A new exhibition is set to open at Manege Central Exhibition Hall as part of the VIII St. Petersburg International Cultural Forum. Entitled Deineka / Samokhvalov, it will provide an insight into the work of two outstanding Soviet-era painters – Alexander Deineka and Alexander Samokhvalov.
Deineka and Samokhvalov were members of two closely related artistic societies – OST (Obshchestvo khudozhnikov-stankovistov – the Society of Easel Painters) and Krug khudozhnikov (the Artists’ Circle). They worked on similar themes and created works of art which featured as their subjects Red Army soldiers, female athletes, miners and metro construction workers. Both of them were Soviet artists who were open to global trends. Deineka’s links were with Moscow, and Samokhvalov’s – with Leningrad.
Semyon Mikhailovsky, curator:
“It did not take us too long to decide upon how to structure the exhibition. We have two artists – one who worked in Moscow, the other in Leningrad. These are cities which stood in opposition to one another in various respects – in art and in sport. The artists themselves focused on very specific themes. These themes were singularly relevant ones, and demonstrated people’s involvement in the process of social transformation. We have war, with all-out mobilisation and extraordinary self-sacrifice; construction, with both men and women at the fore; sports competitions involving powerful masculine bodies; and the raising of the next generation, using examples of heroism displayed by earnest people.”
The curator has envisaged the hall being divided into six main sections: war and peace, work and sport, and heroes and children. Each section encompasses an internal dialogue with a great many conceptual and formal intersections.
Deineka / Samokhvalov will feature 300 exhibits from 37 museums and 9 private collections. These will include paintings, graphic works, sculptures, works of decorative and applied arts, and photographs.
The exhibition is being organised by the Russian Ministry of Culture, the St. Petersburg Committee for Culture, Manege and the Russian Culture Fund in cooperation with three museums: the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian Museum, and the Kursk Deineka Picture Gallery. It has been timed to coincide with the 120th anniversary of the birth of Alexander Deineka.
Curator: Semyon Mikhailovsky, Rector of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts; Commissioner of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Designer: Anton Gorlanov
The exhibition will be complemented by an additional programme, consisting of more than 15 events dedicated to culture in the 1930s–50s. There will be lectures on the development of fine art, architecture, fashion, cinema, sport, photography, and literature of the period. They will help visitors gain a true appreciation of the era in which the Soviet artists lived and worked.