SAAS Gallery opens the exhibition of the classic Russian expressionism artist, Alexander Labas this summer.
Labas’ work is showcased in several museums across the world, including but not exclusive to the MoMA (New York), J. Paul Getty Museum, The State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), The Pushkin Museum (Moscow), The Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg), and also amongst several private collections. In England, his works have been exhibited since the 1930s. Labas’ most recent masterpieces were on display at the exhibition Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932 in The Royal Academy of Arts in 2017. This year his work is on exhibition at the Grand Palais et le Centre Pompidou (Paris) exhibition Rouge until the 1stof July, 2019 and in London at SAAS Gallery.
“We are completely delighted and honoured to be showcasing this important collection and body of work from Alexander Labas’ and pleased that the family has entrusted this to The Saas Gallery.” commented Sofya Abbott, Gallery Founder and Owner
The name of the exhibition originated through a piece of work by Alexander Labas’ contemporary and English poet, Wystan H. Auden’s “The Age of Anxiety”, which encapsulates the turbulences and fluctuations from high anxiety to peacefulness and calmness that was experienced globally throughout the 20thCentury.
“I would like to live through the entire 20thcentury. It is the most astonishing age, the epoch of impressive discoveries, revolutions in life, science, technique, and art. Thisalloccurredbeforemyeyes. Everything was a real experience and in many aspects is related to my own participation. I am sure that with every decade my works will be clearer, and in fifty or hundred years they will gain full force and will reflect our time, which I seem to feel in detail and could understand the very complex events of our fabulous 20thcentury. To my surprise, I was born “in the right time”, and I fit into this century like no one else”, taken from Alexander Labas in his memoirs.
Alexander Labas’ selected works were inspired by his own heritage and are meant to represent these different time periods of the 20thCentury, the graphic works of the 1920s and 1930s, World War II, the peaceful fifties, the swinging sixties and the fantastic seventies. SAAS Gallery will be using ‘The Age Calm and Anxiety’ exhibition to explore the journey of English life through the decades of the 20thCentury. Curators have since made an interesting assumption – if a great artist is locked in a cave and given paints and canvases, he will still be contemporary to the epoch he is living in.
Labas was not able to leave Russia during the time of the Soviet Union’s Communist regime, as the authorities heavily persecuted artists during this time. He was prohibited from visiting England, however, his passion and desire to see and understand England and English life never left him and was manifested in his art. Despite being unable to meet influencers of the time across the years’ such as English socialites, artists, writers and musicians of the 1920s, through to the late 70s; his works are still of great significance and offer an insight into an outsiders’ vision of England. Labas managed to correspond to the spirit of the time and style of each decade perfectly with his own vision of English life.