Russian avant garde exhibition in Thessaloniki

The State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki – northern Greece recently inaugurated the exhibition entitled, “Beyond common sense”, with works of prominent artists of the Russian avant-garde art.

The exhibition includes 67 works from the George Kostakis collection, as well as material from the collector’s personal archives . It is divided in four sections; The first section presents the art’s transit from the representation to non-objectivity. The second section presents the relation between art and nature, as established through the work of Mikhail Matyushin. The third section focuses on the relation between art and architecture and features Vladimir Tatlin’s flying machine “Letatlin”. The fourth section introduces the work of Solomon Nikritin,  who connects his painting with the irrational.

George Costakis was born in Moscow in 1913. He worked as a driver for the Greek Embassy until 1940 and after the War he found a job at the Canadian Embassy. He ignored the aesthetic prohibitions of his time, which considered the avant-garde movements as decadent remnants of the bourgeoisie and decided to methodically collect Russian and Soviet experimental art from the turn of the century until the 1930s, thus saving from destruction hundreds of works.

He met the artists that were still alive and was in contact with families and friends of those who had died. He kept this remarkable collection at his Moscow apartment in Vernadskii Avenue until 1977. His home was like an extraordinary private museum, a school for the younger generation and a friendly meeting place of intellectuals, artists and personalities from around the world. Igor Stravinsky, Marc Chagall, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Nina Kandinsky, Edward Kennedy and David Rockefeller were among the guests.

In 1977 George Costakis left the Soviet Union after leaving a part of his collection at the State Tretyakov Gallery. He stayed for one year in Rome and then moved to Athens where he died in 1990. In 2000 the Greek Ministry of Culture bought 1,277 works from his collection, which became the core of the collection of the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The exhition was inaugurated on January 23rd and and will run until May 8th 2016.

It is open to the public on Thursdays 10:00-22:00, Fridays 10:00-19:00, Saturdays 10:00-18:00 and on Sundays from 11:00-15:00.

SOURCE: State Museum of Contemporary Art
PHOTO: State Museum of Contemporary Art (Gustav Klucis)