The Moscow Museum of Modern Art and Foundation of Russian Abstract Art present the exhibition “The New Reality Studio (1958-1991). Transformation of Consciousness” — a major retrospective of the creative association of the same name showcasing the history of underground abstract art development in the USSR, as well as the unique teaching system and theories which were a basis for the Studio’s activity.
Set up after WW2, “The New Reality” has been conceived as an alternative to the USSR Academy of Arts. Its participants advocated the revival of traditions of active creative search typical for Russian avant-garde artists of the early 20th century: Vasili Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko. The founder of the Studio is Ely Belyutin — a legendary and controversial, talented artist-innovator and teacher, who created unique forms of creativity and worked out a system and theoretical base applicable both in art and methodology. His unique educational program was aimed at the inner liberation of a man, the extension of human emotional diapason and search for new means for a sensual documentation of the reality. These ideas became a foundation for his «Theory of common ability to contact» — an original creative method for working with pupils, which goals were not only objective depiction of the surrounding world, but also the presentation of the author’s personal perception. One of the most efficient methods was team work, that very often resulted in the creation of extraordinary and colossal artworks or practice of joint creative boat trips, as well as work in one studio, exhibitions in unusual contexts, for example, in the woods. Everything mentioned above at the time was a rare experience in art and is an interesting material for today’s researchers.
During the Soviet period the exhibition and education activity of the New Reality remained little known to the wide public. Having been criticized by the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party Nikita Khruschev at one of the first major exhibitions of the Studio in Manezh in 1962, the members of the Studio went into creative underground. And only since 1989, when the pressure of the regime reduced (though Belyutin himself has never positioned his art as anti-regime), they began to participate in the legalization of the Soviet underground art.
The exhibition “The New Reality Studio (1958-1991). Transformation of Consciousness” is the first to bring together paintings, graphic works and archive photographs from the collection of the Foundation of the Russian Abstract Art. The curators of the exhibition have made a detailed analysis of both the theoretical foundations of the Studio’s activity and practical aspects revealing Belyutin’s methodology. The unique architecture of the exposition, efficient use of multimedia and a series of special master classes will allow the viewer to become not just an eyewitness, but also an active participant of the most significant events of the Studio’s life. The core of the exposition are works by twenty five artists-members of the Studio: its founder, his followers and pupils who headed the group (V. Zubarev, T. Ter-Gevondyan, M. Esmont, E. Radkevich, V. Preobrazhenskaya and many others). In their works one can see bold experiments with color, form and space typical for avant-garde artists of the early 20th century, as well as innovative ideas of Belyutin himself realized by the artist during his work with his followers.
The exhibition “The New Reality Studio (1958-1991). Transformation of Consciousness” at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art is an attempt to include the names of Belyutin and his pupils into the context of Russian and world art, to tell the history of their work at the creation of new creative forms, actual, timely and live. It is a demonstration of the new art of that time: free from conditionality, existing outside of politics, reacting to the changes in our consciousness and often being a source of these changes.