White Space Gallery is pleased to present an online exhibition of private art collection of St Petersburg interior designer Andrei Dmitriev.
Andrei Dmitriev, native of St Petersburg, successful and influential interior designer, started collecting works by Timur Novikov, Oleg Kotelnikov, Ivan Sotnikov, Andrei Krisanov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Babi Badalov and other New Artists in the 1980s. He bought their paintings fresh from the studio and was part of the process, knowing the artists personally. Andrei Dmitriev had a special connection with the Necrorealist Group of artists and film makers – Evgeny Yufit, Andrei Mertviy, Serp and others. His collection features some of the most important works of that period. He bought them with his heart giving support to many artists in post Perestroika period. His great eye for beauty and sense of aesthetics helped to spot the potential masterpieces.
In recent years Andrei Dmitriev lent many works from his collection to the museums. Historical 2010 exhibition Brushstroke at The State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, featured several paintings and photographs from his collection and illustrated in the catalogue.
Andrei Dmitriev lives and works in Florence.
New Artists and Necrorealists
The Leningrad underground art groups (1982-1990s) have rapidly gained international currency, enriching the lexicon of pop-culture and attracting the attention of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and John Cage. The New Artists and Necrorealist art-communities are considered the most important phenomena in the Russian art of the end of the XX century. Their works are in the collections of Centre Pompidou, Victoria and Albert Museum, Stedlijk Museum, Tate Modern, State Russian Museum, The Tretyakov and others.
In October 1982, Timur Novikov formed the New Artists group with Ivan Sotnikov, Oleg Kotelnikov, Kirill Khazanovich, Evgenii Kozlov, Georgy Gurianov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Sergey Bugaev-Africa , Vladislav Gutsevich, Andrei Medvedev , Andrei Krisanov and Inal Savchenkov. By the end of 1980s the group consisted of more than 70 people.
Interest in the “New” and “zeroing” of art as a formal institution contributed to an unprecedented artistic attempt to “rewrite” the tradition of painting and murals and the entire world. The “New” constituted a vibrant creative collaborations where the artist could combine being an artist as well as a musician, actor, poet and writer. The New Artists started a parallel cinema led by the director and film actor Evgeny Yufit and a Pirate Television.
In 1984 Yufit created Necrorelialist art group based in his Mzhalalafilm film studio. Necrorealist group included artists I. Bezrukov, A. Kurmayartsev-Dead, V. Kustov, S. Barek-Hammer and others. In 1985 the “New” became involved in iconic Leningrad rock club. The leader of rock band Kino, Viktor Tsoi, also started making art and exhibiting with the New Artists. They participated in Sergei Kuryokhin’s performances of Pop-Mechanics orchestra. American rock singer Joanna Stingray smuggled art works by Timur Novikov and the New Artists to Andy Warhol, who in return send them back his signed tomato soup cans as presents.
The artistic language of the New Artists developed behind the Iron Curtain as a parallel movement to Neo-expressionism, or the New Wave (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente and many others). After the Perestroika the “New” exhibited internationally. Their energy has inspired the film director Sergei Solovyov to create iconic Russian film Assa with Sergei Bugaev-Africa as a leading actor. Timur Novikov and Sergei Bugaev-Africa began to build a collection of paintings By New Artists which they later gave her the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg. In the early 1990s the State Russian Museum pioneered newest artistic trends. For the museum which was created in 1920 by Nicholas Punin, an ideologist of the Russian avant-garde, the art of the “New” was a natural extension of the Russian avant-garde painting.
Timur Novikov (1958 – 2002) lived and worked in St Petersburg. Artist, art theorist, writer and musician. In 1982 became a founder and theorist of the New Artists movement. He performed in concerts with Sergei Kuryokhin’s Popular Mechanics orchestra and the rock group Kino. In 1986, he co-founded the Club of Friends of V. V. Mayakovsky and in 1989 he founded the New Academy of Fine Arts, which he ran as part of an alternative education institute which he called the Leningrad Free University. In 1990 undertook a placement with Pontus Hultén at the Institute of Plastic Arts in Paris. Novikov’s lectures on the history of contemporary art were transcribed and published in 2003. His work is included in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; MUMOK, Vienna; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; Tate, London; The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. In 2017 his textile piece was shown at the Centre Pompidou in the exhibition Kollektsia!
