The Tate Modern Largest Retrospective Of The Russian Avant-Garde Leader Natalia Goncharova

07 октября 2020

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Tate Modern | The exhibition is open until September 08

The English TATE Modern gallery hosts one of the largest exhibitions of the leader of the Russian avant-garde Natalia Goncharova. This is the first retrospective ever held in the United Kingdom.

The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Palazzo Strozzi (Florence, Italy) and the Athenaeum Art Museum (Helsinki, Finland).

More than 170 museums from all over the world took part in the formation of the exhibition, including most of the works provided by the Tretyakov Gallery, the caring Keeper of the archive of the largest collection of paintings by Natalia Goncharova.

Natalia Goncharova «Peasant Woman from Tula Province», 1910. Natalia Goncharova at Tate Modern, 2019. Photo: © Tate Photography (Matt Greenwood)

Natalia Goncharova created an amazing variety of art works, fearlessly crossing the boundaries between art and design. Living first in Russia and then in France, she was an artist, engraver, Illustrator, fashion designer, and a set and costume designer for the Russian ballet.

Her works, filled with a challenge to the rigid frames of artistic, social and gender rules, are conditionally divided into different periods and halls at the exhibition — the division is based on the specifics of the work, the time when the paintings were created, and their form. There are 10 of them in total.

Through the artist’s canvases, the story of Goncharova’s work and life is told in detail.

About her rural childhood, filled with observation of the simple and at the same time very hard life of peasants, as well as traditional forms of decorative and applied art. It was there, in the village, that she learned firsthand all the stages of textile production that saved her impoverished family from death.

Natalia Goncharova «Bathers», 1922. Natalia Goncharova at Tate Modern, 2019. Photo: © Tate Photography (Matt Greenwood)

About the Moscow period of the artist’s life — about her bold social statements, about her happy meeting with Mikhail Larionov, her life partner, about her first phenomenally successful exhibition in 1913: but Goncharova was only 32 years old when a large-scale exhibition of her 800 works (!) opened in the Moscow art salon of Mikhailova. Among them were paintings, works on paper, sketches for theatre, textiles and fashion, Wallpaper, and splints. Three works were then bought by the Tretyakov Gallery.

A separate hall presents Goncharova’s works in the field of fashion and design — embroidery, textiles, carpets: her collaboration with fashion houses, fashion designer Nadezhda Lamanova, Marie Kuttoli, and the Chicago house of Art.

A large part of the exhibition is occupied by the theme of the war, which tells about the artist’s move to France to stage the Dyagilev opera-ballet ’Golden Cockerel’, which brought Goncharova worldwide fame. About returning home, about creating the series ’Mystical images of war’. About exhibitions abroad, participation in debates, meetings, speeches, films, publishing books, as well as about Goncharova’s experiments with book graphics — lithography and screen printing, iconography, and rayonism.

Natalia Goncharova «The four evangelists», 1911. Natalia Goncharova at Tate Modern, 2019. Photo: © Tate Photography (Matt Greenwood)

The exhibition ends with works that highlight Goncharova’s life in Paris, among them the most striking, of course, are theater projects — sketches, costumes and scenography for ballets by Sergei Dyagilev, choreographers Bronislava Nijinskaya and Leonid Massin.

At the Tate Modern gallery, Natalia Goncharova’s exhibition will run until September 8, 2019, and then will be shown alternately at the Palazzo Strozzi (Florence, Italy) on September 28, 2019 and then at the Athenaeum art Museum (Helsinki, Finland) on February 21, 2020.

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