looks at the cultural revolution in Leningrad/St Petersburg in the late twentieth century. Timur Novikov, Svin (Andrey Panov), Viktor Tsoi, Oleg Grigoryev, Vadim Ovchinnikov and other heroes of this still little-studied period are represented by their material world: unique archive materials, documents, photographs, film and video, works of art, clothing, everyday objects, mail art, all gathered over the course of ten years by the artist and art historian Andrey Khlobystin. 

June 12th – 17th: Retromutants 

Retromutants is an exhibition of painting in the almost archaic sense of the word. The age of these pictures – some twenty years or so – is a mere nothing in terms of the history of art, but the exhibition looks at more than just the pictures themselves. It tells the story of those who created them, of the most fragile and sensitive members of society. Of the country which, after the asceticism of the Soviet period, drowned in information even as it thirstily drank it in. A generation of traditional young painters graduating in 1989 set forth in Russian style on the unknown path of the trans-avant-garde, mixing Francesco del Cossa and MTV, icon-painting and the German Democratic Republic. These Retromutant artists left us a unique picture of a time of destruction and hopes, of metaphysical professionalism in which training was no longer valued but was subordinated to the rapidly expanding consciousness. 

June 18th – 24th: The New Blockheads 

The brotherhood of the New Blockheads (Vadim Flyagin, Sergey Spirikhin, Igor Panin, Vladimir Kozin, Oleg Khvostov and Alexander Lyashko) made its official appearance in 1996. Desperate behaviour, absolute lack of money and the performance genre that was then still very rare in Russia together produced the ideal climate for this quite specific artistic phenomenon. Selflessly uniting modernism, the Leningrad absurdist tradition and the very latest in philosophical thought, the group occupied a niche as the city’s most marginal artists. They were responsible for more than seventy performances, among them Average Russian Sublime Stupidity, Vanka-Vstanka and The Tea Table Moves Towards the Sunset. The group officially ceased its actitivities in 2002. Later, the New Blockheads formed the basis for the PARASITE gallery project which, strategically continuing the aesthetics of the artist as anti-hero, played an important role in the formation of a number of notable young authors: Semyon Motolyanets, Dmitry Petukhov (the Mylo [Soap] group), Grigory Yushchenko and others. 

June 26th – 30th: Navicula Artis 

Navicula Artis was set up in 1992 by four graduates of St Petersburg University, Ivan Chechot, Gleb Ershov, Filipp Fedchin and Andrey Klyukanov. It was conceived from the very first as more of a project than a gallery intended to serve purely exhibition purposes. All the events held within the framework of Navicula Artis were in essence witty and fun performances, the ideas behind which went far beyond the format of any individual event. Art historians frequently performed the role of artist. The gallery was the first to discover many new artists of the new century, giving carte blanche to new artists and new names, among them Vadim Drapkin, Timur Novikov, Oleg Khvostov, Peter Belyi, Peter Shvetsov, Yury Alexandrov, Evgeny Zalmanov, Grigory Yushchenko, Oleg Shagapov, Igor Bryakilev, Ilya Gaponov and Kirill Khrustalev. The style of Navicula Artis lies in a conceptual approach to the exhibition project, in the precision and originality of the manner of exhibiting, and in the art-historical and critical assessment of the event. Over the twenty years of its existence the gallery has preserved its status as an independent non-commercial free institution. This exhibition includes artists who have worked closely with the gallery. The idea behind it lies in finding an important punctum, a link between the artist’s work and the City, in discovering the fetish that perfectly captures their almost romantic association.