Professor Michael Matyushin And His Disciples of 1922-1926

Professor Michael Matyushin And His Disciples of 1922-1926

On March 5, 2008 the Museum of the Russian Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg presents an exhibition entitled Professor Matyushin and His Disciples of 1922-1926.

The steady interest in Russian and Soviet avant-garde art of the early 20th century continues to increase both in Russia and other countries. By the mid-1910s, the avant-garde art had produced Cubo-Futurism which affected the majority of artists, Michael Larionov had founded Rayism (Luchism) art movement, Suprematism had been developed by Kazimir Malevich, material environment had been advanced by Vladimir Tatlin, analytical art – by Pavel Filonov.  The Russian avant-garde had one more trend classified as organic art that was initiated by poet and painter Helen Guro together with the polymath Michael Matyushin who worked as a painter, graphic artist, composer, art historian and theoretician.

The name of Matyushin , first and foremost, is associated  with an idea of all-round development of human perceptive abilities which was generalized by him in the notion of organic culture (eyesight, hearing, sense of touch, thought). Matyushin strived for creating on a canvas a new comprehension of nature in the form of a “current mass of coherent particles perpetually changing its volume, color, size, weight and form”. He believed, that everything existed only in interrelated connection and motion. The principle Matyushin’s  statement under the definition Zor-Ved (Eyesight and Knowledge) meant a new perception of a three-dimensional space (wide penetration) and a new vision of color (interaction of  color with a color,  color with a form, color with a sound, color with speed and motion, etc.). 

The organic art movement was showcased at major exhibitions in Germany, Greece, Spain, Finland, Russia.

Michael Matyushin started working as a teacher in the Academy of Arts at the age of 58 when he was a noted person in the art world and one of the key figures in Russian avant-garde in 1910-1920s. He taught in the Academy of Arts from 1918 to 1926.

This exhibition is aimed at showing Matyushin’s teaching methods and tracing  how his ideas and vision of art were revealed in the teaching process and creativity of his students during their training in the studio of spatial realism run by Michael Matyushin in 1922-1926. Matyushin-teacher wanted his students to understand and master essential principles of creative work of artists of diverse trends from academic to abstract art. He was against strict specialization. According to Matyushin, only wide knowledge could assist a student to set on the right path in his creativity. Matyushin was the first in the Academy to lecture the course on color comprehension.

All exhibits were created from 1922 to 1932.  The highlights of the display are educational installations with models demonstrating Matyushin’s teaching system through the eyes of his pupils.  Many works are on show for the first time.

This exhibition dated for the 250th anniversary of the Russian Academy of Arts has been arranged under support of “Stroyproject Institute”, “Mostotryad-19” and “Ghiprostroymost Institute”, which have executed the recent reconstruction of  Lieutenant Shmidt bridge in St. Petersburg. The opening ceremony will be held under the music by Matyushin.

The exhibition curator is art historian N. Nesmelov.

Michael Matyushin was born in Nizhni Novgorod in 1861. In 1874 he moved to Moscow where he enrolled in the Сonservatoire and majored in violin playing. In 1881 Matyushin became a winner of the competition and the first violinist in the court orchestra in St. Petersburg.  Within the period  from 1894 to 1898 he studied in the Painting School of the Society for the Encouragement of Artists under Michael Dobuzhinski and Leon Bakst. In 1903-1905 he was trained in the studio of
Tsionglinski, where he met with his future wife Helen Guro, in 1906-1908 - in the studio of Elizaveta Zvantseva. Later, in 1908-1910 Matyushin became good friends with poets and futurists David Burlyuk, Boris Khlebnikov and others.
In 1913 he composed an opera “Victory Over the Sun”(costumes and dйcor  design by Kazimir Malevich), musical compositions “Quixote” and “Autumn Dream”. Since 1914 Matyushin worked as an art critic, author, teacher and publicist.

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