Geometry in the culture of the XX-XXI centuries. To the centenary of the Bauhaus

National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) - Moscow Branch

24 Oct 2019 – 26 Jan2020, Moscow

On October 24, 2019, the first part of the large-scale exhibition "Geometry in the Culture of the XX-XXI Centuries. Towards the Centenary of the Bauhaus" will open in the building of ROSIZO-National Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow.

A culture built on structural imagery has the rare gift of finding equilibrium points in those moments when the world loses visible stability and its essence is on the verge of defenselessness. Art in this position with a pulsating progressive perseverance begins to ask questions, provoking cultural memory. Its signals, like flashes, destroy the stability of the clichés of past visual strategies, while returning to those artistic evidences that have the ability to determine the coordinates of existence. It was then that the suprematism of Kazimir Malevich, the Bauhaus art system, its educational form and traditions, enshrined in the diagonal optics of MADI, the constructive search for the balance of social life and art in the GINHUK, the integral vision of the post-war culture, became actualized.

Looking from the present time to the 20th century, we discover a new context that affirms the radical internal change in our existence. Today's geometric culture reveals particular points in nonequilibrium changes in reality, in pauses, shifts, breaks in the historical fabric, where the past and future gather and meet, as if in focus. One layer of this unique chronotope shines through another, merging and at the same time separating, emphasizing, revealing the formation of the actual, still being born, without refusing at the same time the desire for contact with the departed in the depths of memory.


The artists participating in the project need this multilayered imagery as a radical plastic toolkit that can detect tremors, swaying, and oscillating states of our formalized virtual civilization. The cultural memory concentrated in the project is as polyphonic and filled with context as the art technologies themselves. It is naturally present, constantly manifesting itself in Malevich’s suprematical paradoxes, right angles of the Bauhaus school, polygonal projections of MADI, constantly returning to the traditions of Pythagoreanism, to endless nostalgia for the ideal, as happens in the albums of Ilya Kabakov, and in mirror recognition of ourselves in integral structures Lajos Kassak and Alexander Rodchenko. This memory lives by a palimpsest, the mutual overlapping of its layers, vibration of the ebbs and flows of visual-semantic states. Two vectors, two opposite sets of mindsets are quite distinctly revealed in it, both of which are designated by the term “avant-garde”, where the artistic consciousness gains its integrity in geometric imagery.  One is optimistically colored with revivalist expectations and the whole is directed from the past to the future, in the other - postmodern values and an archaeological understanding of culture dominate. The first is overgrown with numerous projects and update strategies. The second - indicates the inevitability of awareness of the limits of culture, its crises and catastrophes.

Kazimir Malevich, El Lissitzky, Gustav Klutsis, Lajos Kassak, Victor Vasarely, Laszlo Mohoy-Nagy, Viktor Hulík, Janos Szasz SAXON, Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko open up in the energetics of the project as the names of stars - but not like in Hollywood plates, but in the texts of eternal culture, in a deliberately indicated posthistoric font, where respect and significance border on a wider context than cultural memory. In this new coordinate system, in the textual dramaturgy of geometry, the project participants reveal their personal existence, entering today in the image of a mythology hero of independent culture and independent artistic thought, a person walking through time - a pilgrim, an enchanted wanderer.

The exposition of the project "Geometry in the culture of the XX-XXI centuries. Towards the centenary of the Bauhaus" suggests a two-part structure.

First part opens with references to the artistic systems of Kazimir Malevich, Vasily Kandinsky and Alexander Rodchenko, who turned plastic ideas of geometry into a manifesto, further linking the personal philosophy of artists with the ideas of the Bauhaus. The images of the Bauhaus continue in compositions from the collection of the Hungarian MOBIL MADI museum (Budapest, Hungary), in the installation “Blues on the Roof” (workshop “Moving Pictures” by Andrei Suzdalev) and video projections of German avant-garde cinema of the 20s of the last century (Hans Richter, Viking Egg, Walter Ruttman).


The organic completion of the first part of the exposition will be the works of Alexander Rodchenko, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Gustav Klutsis, Valentina Kulagina, El Lissitzky, Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Matyushin, Ivan Klyun, Alexei Kruchenykh, Varvara Stepanova from the collection " State Museum V.V. Mayakovsky "dedicated to the ideas of geometry in Soviet Russia and the formation of a socialist culture. The visual meanings of these images are clearly confirmed by fragments from the films of the outstanding Soviet film director Dzigi Vertov.


The second part of the project will be devoted to the development of geometric systems in post-war culture, and then during the "thaw" and in the following phases of our history. This part of the project is based mainly on works from ROSIZO-NCCA and private collections: Eric Bulatov, Vladimir Yankilevsky, Sergey Reznikov, Valery Yurlov, Vladimir Nemukhin, Francisco Infante-Arana, Yuri Zlotnikov, Boris Turetsky, Alexander Pankin, Igor Shelkovsky, Ilya Kabakov, Dmitry Prigov.


The images of geometry in this phase of the project naturally pass into our century, actualizing the “new sincerity”, mastering the ideas of fractal geometry and the geometry of “new stability”, proclaimed in the discoveries of Russian physics (Vladimir Kobrin).


The final part of the second part of the exposition (Ivan Gorshkov, Alexandra Mitlyanskaya) does not put an end to how the completion of the project, it soars within the boundaries of the future, in its aesthetic ecology, predicting the further development of geometry ideas in modern art, like the search for sociocultural harmony and the formation of a universal artistic language of harmony .


David Apikian  

Carmelo Arden Quin 1913 (Uruguay)

Milija Bellic  

Beppe Bonetti 1950 (Italy)

Erik Bulatov 1933 (Russia)

Aleksander Drakulic  

Viking Eggeling 1880 (Sweden)

Natalia Goncharova 1881 (Russia)

Ivan Gorshkov 1986 (Russia)

István Haraszty 1934 (Hungary)

Viktor Hulík 1949 (Slovakia)

Francisco Infante-Arana 1943 (Russia)

Ilya Kabakov 1933 (Russia)

Wassily Kandinsky 1866 (Russia)

Lajos Kassák 1887 (Hungary)

Ivan Kliun 1870 (Russia)

Gustav Klutsis 1895 (Russia)

Tamás Kovács  

Aleksei Kruchenykh 1886 (Russia)

Valentina Kulagina 1947 (Russia)

André van Lier 1951 (Netherlands)

El Lissitzky 1890 (Russia)

Vladimir Maiakovski 1893 (Russia, Georgia)

Kazimir Malevich 1878 (Russia)

Mikhail Matyushin 1861 (Russia)

Alexandra Mitlianskaia 1958 (Russia)

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 1895 (Hungary)

Vladimir Nemukhin 1925 (Russia)

László Ottó 1966 (Hungary)

Alexander Pankin 1938 (Russia)

Dmitry Prigov 1940 (Russia)

Sergey Reznikov  (Russia)

Hans Richter 1888 (Germany)

Alexander Rodchenko 1891 (Russia)

Walter Ruttmann 1887 (Germany)

János Saxon Szász 1964 (Hungary)

Igor Shelkovsky 1937 (Russia)

Varvara Stepanova 1894 (Russia)

Andrey Suzdalev 1973 (Russia)

Boris Turezki 1928 (Russia)

Victor Vasarely 1908 (Hungary)

Vladimir Yankilevsky 1938 (Russia)

Valery Yurlov 1932 (Russia)

Yuri Zlotnikov 1930 (Russia)

Installation view