With some 50 artworks on display, the exhibition will bring together the variety of approaches to the cartoon-like aesthetics, presenting a range of techniques, developed by the contemporary Russian artists.
The grotesque pictures of lubok that are often supplied with sincere witty captions can be claimed to be the first examples of proto-comics and cartoons in Russian art. The imitations of lubok further appeared in the works of early 20th-century avant-garde artists, like Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and David Burlyuk.
The conceptualist artists like Victor Pivovarov, Gosha Ostretsov, Georgy Letichevsky, Leonid Tishkov and Andrei Bilzho choose to draw the inspiration for their pictorial im- agery from the children’s books illustrations, gradually extending its borders towards the realm of high art and releasing it from the initial narratives.
Russian conceptualists of the second wave - such as Pavel Pepperstein, Sergei Anu- friev, Arkady Nasonov, Nikita Alekseev, Alexander Savko and Evgeny Semenov – visualise the “children’s discourse” in the endless strips of comics-like pictures, com- piled as the “stream of consciousness” collages. The series of colour silkscreen prints called “Taro Cards”, produced by Elena Elagina, Igor Makarevich, and Maria
Konstantinova at the “Moscow Studio” of hand-made printing at the end of 1990s, appear exactly as comics strips, when the cards are left uncut.
Recognisably different from their conceptualist colleagues, Damir Muratov, Vasily Slonov and the “Blue Noses” group (Alexander Shaburov and Vyacheslav Mizin) de- liberately eliminate the “highbrow” traits in their cartoon-like artworks: balancing on the verge of the lofty and the lowly, they celebrate the inimitable humour of the folk.
By a means of pictorial aesthetics merged with story-telling, Yuri Albert, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Alexander Dzhikiya and the “Mitki” art collective take the capacity of cartoon-like art genre to the extreme: their works are set to compose the entire original epic with its iconography, mythology, and characters – be they the imaginary pro- tagonists, or the artists’ alter-egos themselves.
The exposition will be also complimented with the graphic works by the iconic Rus- sian cartoon-makes – with Boris Khrzhanovsky, Yuri Norshtein (“The Hedgehog in The Fog”, 1975) and Svetozar Kuzmich (“Nu, Pogodi!” series) among others.