Ivan Sotnikov (1961-2015) lived and worked in St Petersburg, where he studied art and photography at the Aleksandrov Professional Lycée, and later at the Orthodox Saint Tikhon Theological University, Moscow (2002–06). Over the years he worked with folkloric symbol systems, sound-extractions, music, cinema, publishing, and journalism. In 1996, he was ordained as a Russian Orthodox priest and from the late 1990s served in a parish in the village of Rogavka situated between Novgorod and St Petersburg. In 2015, The New Museum in St Petersburg held Ivan Sotnikov: Painting of the 20th-21st Century, the artist’s first retrospective exhibition with over 100 works produced from the 1980s to the present decade, from public (the Russian Museum and Novy Museum) and private collections. His works are in the collections of The State Russian Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Centre Pompidou.
Oleg Kotelnikov (born 1958, St Petersburg) have been closely tied with the underground culture of St Petersburg (Leningrad) – the New Academy of Fine Arts and the group New Artists, as well as expressions of independent cinema and music. The activities of Oleg Kotelnikov in painting, cinematography, animation and poetry both then and now are united by witty commentary that reacts to the events of the time.
His solo exhibition at ASSA gallery in St Petersburg in 1983 marked the start of the ‘wild’ painting style of the New Artists. He was an artist member of the famous Russian rock group Kino. In 1986 he wrote a manifesto on the Necrorealism movement, together with Yevgeny Yufit. Kotelnikov made animation films for the Parallel Cinema studios Mzhalala Film and Chepaev, and his animations appear in the iconic Perestroika era film ASSA (1987). In addition he performed in concerts with Sergei Kuryokhin’s Popular Mechanics orchestra and played with many rock bands. He directed music videos for Joanna Stingray and designed books about the work of Timur Novikov. He created artist’s books in collaboration with Yevgeny Kozlov and painted joint pictures with Ivan Sotnikov.
Kotelnikov created the Polar Projects series of exhibitions designed to replace the traditional East/West and North/South cultural orientation (1994). Realised the North/South project in collaboration with Andrei Medvedev at the Museum of the Arctic and Antarctic in St Petersburg (1997). Oleg Kotelnikov’s works are in the major collections, including The State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, MOMA in Moscow and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Evgeny Yufit (1961 – 2016) lived and worked in St Petersburg and Peterhoff, Russia. The founder of the Necrorealism movement, St Petersburg-based painter, photographer and film maker Evgeny Yufit was concerned with the representation of death and psycho-pathological processes connected to this theme. He was a key driver of Russia’s unauthorised Parallel Cinema, and the loose movement that came to be known as Necrorealism. In the early eighties, Yevgeny Yufit started filming and directing in Leningrad ‘performances’ in public spaces, and so a new genre in the history of cinema was born, as a branch of Soviet Parallel Cinema: Necrorealism. Inspired by images in the Atlas of Legal Medicine by Eduard von Hoffman, Mack Sennett’s slapstick style of the 1910s, the shock aesthetics of the French avant-garde, as well as silent films from the beginning of the 20th century and the unrestrained eccentricity of the Soviet cinema of the 1920s, Yufit’s first shorts show absurd and morbid events with a preoccupation of all things related to death, larded with black humor. Later, Yufit started shooting features finally resulting in three films centred around themes like reverse evolution and scientific eugenic experiments. Yufit has for the last few years been out of the public eye. But his strong cult following around the globe remains among fans of extreme imagination and black wit, many of whom discovered his bizarre shorts for the first time in the recesses of the internet, and cherish the shock and delight they provoke. Yufit died just before Christmas at the age of 55 in a loss not widely reported in the media, but deeply felt by those who care about radical cinema. We look back on the energy and abandon of his rule-shattering films. His paintings, photographs and films were shown in State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, MOMA in Moscow and Centre Pompidou in Paris. This year Centre Pompidou in Paris and Le Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival (LUFF) organised his film screenings.