The Heirs of Unofficial Art

Unofficial, Nonconformist, Underground or Andegraund art, Second Russian Avant-garde: all these terms describe the heterogeneous artistic movements which developed in the Soviet Union from the second half of the 50s (Khrushchev era) and especially in the 70s (Brezhnev era), and which, rejecting Stalin's idea of art as an instrument of propaganda and the conformism of state-sponsored Socialist Realism, started an extensive and difficult process of regeneration that from Moscow spread to all the countries of the confederation.

The exhibition Back in the USSR offers an excursion in the art of the heirs of that first season. These artists of the second and third generation certainly work in a context no longer as closed as the USSR of the 70s. Nevertheless, at least in the first part of their artistic experience, some of them were forced to a clandestine or semi-clandestine condition. Excluded from the official art spaces and with no status, they were artistically free but burdened by daily problems, without a place to create, expose and sell. From their "fathers", these artists have inherited the freedom of expression, the irony and the spirit of polemic against false ideologies, officiality and conventions, which they apply to the new historical, political, social and artistic situation.

The exhibition is characterized by extreme heterogeneity, as a result of individual research to express deep inner needs and give voice to one's imagination. Each artist uses a different and personal style, as it is in the nature of unofficial art, drawing inspiration from the surreal, the grotesque, the informal, but also from the ancient Russian tradition (icons, fairy tales), or reclaiming the sphere of spirituality and religiosity.

Back in the USSR is curated by Vladislav Shabalin and dedicated to the memory of the greatest collector of unofficial art Leonid Talochkin (1936-2002). It is made possible thanks to the collaboration of Gerald Klebacz, Eastern Art Gallery (Austria) and of Stefano Piccini, Geoworld (Italy).

7-28 March 2009, Spazio Eventi Mondadori, San Marco, Venice.

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