Contadores e Cia




The exhibition will become a kind of comparative analysis of the aesthetics of the “poor” on the example of representatives of the Italian art movement, Arte Povera, and Russian participants of the exhibition "Russian Poor". 


Let's start with the origins: the Arte Povera movement, which originated in the 60’s of the twentieth century, got its name from curator and art critic Germano Celant, who opened an exhibition called "Arte Povera e IM Spazio" in Genoa, bringing together artists from Rome, Turin, Milan and Genoa in 1967.

Celant's merit is that his coined term accurately marked a new era of Italian art: despite the economic boom in Italy in the late 1950’s, artists deliberately chose “poor materials” in effort to de-commercialize art, take it outside the market and gallery business, trying to free the creative process from the limitations of traditional forms and artistic space. Throughout the twentieth century, reactionary movements appeared in Italian art every now and then, from Italian futurism (an avant-garde movement that became a response to the development of industrialization and made it possible for artists to find new creative methods) to the anti-avant-garde metaphysics of Giorgio de Chirico and his associates, who denied technological progress as a means; a kind of impulse for the development of culture and art, which are essentially anti-technological.

Their followers consisted of post-war artists, such as Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, and others. Along with the industrial and economic upsurge in Italy in the 1950’s–1960’s, there was a sharp development of consumer culture; they became the main prerequisites for the development of Arte Povera. The artists who adhered to this movement believed in art as a serious instrument of social influence and conducted political dialogues. The main representatives are: Giuseppe Penone, Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Ceroli.

Arte Povera artists couldn't stay away from the subject environment either. Objects, ceramics, furniture for film and theatrical productions - all this will be shown by the Heritage Gallery as part of the new exhibition. We are actively developing collectible design in Russia, so the exhibition will definitely have items of "poor" furniture, which is also an object of functional art.

The curators of the exhibition paid special attention to such a narrow and rare topic as the design of Arte Povera: the exhibition will include objects by the designer Urano Palma, whose sculptures adorn museum collections in Italy and Korea, and whose furniture is in international collections; functional objects of the architect, designer and poet Riccardo Dalizi, who took an active position in the “anti-design” debate, denying consumerism and functional value in design in the name of the act of creativity; unique furniture by Mario Ceroli "mobile della valle", created especially for the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1967-1977.This is how we want to present the Italian part of the project to the viewer, and now let's turn to the central exposition of our project. "Russian Poor", by analogy with the Italian Arte Povera, opened at the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art PERMM in 2008, later its name was assigned to the artists of this circle. At that time, there were only 36 participants. However, the artists did not have a common manifesto and did not work collectively, as their Italian colleagues did. Unlike the Italian radical young art of the 1960’s, which reacted sharply to the political and social crisis in the country, the "Russian poor"

is an unofficial art that managed to get out of hiding only after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Italy, "poor art" is a protest!

The masters' emphasized disregard for the external representativeness of their works was thought to be a tool that allows art to get out of the sphere of influence of power structures and market laws. The Italian “poor” existed only for one decade, while the “Russian poor” was more likely from the field of metaphysics: it originated in the 50’s of the twentieth century and still has not ceased to exist due to many factors - not only financial, but also mental. “I can see how sloppy a Russian person is in a loose state: he will take a big hammer, an axe, a sledgehammer and blunders... In general, we are poor people after all, what kind of art can we still do?” says one of the main ideologists and artists of this direction, Nikolay Polissky. For the Heritage Gallery project, Nikolay Polissky makes pillar trees that refer us to classical, grandiose Italian architecture using natural materials. Haim Sokol creates unique objects for Belgian collectors; again turning to the topic of disappearance and loss of ties between people: he composes "dead letters" from tin and steel with real texts of Belgian soldiers during the First and Second World Wars. Sergey Shekhovtsov, a prominent representative of the trend "poor", reformulated sculpture in his works, depriving it of its patrimonial pathos, his architectural masterpieces from foam rubber are a ready illusion to the synthetic world of Philip Dick. For the Heritage exhibition, he will create a flock of dogs bearing, like Wim Delvoye's tattooed pigs, the distinctive signs of various art movements and techniques, from Pollock dripping to graffiti.

Anna Slobozhanina is the keeper of the cultural code of the Russian North, a young, talented ceramicist, video artist. Her special project "Lost" is a project about the desire to find inner harmony by creating a subtle connection between the dissolving archaicity of the past and the present. Anna is experiencing this theme through the prism of the aesthetics of the Russian North. Traveling through iconic places: Solovki, Kizhi, the villages of Prionezhya and Prisvirya, the artist studies the history of a world that may disappear in an instant. One of the symbols the artist uses is the pole blade, the iconic element of the dome in wooden architecture. Personal memories and impressions - like a sword on a dome - particle by particle make up a whole where one cannot exist without the other.


“This exhibition is more relevant than ever, turning each of us inside: inside ourselves, the common social problems facing the international community today. And nevertheless forcing them to solve these problems in their own way. The exhibition is conceptional, multi-layered and polysemantic. This is a story about the authenticity of Russian "poor art", about its own cultural code, and at the same time about the penetration of artistic and philosophical ideas and trends of the 20th century into Russia. It is also surprisingly subtle and laconic, the aesthetic works of Italian representatives of Arte Povera, who have conquered the global art market and for which, it seems to me, our collectors are ready for”, says curator and owner of the gallery, Kristina Krasnyanskaya.


Artists: Urano Palma, Mario Ceroli, Riccardo Dalizi, Valery Koshlyakov, Sergey Shekhovtsov, Rinat Voligamsi, Haim Sokol, Andrey Kuzkin, Anna Slobozhanina, Nikolai Polissky, Nestor Engelke, Ivan Lungin, Zina Isupova, Pavel Brat, Mikhail Labazov, Alexander Brodsky, Daria Krotova.


Kurators: Kristina Krasnyanskaya, Zarina Tayts