Glasnost: Soviet Non-Conformist Art from the 1980s
16 April-26 June 2010 Haunch of Venison, London Catalogue by Joseph Backstein, Ekaterina Degot and Olga Sviblova ISBN 9781905620487 (hardback), 40 [pounds sterling] (Haunch of Venison, Galerie Volker Diehl, Kira Foundation)
A splendid collaboration between the Berlin-Moscow gallery Volker Diehl and the Haunch of Venison gallery in London reveals the wide range and power of Soviet non-conformist art. For a brief decade, Gorbachev's strategies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (transparency) allowed a multitude of unofficial movements to emerge from the shadows, combining art and politics in an unprecedented way.
'Russia had the freest press and media in the world. It was virtual anarchy and I was lucky to be a witness to these moments,' says Vitaly Komar, one half of artist duo Komar and Melamid. They were perhaps the first non-conformist Soviet painters to become well known in the West.
As founders of the Sots Art (Socialist Pop Art) movement, their undermining of the Socialist Realist heroic style from 'within' led to their expulsion from the Union of Artists...