Gely Korzhev returns to Venice after the 1962 Biennale

Ca' Foscari Esposizioni welcomes Russian painter Gely Korzhev by dedicating an exhibition to him. He thus returns to Venice after the 1962 Biennale.

Fifty-seven years after his participation in the XXXI Venice Biennale, one of the most eminent Russian painters of the second half of the 20th century returns to the lagoon: Gely Korzhev.

The exhibition Gely Korzhev. Back to Venice, realized thanks to the collaboration between Galleria Tret’jakov, the Institute of Russian Realist Art and the Center for the Study of the Arts of Russia (CSAR) at Ca’ Foscari, with the support of IntesaSanpaolo, aims to restore through documents, photographs, projections and with the use of Information and Communication Technologies, the concreteness of the Russian painter’s triptych, the Korzhev Room and other important signs present in the 1962 USSR Pavilion.

The exhibition, which will be held from May 10 to November 3, 2019 at Ca’ Foscari Esposizioni, will present to the public a substantial selection of the artist’s works, more than fifty paintings. It is not intended to be an anthological exhibition, but a review subdivided by well-defined themes: the artist’s monumental nudes, his still lifes, some other particularly successful examples of his original declination of Soviet realist painting; however, the essential center of the itinerary focuses on the images of the memory of the years of the Great Patriotic War, World War II. These include Traces of War made between 1963 and 1964. Concluding the exhibition will be the painter’s visual meditations on the collapse of the Soviet system: paintings at times of heartfelt involvement, at other times of stark social denunciation, and at other times grotesque, as in the hybrid degenerations of the so-called Tyurlikis and Skeletons of the USSR.

The exhibition is also an opportunity to reread the artist’s Venetian debut, at the 1962 Biennale. There Korzhev exhibited a kind of self-portrait in motion(The Kneeling Artist of 1961, who is making a small nude of a woman in chalk on the side of a sidewalk, and holding next to him a beret with a few coins offered by passers-by) and especially the triptych Communists (1957-1960), now at the Russian State Museum in St. Petersburg. Three large canvases, two of them vertical and one horizontal: the first, titled International, is dominated by two standing figures, two Red Army soldiers on a battlefield, one blowing a horn, the other, from behind, manfully holding the regimental banner; the second, the horizontal one, titled Raising the Flag, shows a kneeling civilian taking up the red flag abandoned by a fallen comrade; the third, Homer: The Study, features a sculptor, in military dress, intent on modeling a bust of the Greek poet.

The exhibition is curated by Faina Balachovskaya, Giuseppe Barbieri, Silvia Burini and Nadezhda Stepanova.

For info:

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Free admission

Image: Gely Korzhev, Raising the Flag. Central part of the triptych Communists (1960; oil on canvas).

Gely Korzhev returns to Venice after the 1962 Biennale
Gely Korzhev returns to Venice after the 1962 Biennale

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