press release

Santiago Calatrava: The Quest for Movement, is the first retrospective exhibition dedicated to a contemporary architect at the world-renowned The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Opening 27th June 2012, the show will provide unprecedented insight into the work of the acclaimed Spanish architect, engineer and sculptor.

A leading figure in contemporary architecture, Calatrava's work frequently transverses the boundaries between art and architecture. This exhibition will celebrate him not only as an architect but also as a sculptor and painter in his own right, exploring all facets of his creative production. Large format paintings and sculptures specially created for the show will be exhibited alongside spectacular architectural models for some of his most celebrated designs, including his latest project for the Belgian city of Mons, European Capital of Culture in 2015.

Co-curated by Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz, Guest-curator, and Ksenia Malich, Curator of Contemporary Art, The State Hermitage Museum, the exhibition launches the State Hermitage's architectural cycle Hermitage 20/21 project and will occupy the magnificent Nikolaevsky Hall, located in the heart of the Winter Palace. The State Hermitage Museum holds one of the largest collections of architectural graphics from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Speaking about the exhibition, the Director Mikhail Piotrovsky said: "In St Petersburg - the city of the bridges - we cannot imagine a finer start of the architectural exhibitions cycle "Hermitage 20/21". I would like to see Santiago Calatrava and this momentous exhibition at The State Hermitage Museum as a pure bridge between St Petersburg's 19th century architecture and the present 21st century".

In the words of the curator, Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz: "This exhibition provides an exceptional glimpse of Calatrava's constant search for an individual path and how he has established his own architectural vocabulary, far from all the conventions of his time, distant from common sense, and in a way, through sculpture".

Calatrava's inimitable style is characterised by a sense of movement which takes its inspiration from the forms and shapes of the natural world. In a recent interview with Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz, Calatrava explains: "Movement gives an added dimension to form. It makes form a living thing. Instead of thinking of a building as something mineral, like a rock, we can start to compare a building to the sea, which has waves that move, or to a flower whose petals open in the morning".

The importance of movement in Calatrava's work will be evident not only in the range of works on display - kinetic sculptures, mobile architectural models, suspended structures - but also in the design of the exhibition itself.

Calatrava's connection with Russia dates back to his formative years, when he was deeply impressed by his early readings of Turgenev, Chekhov and Tolstoy. Later in life he was inspired by its formidable landscape, the territorial expanses of the taiga and tundra, and in particular St Petersburg itself, a city he became intimately acquainted with through his friendship with Valery Gergiev.

The exhibition is organized in partnership with The Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, The Embassy of Spain in Moscow, and generously supported by JT International and BP.

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Santiago Calatrava
The Quest for Movement
Kurator: Cristina Carrillo de Albornoz