Anniversary of contemporary art. MMOMA 99/19 guide

January 18, 2020

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the exhibition ‘MMOMA 99/19' held on the occasion. Three floors of the mansion on Petrovka now house 20 themed venues created by star art curators displaying exhibits from collections of different years. The exhibition reflects their perspectives both on the Museum's holdings and on contemporary art in particular.

Read in collaborative article by and Mosgortur Agency about the exhibition's highlights.

Sailing the seas with Fyodor Konyukhov

Fyodor Konyukhov, a traveller and researcher, the art curator of the Navigation Hall, has chosen works by artists Sergei Shablavin and Vyacheslav Koleichuk, and photographs by Yuri Vikulin for his site's design.

Sergei Shablavin, a cybernetic physicist by education, has long been interested in abstract painting. His works combining urban and natural landscapes have appealed to Konyukhov. Guests of the anniversary exhibition can view his painting 'Intersection of Times'. The image of the river featuring several circles turns into a kind of optical illusion.

Next to Shablavin's works, you will see a Space concave mirror created by Vyacheslav Koleichuk, a representative of Russian kinetic art. Konyukhov believes that, if you take a close look at this work, you can feel like a traveller looking at the starry sky.

This Hall is dominated by round exhibits. According to the curator, such paintings refer to the ship's wheel, a constant companion of every navigator.

On air with Andrei Malakhov

The Television Hall invites visitors to sit on the sofa in front of an improvised TV screen and watch a fragment of a talk show with Andrei Malakhov, one of the project curators. The host has decided to talk about the images broadcast from TV screens, how they transform influenced by trends and audience expectations.

However, Andrei Malakhov speaks not only about his professional activities, but his passion for art, too. A large bronze butterfly by Yevgeny Antufyev refers to the host's personal collection, as he owns some works by this artist, too.

A series of photographs by Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro, Malakhov's acquaintance, are about pop culture. Pictures framing a hand-made TV screen feature the photographer cosplaying Alla Pugacheva. The talk show's central figure on the screen is also Mamyshev-Monro wearing a red wig.

There are paintings by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall, images of men and women, and amorous scenes on the next wall. The art curator says 'the viewer should feel like a peeper' when looking at them. This theme further unfolds at the exhibition of Alexander Petrelli's 'Coat' gallery. The coat’s lining open to the audience has abstract portraits, books, and transparent bags that look like modern clutches.

'This space raises the issues of open and close matters on TV. The curator is also trying to answer the question of whether you can protect your privacy from intrusion if you are a TV host,' explains Diana Dzhangveladze.

Perfumer's art with Frederic Malle

The curator of the Perfumery Art Hall is Frederic Malle, a French entrepreneur and founder of a perfume brand. His grandfather was one of the founders of Parfums Christian Dior. His mother worked for this company as a Development Director. Frederic always associates fragrance with colour, that is why his hall's design is about the interplay of colour, light and fragrance.

According to his concept, the hall should not be very bright, so that nothing distracts guests from exploring the works presented. Also, there must be the branded fragrance in the air.

'The fragrance you can feel is a portrait of a lady created by Dominique Ropion, one of the best perfumers in the world. This is his masterpiece. It stands out by its warmth and fullness cold places like Russia lack so much. The fragrance completes this composition perfectly,' explains Frederic Malle.

He is fond of mixing things, and this is true both for creating fragrances and collecting art. Abstract paintings by graphic artist and sculptor Joan Miró go well together with the bright canvases of Tamara Ter-Gevondyan. Malle discovered this artist while working on the MOMMA's anniversary exhibition. These items are complemented by Vyacheslav Koleichuk's 'Moebius', a kinetic sculpture shaped as a closed metal band.

 Vyacheslav Koleichuk. Moebius

Visiting pages of the past with Oleg Voskoboinikov

The medievalist and translator Oleg Voskoboinikov dedicated his venue to the dialogue of contemporary and medieval art.

'I asked my museum colleagues to choose something medieval from the holdings, but with a modern twist. I think that the image of a person in art is a decent topic to discuss together and to address the audience with. At the same time, I wanted to make a traveller stop in the middle of the display and tell him: 'Think for a while'. I believe that this spot is a place to rest, have a break,' he says.

There are just a few exhibits in the History Hall, with 'Composition with a Shovel' by Andrei Grositsky being one of its highlights. Voskoboinikov invites visitors to focus on the shovel. The curator points that work has become both a curse and a blessing for humankind, its fate, and a metaphor for the earthly path.

'When I took a look at the photo of this picture, I realised that the shovel can tell the viewer a lot, and put him or her on a better footing. There is also some optimistic flavour in this work — though it is a vintage shovel with a broken handle, it looks reliable, it gives a sense of safety,' he said.

The paintings 'Birds Flying Inside the Head' by Leonid Tishkov, 'Little Witch' by Mikhail Grobman, 'War' by Boris Anisfeld, 'Selfportrait' by Dmitry Prigov, and Komar and Melamid's urban angels diptych elaborate on man’s earthly journey. The work embodies the curator's idea that 'We are born to shovel, but at the end we return to heaven'.

Going to the theatre with Kirill Serebrennikov

Director Kirill Serebrennikov is an art curator of the Theatre Hall. He believes that a theatre builds up on internal and external, social and economic clashes. So the space is centred around conflict.

You will find messages to the Museum employees on the hall's walls reading: 'I don't like the way the pictures are arranged in the hall', 'I find it annoying that they don't understand me...', 'They never let me change anything', 'I CONFLICT with them...'. There is an inscription next to the fire locker reading: '...this wall hydrant has ruined the design, this corner is disgusting to look at... I don't want to have anything to do with this mess. I wanted to cancel everything.' This is just a practical joke, a game, a theatrical drama, but still it tells a lot about confrontation.

Social conflicts are mentioned in the documentary photographs by Timofei Parshchikov and Sergei Bratkov, which captured the life of Russian province in its true colours, with its dirty yards, street children and abandoned buildings. Vladislav Mamyshev-Monro, who looks like Zhanna Aguzarova in the photo, and Anatoly Osmolovsky, who has climbed the monument to Vladimir Mayakovsky, protest against boredom and routine.

You will find some exhibits in the Theatre Hall placed under the ceiling. Two neon signs hide behind a large banner with a slogan 'You'd better go to work' reading: 'I want everyone's money' by Diego Tonus and Anonymous, and 'Malevich sold here' by Alexander Kosolapov from the Malevich-Marlboro series.

Museum as art by Zurab Tsereteli

The 20th hall is about the Museum. The Art/Museum space is the first and the last hall visitors see.

Art curator Zurab Tsereteli has arranged here three paintings and two videos. In the centre you will see 'Three Graces' by Vasily Shukhayev, Tsereteli’s teacher at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts, with Zurab's works on both sides, a preliminary sketch and the final version of Tsereteli's 'Song of Tbilisi' thesis, which he wanted to defend, but the commission did not accept the works — the artist was refused for being too formalistic. In a short time, he had to make another work, which he defended with flying colours.

The videos on the displays are a series of interviews with artists and sculptors, and a chronicle of the MMOMA opening in 1999. Black-and-white archive footage shows how it all started and what the Moscow Museum of Modern Art was like in the first days of its existence.

The exhibition will run until 17 May.


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