The Heritage of the Russian Avant-Garde: Vladimir Sterligov and his School (Part II)

Factory by Gennadi Zubkov
Oct 27, 2007 - May 23, 2008
DuBrow Gallery

This exhibition features works created between 1960 and 1990 by members of the Leningrad Sterligov School. These artists carried on the spirit of the Russian avant-garde at a time when Socialist Realism was the only officially acknowledged style and earlier avant-garde works had been long locked away in museum storage rooms.

The group centered around Vladimir Sterligov and Tatiana Glebova who, in the 1920s, had been students of Kazimir Malevich and Pavel Filonov, respectively. In the 1960s, their home became a place of intellectual exchange and artistic study, an “invisible institute,” and a center of unofficial artistic culture in Leningrad.

A charismatic teacher, Sterligov attracted a large following. He believed that art possesses its own system of values independent of current politics and taught his students to perceive the world as a non-representational reality, “a visible invisibility, or a visibility unseen.” In his spatial system of the “cup-cupola,” he united the straight line of Malevich’s Suprematism and the curved line of Mikhail Matiushin’s Organic Culture, thus joining together heaven and earth, rational construction and organic perception. Featured in this exhibition are also the Sterligov students Elena Gritsenko, Gennadii Zubkov, Yuri Gobanov, and Aleksandr Kozhin, now based in St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk.

With Lidiya Blinova and Rustam Khalfin, Sterligov also had a small group of followers in Central Asia, where he and Glebova had spent some time during the Second World War. Glebova and Sterligov were invited by Blinova and Khalfin to exhibit their works with the Group of Four in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and thus served as a link between the artist community in Almaty and the Leningrad art scene. 


Gennadi Zubkov

Factory, 1976-78

Pastel on paper

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

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