The 70-s. In_clusivity is an intermuseum art exhibition marks the 40-th anniversary of Manege Central Exhibition Hall that opened in 1977 with an exhibition of Leningrad artists. This fact predetermined the topic of the exhibition: visual art in Leningrad in 1970’s. Creation of such exhibition space as Manege was called for by the time itself. In the relatively liberal 60’s censorship lost some of its grip, and the audience got to see contemporary art exhibitions, read Russian and European literary pieces never published before and learn iconic movies from all over the world. This resulted in a great interest to all kinds of art, both domestic and foreign. For the artists this time became their own renaissance, maybe even reviviscence. Back in the 60’s they spoke at the top of their lungs, and the 70’s could not stop it. Writers, theater and film professionals, musicians and artists animated their art and made it more inspired, while the subject-matter side of it altered completely. Now art was addressing universal problems. Despite the area of their expertise, artists were looking for new expressive means that wouldn’t just blindly follow nature. They needed to help create new imagery.
The society was sensitive to new trends in art. Auditoriums, museums and exhibition spaces got packed with people searching for and frequently finding answers to many significant social, political and universal questions. It was precisely the time that helped nurture those artists, those who went through the turmoil of the 20th century. Weathered and seasoned by ordeals of their time, they create their best pieces. Visual art in Leningrad was represented by such artists as Evsey Moiseenko, Vyacheslav Zagonek, Andrey Mylnikov, Gleb Savinov, Vasily Sokolov, Viktor Oreshnikov, Anatoly Levitin, Yury Neprentsev, Pyotr Fomin; sculptors Mikhail Anikushin, Alexander Ignatiev, Vasily Stamov; graphic artists Aleksey Pakhomov, Nikita Charushin, Vladimir Vetrogonsky and many others. Their efforts were joined by the next generation and its ground-breaking search. Among the most noticeable names there are Zaven Arshakuni, Valery Vatenin, Herman Egoshin, Yaroslav Krestovsky, Valentina Rakhina, Konstantin Simun, Victor Teterin, Leonid Tkachenko, Vitaly Tyulenev, Boris Shamanov, Alexander Yakovlev. Their works made 1970’s one of the most interesting and vibrant periods in Russian realist art. Artists craved for exhibition spaces where they could interact with the audience – with the people they worked for. Despite their ideological nature, the city government realized the importance of art and needed its support. It seemed that the mere opening of Manege will resolve all the problems for both the artists and the officials. Time has proved that art appeared to be stronger than ideology. Throughout the 1970-s, it was serving the needs of the art and became a true center of visual art in Leningrad.
The 1970’s also gave an impetus to informal movements in art. The underground environment formed its own “schools” with outstanding teachers and systems: school of Sterligov, school of Dlugach, school of Sidlin and Kondratiev’s circle. Same time started a new movement of the Leningrad underground. Later it got the name of the Gaza-and-Nevsky Culture after two massive exhibitions held in the Ivan Gaza House of Culture and the Nevsky House of Culture. Non-conformist art was enriched by such names as Alexander Arefyev, Anatoly Belkin, Gleb Bogomolov, Andrey Gennadiev, Igor Zakharov-Ross, Pavel Kondratiev, Evgeny Mikhnov-Voitenko, Vladimir Sterligov, Gennady Ustyugov, Vladimir Shagin and many others. Underground art was especially popular among young people, who perceived it as a chance for democratization of the society and liberation of a personality from censorship. Gaza-and-Nevsky exhibitions were only semi-legal but all the bans induced by the official ideology only boosted its luster. Just like any other movement, it gave birth to truly interesting and artistic pieces. Yet, some works were pure political. That's why it becomes even more curious to take a look at the 70-s underground art and its heritage from the perspective of a different country.
And that “structured diversity’ had a spot for Leningrad school of art.
The 70's. In_clusivity is meant to convey both the vibrant artistic and philosophic charge of the 1970’s and the peculiar flavor of this time. As decorative and designer means are not the drivers in this department, the main focus is authentic exhibits and careful approach towards historic credibility.
This exhibition may be described as an attempt of modern times to touch upon the artistic life of the 70-s, being 40 years apart. On one hand, it’s an attempt to have an unbiased look at it from the outside. On the other hand, it’s a shot at diving into that period and its artistic diversity, philosophic quest for interpretation of eternal topics, endless humanity of subject-matters, special perception of beauty and strive for spiritual ideal. That’s the word ‘inclusivity’ was the perfect choice for the exhibition slogan – it’s deep and multi-value.
Inclusivity is a unity that in context of this exhibition can be perceived as a combination of various schools and movements of the 70’s in the same space. This word brings you to the thought about communion, become one solid piece and part of a single cultural space during a unique period in the history of arts. And finally, In_clusivity is a call to see the private, the personal and make the artist’s individuality, creative potential and solution the cornerstone of the exhibition.
This exhibition puts on display the Inclusivity painted by Andrey Yakovlev, a People's Artist of the Russian Federation (collection of the State Russian Museum) in 1977. It’s the same year Manege Exhibition Hall opened for the public. This work was created in the unique time of the 1970’s, when construction of BAM (Baikal-Amur Mainline) was recommenced. It tells us about unique events in Russia’s history – an unprecedented uplift over a massive project. In this case we may as well address the way Inclusivity’s semantic motifs cling with the design of the exhibition. Ic_clusivity is set up as an assembly process, space build-up, construction site and a puzzle that ultimately reflects the general social and cultural trend of the 70’s, the times when a garage was turned into the Central Exhibition Hall and hosted the first exhibition of Leningrad artists.
Inclusivity shows two robust men – a construction worker and an artist. They are in the same train, with two windows right behind them. They are united by the same railway car and the same compartment – and that’s inclusivity of history. In the context of this exhibition, two figures and two windows can be interpreted as two movements in the of the 70’s: realist and nonconformist brought together by the Leningrad art as a whole face to face with history.
The exhibition offers around 400 works by over 150 artists (paintings, graphics, sculpture and photography).
The exhibition gives us a chance to get a better idea of art in Leningrad, as diverse areas and yet as their combination into one solid concept of art and culture in Saint Petersburg that take a special place both in Russian and in the world’s culture. So, it becomes an In_clusivity in the world's history. Apart from artistic interest, this exhibition has a great research value and offers a lot of material for historical, artistic, cultural and anthropological analysis both for general audience and subject-matter experts.