Russian avant-garde art on display at Sakıp Sabancı Museum

Russian avant-garde art on display at Sakıp Sabancı Museum

Russian avant-garde art on display at Sakıp Sabancı Museum


The Sakıp Sabancı Museum is hosting the most comprehensive exhibition in Turkey featuring Russian avant-garde, which shaped the art world in the 20th century. 

The exhibition sponsored by Sabancı Holding, titled “Dreaming the Future: Russian Avant-garde Art and Design,” opened on Oct. 18 and features a comprehensive anthology of the Russian avant-garde. 

Russian avant-garde art on display at Sakıp Sabancı Museum

Curated by Nazan Ölçer, the head of Sakıp Sabancı Museum, and Maria Tsantsanoglou, the head of the George Costakis Collection at State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, the work contains a selection of 513 works from Moscow’s All-Russian Museum of Decorative Arts and Multimedia Art Museum and works from leading private collections in Europe shown together for the first time, as well as the Costakis Collection. It is shedding light on the important place Russian avant-garde occupied in the history of art. 

Focusing on one of the most sensational periods of 20th century art history, the exhibition represents the fertile productivity of the entire period and the activities of the artists and the schools that aimed to spread their art to every aspect of life with a selection including paintings, design, literature, film and theater. 

It does not only focus on the dramatic changes and radical developments that happened during the first quarter of the 20th century and prepared the groundwork for intellectual and artistic progress, not just within the Russian artistic culture, but it is designed to hold a mirror to the effect on world art. 

The exhibition shows that Russian avant-garde artists in the early 1900s tried to introduce art as a life-changing power, the ground-breaking work of the artists in this period where the reformist atmosphere had been brought about by the October Revolution in 1917, and the social design they tried to put into practice supported by the new regime and also the wide boundaries of the future they dreamt of. The exciting technological developments and industrialization that occurred in the early 20th century turned the avant-garde artists towards science and overcoming the boundaries of the earth. Dreams of space reflected the beliefs the artists had for the future, and this is very vividly reflected in the works displayed in this exhibition. 

George Costakis Collection 

One of the world’s most important Russian avant-garde collections, the George Costakis Collection at Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art forms the basis of the exhibition. 

The George Costakis Collection of Russian avant-garde contains works by important artists which are part of the exhibition including Kazimir Malevich, the creator of art history’s iconic Black Square, Vladimir Tatlin, the pioneer of a new period of artistic theory where he obscured the boundaries between art and production, and Alexander Rodchenko, the courageous pioneer of photography, painting, sculpture and graphic art. 

Again, from the George Costakis Collection are works by representatives of the many female artists of the period such as Olga Rozanova, whose work was based on interaction between text and depiction, Lyubov Popova, who with her set designs contributed to the transformation of plays into the language of the theater, and Natalia Goncharova, who turned towards Russian folk art and undertook a determining role in Russian avant-garde. 

The exhibition is the first time the works of all the big names representing this turning point in 20th century art history come together in Turkey. 

In the research into how the new art and society should be constructed, the applied artwork that reflect Russian avant-garde, which also considers Russian folk art, the collection of the examples of design covering all fields borrowed from the Moscow All-Russian Museum of Decorative Arts show the scope of the ideals of the Russian avant-garde to reorganize life and the history of people’s relationship with art. 

The large photo anthology of documentary character from the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum, which also houses the photo archive of the great name of Russian avant-garde Alexander Rodchenko, shows the compatibility of the Russian avant-garde with new technology and opens a window to the private world of the artists. 

During the exhibition, which will run through April 1, 2019, films, concerts, literary events and workshops for children and adults will also cover the different disciplines of Russian avant-garde in depth.