Ilja Tschaschnik, Suprematist Composition

Ilja Tschaschnik

Suprematist Composition

Watercolor, india ink on paper
34 x 37.8 cm

Nikolai Suetin, Farmer's Wife

Nikolai Suetin

Farmer's Wife

Tempera, collage on paper
31 x 24 cm

Liubov Popova, Cubo-Futurist Composition with Violin

Liubov Popova

Cubo-Futurist Composition with Violin

Oil on canvas
87 x 58 cm

Wassily Kandinsky, To the Sea and the Sun

Wassily Kandinsky

To the Sea and the Sun

Watercolor, india ink on paper
28,3 x 21.7 cm

El Lissitzky, Proun

El Lissitzky


Oil on canvas
53 x 53 cm

Wladimir Nemuchin, Fragile

Wladimir Nemuchin


Collage on canvas
50.3 x 45.3 cm

Alexander Konstantinov, Aqueduct

Alexander Konstantinov


Wood, steel
4 x 30 x 1 m

Alexander Konstantinov, House „Unter der Linde“

Alexander Konstantinov

House „Unter der Linde“


Wood, steel, textiles
7 x 7 x 4 m

Russian Avant-Garde. Roots of the Otten Collection

4 October 2008 – 30 July 2009

With representative works and work groups by 26 artists, the exhibition "Russian Avant-Garde Art. Roots of the Otten Collection" presents the beginnings and the basis of the Otten family's collecting activities.
The time frame reaches from the pioneers, such as Kazimir Malevich, Liubov Popova, and Alexander Rodchenko to contemporary positions of the second Russian Avant-Garde by Alexander Konstantinov, Vladimir Nemukhin, Edward Steinberg, and Valery Orlov, among others.
Elective affinities, traditions, and relationships are presented in a selection of around 40 paintings, graphic works, photographs, and videos.
Radical upheavals characterized Russia during the first quarter of the 20th century. Culturally, the years between the two revolutions, from 1907 until 1917, were marked by the continuing development of painting and sculpture towards abstraction. Parallel to the historic revolutions and as a mirror image of the social and political developments, the Russian artists searched for new paths to follow and discovered undreamt of liberties. They came from Impressionism or Symbolism and through the examination of the western Avant-Garde (Cubism and Futurism) on the one hand, and through reflection upon their own Russian traditions (icons and the abandonment of linear perspective) on the other hand, found their way to a singular diversity and radicality of expression.
The artists of the Russian Avant-Garde (ca. 1910–1930) analyzed art for intrinsic questions regarding color and material as well as for its part in people's lives. Many artists participated in the building of a new society with new ways of life. Concrete figurations by artists such as Liubov Popova, who is represented in the exhibition "Russian Avant-Garde. Roots of the Otten Collection" by a series of characteristic works from Cubo-Futurism through Constructivism, and Kazimir Malevich, were used as patterns for textiles or as set designs for the theater and thus placed in the service of a changing society.
The Russian Avant-Garde comprises different artistic movements whose development is shown in the exhibition "Russian Avant-Garde. Roots of the Otten Collection": Russian Suprematism and the affiliated movement Constructivism have their roots in the endeavor to change the world and to create a universal, collective art for all, far removed from individualism and subjectivity. Kazimir Malevich, the founder of Suprematism, is represented in the Otten Collection by the drawing "Square and Cone" from 1915. That same year, the artist, for the first time, painted the "Black Square", an almost square plane on a white surface – a milestone in the history of modern art. Malevich had a large number of followers, such as Nicolai Suetin, Ilya Chashnik, Ivan Kudryashov, and Lasar Chidekel. They are nearly completely reunited in the exhibition, and their works reflect the development of the Russian Avant-Garde.
Alexander Rodchenko was the most important representative of Constructivism. The turn of the 1910s to the 1920s marked the apex of his painting. The painting "Construction No. 95", exhibited in the Otten Kunstraum, dates from this time and is one of the artist's classic masterpieces. The precise calculation with which Rodchenko energetically places the lines in a fan-like form, moving from the lower corner to the top, is astonishing.
Current streams in abstract painting in Russia are represented by works of contemporary artists of the second Avant-Garde who refer to the spiritual legacy and have developed it further. A main representative is Alexander Konstantinov, born in Moscow in 1953, who creates his artworks in time-consuming written processes on paper. The artist meticulously places lines next to one another creating rhythms by means of minimal shifts. In the summer of 2008, Alexander Konstantinov created two large-scale installations in the outdoor space belonging to the Otten Kunstraum. The objects engage in a dialogue with the architecture surrounding them and build a bridge to the foundations of the Otten Collection, the Russian Avant-Garde at the beginning of the 20th century.


A catalogue in German and English has been published by the Verlag für Moderne Kunst Nürnberg to accompany the exhibition "Russian Avant-Garde. Roots of the Otten Collection".
ISBN 978-3-940748-85-0
Price: € 28.00