Seriality: Repetition and Narrative in Soviet Nonconformist Art

Andrei Roiter, Untitled, 1984
May 09, 2006 - Jul 30, 2006
Dodge Wing Lower Level

Seriality, the practice of painting or drawing in a series, is often associated with the post-war art of America and the movement away from personal expression in favor of the anonymous and mechanical properties of repetition. Practices such as Pop Art and Minimalism utilized the processes of reproduction to create art that was less about the unique personality and vision of the maker, focusing instead on subverting the boundaries between art and the objects of the "everyday" world. To these ends, seriality became a way of questioning or destabilizing the individual "aura" of painting, the notion that a work of art must by definition be single, unique, and irreplaceable. Art pieces such as Andy Warhol's 50 Marilyns and Donald Judd's Boxes look to the mechanical world of mass production for alternatives to traditional conceptions of art. As such, seriality in American art is often associated with impersonality and the austerity of process.

This exhibition seeks to provide a differing account of seriality in art by examining the work of Russian artists from the Dodge Collection. As opposed to the dominant modes of practice in America, Russian art often utilizes seriality to emphasize the private and the personal, as well as to examine the relationship of visual art to the narrative practices of literature and film. Serialities showcases a wide variety of serial art, from conceptual work to abstraction, Soviet surrealism, and photography. The formal and stylistic diversity of the work displayed in the exhibition points to a broad artistic investigation into the potentials of working in series.

Andrei Roiter

Untitled, 1984

Gouache on paper

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union