Industrial World: The Chelpipe Collection

From September 16 to October 21, 2017, the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum hosted the exhibition “Industrial World: The Chelpipe Collection” which showcased works by Soviet artists from the 1920s to 1980s. Contemporary industrial photography by Timofey Parshikov and Dmitry Morozov was also on display. The exhibition was curated in partnership with the Chelpipe Group in commemoration of the company’s 75th anniversary. This is the first time that the corporate collection (more than 450 paintings and graphic sketches) was on public display.

“In the 1990s, there was a movement to gather the “picturesque” artwork that chronicled the Soviet metallurgy industry, and the result was a collection of artworks by recognized artists of the 20th century. This year for the first time the collection was shown to the general public at the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum,” said Chelpipe Group shareholder Andrey Komarov. “The selection is no coincidence: The collection of photographs, installations, and other contemporary art phenomena from Soviet artists present competing images of ‘old’ industrial and post-industrial works of depicting how the industrial world and the artist himself were transformed.

Some of the more famous artists represented in the collection are Aristarkh Lentulov, Alexander Labas, Moisey Feigin, Nikolay Dormidontov, Ekaterina Zernova, Pyotr Kotov, Pavel Sokolov-Skalya, Leonid Feinberg, Max Birstein, among many others. The art works displayed at the Moscow Multimedia Art Museum all share a common theme of 20th-century industrialization and depict the development of an entire era of Russian art over the last century, specifically of the celebrated steel industry through the eyes of artists.

The collection highlights changes in artistic trends and styles in Soviet Art. Artists such as Olga Kolmakova, Vasily Kuchumov, Leonid Feinberg and Ekaterina Zernova embody traditions of 1920s Russian modernism in their works, which are devoted to the technical process, industrialization, and urbanization.

The collection pieces from the 1930s to 1950s are dominated by the “grand style” of socialist realism triumphs, which became a mandate for Soviet art since the beginning of the 1930s. For example, the paintings by Aristarkh Lentulov and Iosif Rubanov show workers transforming into titans. In the graphic series part of the exhibition, works appear by Alexander Labas, Aristarkh Lentulov, Leonid Usaytis, Vyacheslav Stekolschikov, and Viktor Duvidov.

Contemporary artists Timofey Parshikov and Dmitry Morozov also explore industrialization and post-industrialization in their work. Parshikov’s photography – shot at the Chelyabinsk Pipe and Pervouralsky Novotrubny Works factories – illustrate a new ‘White Metallurgy’. Morozov was inspired by modern-day production at Chelpipe plants to create the ‘Prosodia’ installation, an interactive kinetic experience that synthesizes art and technical creativity. The installation is a result of a joint project between Morozov and students from the Chelpipe educational group ‘The Future of White Metallurgy’, which aims to train highly qualified workers for the metals industry.

A reception was held at the museum as part of the exhibition. The program included a poetry reading by students of Dmitry Brusnikin, compositions by Philip Glass, Maikla Naiman, and Steve Reich performed by the ‘Persimphans’ ensemble, Profkofiev, Rachmaninov, soloist performances of Stravinsky by Elena Revich, Polina Osetinskaya, and Boris Andrianov.

Project execution: Art Guru team members Oksana Kotova, Yana Belik, and Zalina Cherednichenko

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