GIRONA.- A selection of more than fifty of the most representative works of art from the Russian Avant-garde, by artists such as Kandinsky and Malevich are part of the exhibition Origins of the Russian Avant-garde, which has never before been presented in Spain is on view now and through January 18 at Caixa Girona Fontana d'Or Cultural Center.
The show gathers a total of 46 paintings made between 1901 and 1915 by 20 artists who apart from Malevich and Kandinsky include such important names from that period such as: Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Pavel Filonov, Elena Guro, David Burliuk, Valentin Serov, Nicolai Roerich, Isaac Brodsky and Ilya Mashkov.
The exhibition, which does not follow a chronological order but a thematic one, has as a principal theme a journey through Neo-primitivism which was based on the conventions of traditional Russian art forms such as the lubok, the icon and peasant arts and crafts.
With the desire to study the way in which this popular art influenced Russian painting, the work of these artists is compared with a careful selection of 22 traditional Russian pieces, from a dress to toys made at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
The exhibition has been curated by Yevgenia Petrova, the head of the Russian State Museum, located in Saint Petersburg, where all of the works of art on view come from and most of which have never before been seen in Spain.
The exhibition starts off with the works by Malyavin, Roerich, Grabar and Brodsky, made in the first decade of the 20th Century in which the visitor can still observe the impressionist and symbolic orientation in treating Russian rural and folkloric themes that pave the way for Malevichs essential contributions.
These are works of art that start to show the influence of popular sources, totems and landscapes of rural life, which clearly reflect the contrast between a self-portrait made by Malevich and an icon from the 17th Century.
A great part of the exhibition is devoted to Natalia Goncharova, who was among the big leaders of Neo-primitivism in Russia.
The artist shows to perfection the characteristics of Neo-primitivism, her works are dedicated to the representation of rural life and introduce in a special way an interest on traditional art and the creativity of the popular masters.
The creative activity of the painters who belonged to the Jack of Diamonds group is also represented with works of art made in 1910 by Hililla Mashkov, Lentulov and Konchalovsky, who live for some time in Spain and shows the influence he received from the country with paintings such as Matador, in which a bullfighter appears.
The exhibition closes with works made by different artists; highlights include two pieces made by Kandisnky and one by Bosanova, who take the last step in evolution to other movements such as the Suprematist and Abstraction, a final point that opens the doors to Avant-garde.