press release

The first UK group exhibition of work by the New Artists and the New Academy; two movements founded in St Petersburg by the artist Timur Novikov (1985–2002). The exhibition takes its title from the Club of Friends of V.V. Mayakovsky, which was founded by Novikov as an expression of the New Artists' creative freedom in the context of perestroika.

In 1988, as the impact of Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost was gathering momentum in the former Soviet Union, an exhibition took place at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. It was titled Glasnost I Kulturhuset, New Artists from Leningrad, and was the first international show of the Leningrad avant-garde (the New Artists) in the West. The exhibition travelled in a smaller form to arrive finally in the UK at the Bluecoat Gallery in Liverpool, where it acted as the backdrop to a performance by Popular Mechanics, an orchestra that created a synthesis of music and art under the direction of the experimental composer Sergei Kuryokhin. Twenty-five years later, this moment underpins the exhibition Club of Friends at Calvert 22 Gallery.

The New Artists—Oleg Kotelnikov, Ivan Sotnikov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Inal Savchenkov, Viktor Tsoi, (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov and Sergei 'Afrika' Bugaev—broke away from the official Leningrad art scene and rejected formal art education in favour of a more open-ended system of self-education and multi-disciplinary relationships. First operating out of a communal flat in a former church in central Leningrad, and then from informal spaces such as Novikov's ASSA gallery, the group held a series of influential exhibitions, gigs, screenings and parties throughout the 1980s.

In 1989, during a critical time of political, ideological and economic transition in Russia, Novikov decided to radically change his aesthetic and founded the New Academy; electing to follow the Old Masters and seeking out an ideal past within European culture.

The exhibition is curated by Ekaterina Andreeva and brings together painting, video, graphic and archival material to present the work and life of a generation of figures whose experiments in art, collective creative practice and sexual representation remain groundbreaking to this day.

Artists: Sergei 'Afrika' Bugaev / Sergei Chernov / Sergei Dobrotvorsky / Alexei 'Willie' Feoktistov / Konstantin Goncharov / Georgy Gurjanov / Yevgeny 'Debil' Kondratiev / Oleg Kotelnikov / (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov / Irena Kuksenaite / Victor Kuznetsov / Yuris Lesnik / Stanislav Makarov / Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe / Oleg Maslov / Bella Matveeva / Andrei Medvedev / Ivan Movsesyan / Timur Novikov / Egor Ostrov / Vadim Ovchinnikov / Ivetta Pomerantseva / Inal Savchenkov / Kirill Sluchainy / Ivan Sotnikov / Joulia Strauss / Olga Tobreluts / Viktor Tsoi / Andrei Venclova / Igor Veritchev / Denis Yegelsky / Yevgeny Yufit

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

only in german

Club Of Friends. Timur Novikov's New Artists
and the New Academy

Sergei 'Afrika' Bugaev, Sergei Chernov, Sergei Dobrotvorsky, Alexei 'Willie' Feoktistov, Konstantin Goncharov, Georgy Gurjanov, Yevgeny 'Debil' Kondratiev, Oleg Kotelnikov, (E-E ) Evgenij Kozlov, Irena Kuksenaite, Victor Kuznetsov, Yuris Lesnik, Stanislav Makarov, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Oleg Maslov, Bella Matveeva, Andrei Medvedev, Ivan Movsesyan, Timur Novikov, Egor Ostrov, Vadim Ovchinnikov, Ivetta Pomerantseva, Inal Savchenkov, Kirill Sluchainy, Ivan Sotnikov, Joulia Strauss, Olga Tobreluts, Viktor Tsoi, Andrei Venclova, Igor Veritchev, Denis Yegelsky, Yevgeny Yufit

Ekaterina Andreeva