The space dedicated to Futurism, with a piece by Malévich in the centre. / ÑITO SALAS

The Russian Museum exhibits the hidden treasures of the avant-garde movement

The gallery invites visitors to broaden their view on 20th-century art in an exhibition where Kandinsky, Malévich and Chagall share a room with lesser-known European artists

REGINA SOTORRÍO MALAGA.

The Russian Museum's collection Las Vanguardias en el arte Ruso, proposes a deeper exploration into 20th-century art with an exhibition in Malaga that goes beyond the fame of Kandinsky, Malévich and Chagall.

"Our goal is to expand the knowledge of European viewers about universal culture," said Commissioner Evgenia Petrova.

The collection invites the visitor to discover revolutionary artists of that time who hold their own against the big names with whom they share a wall.

An explosion of colour, shapes and techniques is distributed in five sections, which signal five ways of understanding artistic creations that coexisted simultaneously at a time of constant innovation and the breaking of tradition.

Neoprimitivism

The tour begins with Neoprimitivism, a movement that in Russia combined the influence of African and Oriental art with icons of Russian folk art.

Natalia Goncharova (noted for her works Sunflowers and Washerwomen), Vladimir Burliuk, Mikhail Larionov and Pyotr Konchalovsky (with his great painting Family Portrait with Chinese panel in the background) are some of the artists in the collection, with a modern painting style where simplicity and clean lines prevail.

Goncharova is one of the recurring names in the exhibition, with her works being present in almost all of the rooms.

She is one of the standard-bearers of futurism, a movement from Italy based on industrial themes and movement reflected in her works Cyclist and Factory.

The style has marked ironic, playful and grotesque components, evident in the piece Bridge. Landscape From Four Points of View by David Burliuk that shows the countryside from different angles.

For some Russian artists, however, futurism is mixed with cubism to create a new style in emblematic paintings such as Perfected Portrait of Ivan Kliun, signed by his friend Kazimir Malévich.

Cubo Futurism

Cubo Futurism gives way to the Abstract with examples of Malévich's Suprematism and the original techniques of Wassily Kandinsky's works such as Saint George on display. In the latter, the saint's struggle with the dragon can be sensed through the movement generated by the colours used. Goncharova also had an abstract phase at the end of her life, as revealed by this exhibition.

Metal, cork, cardboard and wood become artistic materials for Malévich's Suprematism, such as Wladyslaw Strzemiński (Tools and Industrial Products), Nadezhda Udaltsova (Cubist Composition) and Alexander Rodchenko (Constructions).

This innovative use of the elements leads to the last and one of the most powerful sections of the exhibition: Figurative art, which has always been present in Russia despite the heavy presence of all the avant-garde artists.

Malévich's two paintings (Two male figures and Peasants), Boris Grigoriev's fantastic portrait of director Vsevolod Meyerhold and Marc Chagall's Walk are all essential to this artistic movement.

The Russian avant-garde is one of the three temporary exhibitions that were inaugurated on Friday 29 October in the Russian Museum, along with a space dedicated to the poet Khrakovsky and a tribute to the famous writer Dostoevsky on the bicentennial anniversary of his birth (along with his funeral mask, which is exhibited "very rarely").

All three exhibitions have collaborated with La Caixa Foundation and can be visited until 17 April.

In addition, the luminous sculpture The Triumph of the Sun (2016-2020) by the artist Vasily Klyukin was inaugurated, which is now at the southern entrance of the Russian Museum.