Art that is dangerous for life. An exhibition «Key to the Universe» open in Alma-Ata

Sergey Kalmykov. Photo

The Alma-Ata Kasteev Museum of Arts is holding an exhibition dedicated to the 115th anniversary of Sergey Kalmykov. The name of the exhibition is «Key to the Universe».

Kalmykov was a Russian advance-guard artist. His oeuvre goes back to the Silver Age period of Russian art; he lived up to the end of the 1960s. Kalmykov’s works don’t have any analogues in the world art history. Besides graphic art and painting, he wrote novels and created librettos. In his diaries Kalmykov made the sense of art from the philosophic point of view.

The Kasteev Museum possesses 1111 art works by Sergey Kalmykov. This part of Kalmykov’s heritage is curated by Lyubov Plakhotnaya (1950−1973), the director of the museum. Some drawings were moved to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Some works have been preserved in the the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and regional museums of Kazakhstan. Besides, a Moscow gallery Hermitage has organised the exhibition of Kalmykov’s works from private collections.

The largest private collection of Kalmykov’s works belongs to Richard Spuner, the citizen of the USA. Alex Orlov, an American collector of Russian origin, created a Kalmykov Fund in the USA and formed a big collection of the artist’s pictures.

The present exhibition features the retrospective of Kalmykov’s oeuvre from the early pictures dated 1910 up to the late works including a self-portrait of 1967 created two month before the death.

The exhibition shows the development of Kalmykov’s oeuvre, the variety of themes and stylistics.

It includes 85 paintings and 41 graphic works by the artist. According to the specialists, graphic works by Kalmykov are the most impressive. They are placed on the big sketch-boards, in massive frames, and under the hard glasses. All the exhibition space corresponds to the exposed art works: the sections are formed according to a particular artistic manner. Some works created in the same style but dated different periods ruptured by decades are placed nearby. They look like the pictures from the same series.

The central part of the exposition has been organised like theatrical wings. The exposition features pictures from theatrical series, different terms, different styles.

Some of the works are known only by the specialists and used to be difficult for people’s understanding: «Sunset» of 1938, portrait of Dina Nurpeisova, «Sports Festival» of 1951, and «Caryatid» (1946), the most fantastic picture by Kalmykov.

Kalmykov’s pictures are characterised by the Silver Age of Russian art (end of XIX – beginning of XX century). Kalmykov used to tell that he’d like exceed Kandinsky and Malevich. Some works by Kalmykov are compared to masterpieces by Dega, Leonardo da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Goguin. In the soviet period his fantastic works weren’t demonstrated, only some realistic pictures were known. In the course of time, Alma-Ata has preserved the art works of the advance-guard artist. It Moscow and Leningrad it was just dangerous for life.

The State Kasteev Museum of Arts

22, micro-district «Koktem 3», Alma-Ata

Tel.: +32 (72) 47 8356, 47 6518, 47 8249


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