Exhibition of Works by Mickhail I. Kurilko (1880-1969) at the Exhibition hall of the Artists’ Union of Russia

March 17 – April 4, 2016
Exhibition halls of the Artists’ Union of Russia
37 Pokrovka street, Moscow

On March 17, 2016 at the exhibition halls of the Artists’ Union of Russia (37 Pokrovka street, Moscow) there will be an opening of the exhibition of Mickhail Kurilko (1880-1969) – painter, architect, brilliant master of easel graphics and   theater artist who made set designs for drama and opera performances at theaters of Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, etc.

On display are more than 200 works by M.I. Kurilko from the collection of the artist’s family showing all the directions of his creative work from the 1910s  till the late 1940s. The presented works allow us to trace the artist’s stylistic evolution mirroring trends of Russian fine arts of the time: the 1910s with the tradition of romanticism and symbolism, the early 1920s - the period of fantastic realism, the 1930s - when Soviet art developed parallel to the European romantic realism.

As a philosopher and witness of dramatic events of his time Mickhail Kurilko created an original system for depicting his metaphorical vision. His creative method combined brilliant knowledge of art of various epochs, with which he was in a constant dialogue working at his set designs, and the feeling of modern time. In 1927, he became an author of the first Soviet ballet on the new theme “Red Poppy” staged at the Bolshoi Theater. Precious in Russian art history are his exquisite drawings of costumes and stage decorations for such performances as “Salome”, “The King Amuses Himself”, “Khovanshchina”, “Thought of Opanas”, “The Stone Flower”, “Aida”, “The Enemy Force” and many others.

His innovative insight into the architecture of a theater building was realized during his involvement in the design of an opera theater in Novosibirsk. For the USSR major exhibition complex - All-Union Agricultural Exhibition in 1938 the artist created his distinguished and well-known monumental and decorative works.

The artist’s worldview has been determined by the circle of artists, with whom he participated in the most significant exhibitions of that time. These are – the First State Exhibition of Fine Arts in Petrograd in 1919, the exhibition – competition on the theme “The Great Russian Revolution” at the exhibition halls of the Academy of Arts in 1919, the first exhibition of the Society of Artists in Petrograd in 1921 (together with O. Braz, J. Brodsky, V. Voinov, K. Gorbatov, S. Konenkov, B. Kustodiev, D. Mitrokhin, S. Chekhonin and others), International Book Exhibition in Florence in 1922 (among its participants – Y. Annenkov, A, Benois, M. Bobyshov, M. Dobuzhinsky, V. Konashevich, V, Lebedev, A. Ostroumova-Lebedeva, V. Khodasevich), the famous exhibition of Petrograd artists of all directions in Petrograd in 1923, exhibition of the Society of Artists-Realists in Moscow in 1927, exhibition “Moscow Theaters of the October Decade (1917-1927) in Moscow in 1928, exhibition of A. Kuindzhi Society in Leningrad in 1930, etc.  After the Revolution, in 1919 Mickhal Kurilko worked with V. Tatlin and other masters of left art trends as a member of the Moscow Department for Fine Arts of the People’s Commissariat for Education. Since 1914 he was actively involved in teaching activity. Today, we can call the artist’s contribution to Russian art as culture-forming and his solo exhibition at the halls of the Artists’ Union of Russia is the best proof of the brilliant craftsmanship of the true master.

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