Organizer: In artibus Foundation
With the assistance of:
The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Vologda Regional Art Gallery, Vologda
Ivanovo Regional Art Museum, Ivanovo
Perm State Art Gallery, Perm
Chuvash State Art Museum, Cheboksary
Rostov Kremlin State Museum-Reserve, Rostov
Saratov State Art Museum named after A.N. Radishchev, Saratov
The exposition includes eighty–eight works by Vladimir Weisberg: paintings, drawings and watercolors – works of all periods. Moscow viewers will see most of them for the first time. One of the earliest paintings has never been exhibited – “Balloon at Dusk” (1944, private collection), the portrait “Woman in front of a mirror” (1956, private collection), painted almost in the traditions of Bubnovovaletovsky “pugach”, and the textbook “Oranges in black papers on a black table” (1961, private collection), were last at the exhibition in 1962, in the Manege, when Khrushchev dealt with non-conformists. Some museum items are also on display for the first time.
The main attention of the organizers of the exhibition is focused on the “white” period of the artist: the 1970s-1980s. By the beginning of the seventies, the genres of his work were finally formed, and iconography became recognizable: a still life of white objects, a portrait, nude – melting contours of objects in a self-sufficient space, “cleared” of everything superfluous.
Over the past thirty years, four exhibitions of the artist have been held in Moscow, apart from group and thematic ones, in his bibliography: museum catalogues, monographs and publications in periodicals – such a calm way of existence is inherent, as a rule, to recognized masters, but this is not a reason to “close the topic”.
In the context of Russian art, Weisberg stands apart, not fitting into the framework of profane official art, and finding very few points of contact with the work of nonconformist colleagues.”I have only one thing in common with my contemporaries,” the artist said during the preparation of one of the MOSH exhibitions.He, the colorist, was primarily repelled by the movement of art towards simplification towards the sign, no matter what load it carried – semantic, symbolic or aesthetic.
The complexity of perception of Weisberg’s painting has generated a number of simplifying, “signal” definitions around the artist – “Moscow metaphysician”, “Russian Morandi”, “white on white”. All of them relate to the external aspects of his work and, naming, are not intended to explain anything. The truth is closer: Vladimir Veisberg is an artist of tradition, his work is bound by strict rules of classical painting, his only program was to comprehend its laws. The connection with the art of famous older contemporaries – Morandi, Giacometti or Nicholson – turns into a demonstration of Weisberg’s widest pictorial range by the example of the iconography of modern art. His famous “white” is a consequence of the dizzying complexity of color relations. The only manifesto of Weiberg, a painter by vocation, temperament and lifestyle, were his words: “I study the palette.”
Weisberg’s painting is the case when information about a painting, whether it is a description or a reproduction, is not able to give a correct idea of the subject, it must be seen with your own eyes. That’s why every exhibition is so important.The space IN ARTIBUS (architect Evgeny Ass), is intended for the exhibition of art of this kind. A bright hall with a frequent row of high windows is an ideal environment for an adequate perception of painting, which, as you know, is created in daylight.
Elena Khlopina’s monograph “In Love with Classical Art. Painting by V.G.Weisberg in the tradition of colorism”, which gave the name to the exhibition. This publication, carried out in 2009 by the initiators of the In artibus Foundation, published, among other things: Weisberg’s theoretical table “Classification of the main types of color perception”, interviews with the artist and a catalog of his works.
The consultant of the exhibition is the Moscow artist Boris Kasatkin. Constant communication with Weisberg (from 1966 to 1985) and an unprecedented careful analysis of his work contributed to the fact that Kasatkin today, according to the curators of the exhibition, is a competent researcher of the master’s painting system and the most reliable source of biographical information.
Curators of the exhibition: Elena Rudenko, Elena Khlopina
Project Manager: Ekaterina Kondranina
Consultant: Boris Kasatkin