The Frenchness of Russian Art: Montaigne and Death

13 Sep 2021 – 2 Oct 2021

Regular hours

10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Russian American Cultural Center

New York
New York, United States

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An exhibition of drawings and collages


"The Frenchness of Russian Art: Montaigne and Death"
105 NY-110, Melville, NY 11747

September 13, 10 am – October 2, 6 pm
Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, free admission

Please write to racc.ny@mail.ru or call (347) 662 1456
The artist is available for interviews

The first part of the title above may appear in other exhibitions by Dmitry Borshch, as it refers broadly to French influences on himself and other artists from Russia; the second is unique to this exhibition, as it deals with one such influence: Montaigne's attitude towards death. On many pages in his Essays the subject is dealt with, inseparably from other subjects, so maybe the entire book influenced fourteen drawings and collages that Russian American Cultural Center will exhibit next month.

"Another reference in our exhibition's title is to 'The Englishness of English Art' by Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Dutchness of Dutch Art' by Christopher Brown, and similar writings. I acknowledge French influence on Russian arts which are certainly possessed of their own Russianness but is it separable from Dutch, German, Flemish, Byzantine and other influences? No," says Borshch.

He continues, "Montaigne's preoccupation with death, attempts to master fears of it are evident throughout the Essays. To him and many others the process of dying is more fearful than the state of being dead. Our entire life is that process; if accompanied by much illness, death becomes easier to confront, we are pushed towards, made familiar with it by serious illnesses. The philosopher advises us to think of our hurriedly coming deaths 'at every moment'. Ill advise, as too much thought on this matter affects one's confidence, stability, productiveness, vigor. Yet he, unlike some other philosophers, attracts me – less because of his erudition and 'cheerfulness' than efforts to be unprejudiced, shake off dogmatic thoughts."

When asked, "How does this attraction influence your practice?" Borshch said, "With my drawings I try to create visual philosophy – to philosophize visually, to draw philosophically is to learn to die. Here I rephrase Montaigne who titled one of his Essays' chapters 'Que philosopher c’est apprendre à mourir'."

Our exhibition will begin on Monday, September 13. Anniversaries of Montaigne's death are fitting times for a study of his attitude towards it, especially amid the deadly pandemic. 2 weeks ago "Montaigne and Death" ended in Saint Petersburg where it continued for about 4 weeks with the support of Consulate General of France in that city. Here the exhibition is supported by funds from New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Materials for the Arts.

For more than 10 years Dmitry Borshch has collaborated with Russian American Cultural Center. It was founded in 1998 by Dr. Regina Khidekel and earned its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in 1999. RACC aims to provide permanent cultural representation to more than 700,000 Russian-speaking residents of New York. The center has adopted and broadened the strategy of organizations like No Longer Empty, http://www.nolongerempty.org/ which invigorate neighborhoods by mounting exhibitions in their unutilized or temporarily underutilized spaces. Visitors coalesce around a space where art may have never been exhibited before.

The artist was born in Dnipropetrovsk, studied in Moscow, today lives in New York, Dnipro, and Ramat Gan. His works have been exhibited at Russian American Cultural Center (New York), HIAS (New York), Consulate General of the Russian Federation (New York), Lydia Schukina Institute of Psychology (Moscow), Contemporary Art Centers (Voronezh, Almaty), Museums of Contemporary Art (Poltava, Lviv). More exhibitions can be found in the Brooklyn Arts Council registry: http://archive.is/ClMDa


About the image:

"On ne corrige pas celuy qu’on pend" 2016, ink on paper, 13 x 21 inches

The exhibition schedule:

ArtView, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Улица Марата, 28, 2 этаж, Санкт-Петербург, 191040
July 27 – August 28, 2021. Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm, free admission

RACC satellite space, New York, NY
105 NY-110, Melville, NY 11747
September 13 – October 2, 2021. Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm, free admission

October Gallery, Yekaterinburg, Russia
Улица Энгельса, 17, 2 этаж, Екатеринбург, 620075
February 28 – March 26, 2022. Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 7 pm, free admission

What to expect? Toggle

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Dmitry Borshch


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