NAÏVE … BUT Historical and Stylistic Parallels in the Naïve art and the professional primitive art of the XX-XXI century


Historical and Stylistic Parallels in the Naïve art
and the professional primitive art of the XX-XXI century

Head of the curators’ group
Liudmila Andreeva
Maria Artamonova, Sergey Belov,
Nina Lavrischeva, Vladimir Prokhorov, Alexey Tregubov
Liudmila Andreeva

Vth Moscow International Festival of Naïve Art “FESTNAIVE”

Maria Artamonova, Ekaterina Bashilova, Sergey Belov, Natalia Vyatkina, Vladislav Mineralov, Tatyana Trube

February 1, 2017 at 19.00

February 2 – May 1, 2017

25 Petrovka street, Moscow

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art in partnership with the Museum of Russian Lubok and Naïve Art presents two major exhibition projects: “NAÏVE…BUT” and “WORLD CREATION”. United under the theme of naïve art the exhibitions at MMOMA are conceived to trace the history of the trend by placing works of self-taught artists in the context of the 20th century art process, to find common ground between naïve art and such radical directions as avant-garde, conceptualism and primitivism, as well as to show works of artists of naïve art fr om Russia and Europe.

The creative work of the so-called nonprofessionals has come to the attention of representatives of the emerging avant-garde in the early 20th century. The works of self-taught artists were full of the power of direct perception and symbolism which became popular art of the new era. Their laconism and simple forms of the artistic expression inspired experiments of experienced and well-known masters.

The title of the project “NAIVE… BUT”  (the first floor of the main building of MMOMA) contains a proposal for the expansion of the boundaries of the naïve art perception, overcoming stereotypes associated with its folk character. First, it is a large-scale study aimed at defining the place of naïve art in the context of the general artistic process of the last century. The curators of the exhibition deliberately present together recognized masters of contemporary art and naïve artists – thus the unity of plot motifs, stylistic and thematic layers of the both art groups become apparent.

The concept of the architectural structure is based on the allegory: the historical and stylistic development of the naïve art is depicted in the image of human existence. Each hall of the exposition refers to the essential life cycles: “City”, “Birth”, “Portrait”, “Childhood”, “Feast”, “Love”, “Work”, “Society”, “House”, “Death”, “Inferno”, “Paradise”. The viewer can see artists of naïve art in successful stages of their growing up, their world vision and human feelings, specific features and leitmotifs. For instance, we sense, that a house (“House”) often becomes a central compositional element in works of naïve artists and pastoral scenes of village life (“Work”) are depicted with a cosmic coverage. The theme of the paradise idyll (“Paradise”) helped to escape from hardships and find happiness at least in mind. In the images of terrible creatures (“Inferno”) they portrayed the tension and fear to avoid them in real life.

On display are more than 200 works from the collections of MMOMA, the Museum of Russian Lubok and Naïve Art, as well as state and private collections of the late 19th – early 21st century. The naïve section of the exhibition is represented by Niko Pirosmani, Pavel Leonov, Katya Medvedeva, Vladimir Zaznobin, Elena Volkova and others. Together with the naïve artists of the national school the exposition includes works by celebrated artists of the European primitive art – Henry Rousseau and Ivan Generalich. The “professional section” of the exhibition consists of a wide circle of masters starting from the classics of avant-garde Kazimir Malevich, David Bulyuk, Natalia Goncharova, Ilya Mashkov to representatives of non-conformism and “left MOSKH” of the 1960-1980-s and young conceptualists and artists of the actual direction. The important addition to the exhibition will be items of material culture and everyday life as part of the required historical context.

The project “World Creation” to be held within the 5th Moscow International Festival “Festnaive” (the second floor) continues the theme of naïve art. The exhibition shows a real pictorial “mirror of the nation”, wh ere everybody can recognize himself, aspirations and ideas of the good and evil, right and wrong, important and insignificant, eternal and transitory. On the other hand, it is an attempt to create a space of a multi-sided dialogue with the viewer. The austerity of the expositional structure allows us to sense color and shape, pictorial rhythms and fundamentals of the creation obtaining as many images as there are artists of naïve art.

The first festival of naïve art took place at MMOMA ten years ago. Then the project involved artists from Italy, Israel, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia and Russia. This exposition includes over 300 works from Armenia, Belarus, Germany, Latvia, Italy, Columbia, France and Croatia sel ected by the jury to show the current situation in the world of naïve art.

The exhibition projects “NAÏVE… BUT”, and “WORLD CREATION” are aimed to present naïve art as one of the most profound and at the same time simple for perception phenomena of contemporary art including  a dialogue with works by “professional artists”, as well as to acquaint the public with the key figures of this art direction and new artists.  


The State Tretyakov Gallery, A. Rublev Central Museum of Old Russian Culture and Art, M. Vrubel Omsk Regional Museum of Fine Arts, the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, M. Nesterov State Art Museum of Bashkiriya, F. Kovalenko Krasnodar Regional Art Museum, Yaroslavl Art Museum, M. Tuganov Art Museum.

About the Museum of Russian Lubok and Naïve Art

The Museum of Russian Lubok and Naïve Art has been set up on the basis of two museums – the Museum of Naïve Art and Moscow Museum of Folk Graphics. Throughout its history the Museum’s specialists have done a lot of selfless work on preservation and study of naïve art in Russia and CIS countries. Thanks to major and minor exhibition projects, publications and professional contacts there appeared a rich collection, research works and catalogues. The Museum’s collection contains 1800 exhibits relating to  naïve art and “outsider-art”. Among them are works by Pavel Leonov, Vladimir Zaznobin, Mickhail Korolev, Ivan Sarychev, Katya Medvedeva and many others.

About the Festival  

The “FESTNAIVE” is a key and major event in the world of Russian naïve art aimed at the promotion and study of naïve art. Since 2004 the Festival has been held as a triennale constantly expanding its visitors and geography and attracting wide public fr om various regions of Russia. The “FESTNAIVE” is a successor of the major triennale INSITA held since 1966 in Bratislava (Czech Republic after 1993 - Slovakia).  

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