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Home > Events > 2007 > Lemon Eaters, Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Viktor Pivovarov - Lemon Eaters

16.12.2006 - 15.01.2007

Exhibition in the Museum of Modern Arts

The artist Viktor Pivovarov is very well remembered by people of older generation, who grew up with magazines «Murzilka» and «Vesiolye kartinky» («Funny pictures») in their hands. A unique style, recognizability added to the popularity of the artist. His excellent illustrations decorated a lot of books for children. Children could see practically all fairy tails of Andersen by eyes of Viktor Pivovarov.

In professional circles Pivovarov is known as a participant of the famous «buldozer exhibition» of Soviet artist-avantgardists that was smashed up in the era of N. Khruschev. Pivovarov along with well known artists Ilya Kabakov and Erik Bulatov at the end of 60s turned to be a father-founder of the phenomenon that was later called «Moscow conceptualism». Critiques also called Pivovarov «a researcher of mysterious Soviet soul».

From the Dedications Series
To Alik Tumarkin. 2006. From the Dedications Series. To Vica. 2005. From the Dedications Series To Pasha. 2004. From the Dedications Series

In the 80s the artist left for Prague, birthplace of his wife, where he lives and works till now. Since that time his exhibitions are rarely held in Moscow, but they always become a very interesting event. Viktor Pivovarov is the only Russian artist except for Oleg Kulik, who aroused interest of London Tate-Modern. He was a participant in the exhibition «RUSSIA!» in the Guggenheim Museum (New-York, Bilbao).

The exhibition «Lemon Eaters» that is displayed on four floors of the Moscow Museum of Modern Arts in Yermolaevsky lane, represents the works of the artist for recent years: several picturesque cycles and water-colors albums. The artist himself compares his exhibition with the book that comprises several chapters. «The artist position, - Pivovarov says, - is the thing that links».

Wet Hair. 2005. From the Lemon Eaters series
Picturesque series «Lemon Eaters» (by analogy with «The Potato Eaters» of Van Gogh) gave the name to the complete exhibition. In this series, the traditional for painting themes are interlaced with historic description of the present days: in the interior of a Soviet flat on the old bed lies Venus Giorgione; Salome with the head of John the Baptist on the plate is neighbouring with still life of fried eggs on a stove. Classical topics like «St. Sebastian» or «Judith» are neighbouring with modern motives in the works «Room in a basement», «House in Zamoskvorechie», «Night on the roof».

From the Lemon Eaters series
Girl with a lemon. 2005. From the Lemon Eaters series Kissing the Tree. 2006. From the Lemon Eaters series From the Lemon Eaters series

Potatoes is an everyday food. And what about lemon? The artist creates the whole world, in which angels, demons and people eat lemons. What for and why? The author gives the spectators themselves the right to give the answer to this question. And he also gives a hint: lemon was a frequent item of old art still life pictures, being the symbol of beautiful-bitter knowledge of life.

An excellent catalogue, which, in fact, is a piece of art in itself, has been published before the exhibition.

Moscow Museum of Modern Art (Yermolaevsky per. 17)

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