June 5 - July 22, 2012
At the exhibition participate works from the collection of Sepherot Foundation
MAM together with the «Proun» gallery present the exhibition of an outstanding avant-garde artist, the leader of the Kharkov avant-garde Vasily Yermilov, including exhibits of artist’s works from the collection of Sepherot Foundation (Liechtenstein). For the first time in Moscow, one exhibition will bring together the best works of the artist: paintings, drawings, sculpture, design, book illustrations.
Vasily Yermilov (1894-1968) was one of the leading Constructivist artists of the Ukraine and Western critics call him «one of the best designers of his generation.» His works are in museums and private collections in Russia, Ukraine, USA, UK, Germany and France, they are sold at international auctions. Yermilov’s creation is a synthesis of various artistic movements, including expressionism, cubism, futurism, neo-primitivism.
Yermilov’s art is succinct, so he can be called one of the forerunners of minimalism and conceptualism. The artist has in his arsenal two or three local colors, two or three geometric elements, two or three material textures (tin, wood, tar). By his skillful technique of polishing, grinding, powdering, contrasting oval and angular planes, by perfect proportionally he achieved high compositional and rhythmic effect in his works.
Yermilov’s works display love of Ukrainian folk art, of handicraft, which he raised to the rank of art, love of thoroughness in surface finish, of harmonious clarity.
The exhibition presents several thematic sections:
The largest sculptural work (e.g., agitation and advertising installation for thePaintinganniversary exhibition for the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution, 1927) is preserved only in the form of sketches and old photographs. The drawing of the sculpture «Three Russian Revolutions» looks like a complete work of art. The project of the monument «Monument of the Leninist era» (1960) occupies a special place, its working model is presented in the exhibition.
Among the exhibits there are a few variations of «Guitar» (1919), «Mandolin», many graphic male and female portraits, examples of sculptural art: reliefs and three- dimensional compositions. Since 1922 Vasily Yermilov created a series of bright counter-reliefs and «picturesque objects» from various types of wood and sheet metal, such as schematic «Portrait of the artist A. Pochtenniy. «Among the experiments in photomontage is the notable «At the beach (morning, evening)» (1935), combining painting, photography and relief.
No less interesting is the work of the artist in the poster and advertising art, which became one of the symbols of the Russian and Ukrainian avant-garde. In the case of Yermilov, these are propaganda posters, sketches of packs of cigarettes, of the bottle of eau de cologne «Victoria» and creation of the logo of Kharkov cosmetic factory (1944).
Yermilov’s design sketches (for the Kharkov Pioneer House, 1934-1935) are self-contained pictorial abstractions, colorful, decorative, and despite the modest scale, monumental. Decorating the interiors he successfully used combinations of different colors, the plastic of simple geometric volumes.
Design of numerous books and magazines is based on the use of various polygraphic elements, stripes, circles, photomontage. He created a new «Ermilovsky» monumental font, which became a breakthrough in print design. A striking example of this is the design of Velimir Khlebnikov’s collections of poetry. Yermilov was his friend and designed many of his books, including «Ladomir» (1920).
Vasily Yermilov’s creation with all its bright originality remains open to dialogue with the works of other masters. His discoveries in plastic art, creative aspirations and attitudes, philosophies existed in the context of national and European art during the first third of the twentieth century, which created a single space of avant-garde art.
Vasily Yermilov: «Since in my creative work architecture of small forms of mostly pre-war period is my main occupation I, as a designer, dedicated a lot of time to the experimental work, as well as to graphics and teaching. By increasing my knowledge in painting and drawing, I try to use the great heritage of the past art of all times and peoples, I analyze and learning the laws of creative thinking, I have come to the conclusion that the cultural baggage of the Soviet artist is still very small and does not produce great art, which is common to many eras of the past ».