Non-classical Portrait. 20th Century Art Exhibition

On Friday, December 2, 2016, VDNH will witness the opening of Non-classical Portrait. 20th Century Art Exhibition in pavilion #59 (“The Grain”). For the first time, the genre will be represented by 100 works of art that have remained out of the public eye. Works of art with rare painting, drawing, and sculpturing techniques employed come from collections of Russian museums and private collections of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Non-classical Portrait is a story about seeking new opportunities in 20th century art. The exhibition organizers have chosen a chamber art atmosphere to highlight the life of a human in the wake of momentous events and drastic changes. The "non-classical" emphasis shifts from plastic novelty to parallel social existence, from searching for possible representation of a character to a "we" story telling. The exposition will be the first to depict a movement from an intimate genre as a programme (artists of Mir Iskusstva group) to marginality as a major trait of portrait painting in the late 20th to early 21st century.


The exposition starts with works of Mir Iskusstva artist group and the people who have enshrined their names into the history of impressionism. Watching something spontaneous or next to fortuitous, impressionists were the first to doubt the hierarchy of art genres. The Mir Iskusstva group artists added self-sufficiency to the minor graphic techniques, along with impressionists, by arguing the value of sketches. This section comprises the portrait works done by Zinaida Serebryakova, Leo Baksta, Konstantin Somov, Mstislav Dobudhinsky, and others.


Novel art of 1910 to the early 1930s (the period is represented by the school of Kazimir Malevich, Pavel Philonov, Vladimir Tatlin, and others) diminishes the importance of plot and turns to the works of artists who did not enter the circle of officially approved masters. From David Shterenberg and Robert Falk, who were acknowledged by the Soviet critics, to the members of the Krug Hudozhnikov association who enjoyed the periphery of human as well as artistic spheres.


The exposition saw the opening of two sections in the 1960s: the painting technique of the left-wing MAU (Moscow Artist Union) and the art of nonconformism. A human story starts with the development of plastic opportunities in the early 20th century and goes through conceptual art to move to the discovery of new characteristics of the surrounding world. The works of Viktor Pivovarov and Dmitri Prigov staged at the exhibition anticipate the figurativeness of the 20th century. They portray their character through the environment where the character could be identified as a part of overcrowded space in an ironic posture.

PLACE: pavilion # 59 Grain.
DATES: December 2, 2016 — March 5, 2017, from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. except Monday.
COST OF ADMISSION: 300 rubles.

  • Adult ticket 300 Rub
December 2, 2016 — March 5, 2017
except Monday
From 11:00 to 22:00