Kholin and Sapgir. Manuscripts

Date

From 20 May 2017 to 13 August 2017

Hours

11:00–22:00

Place

Garage Glass Room

This summer, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art presents an exhibition of documents relating to the poetry of Igor Kholin (1920–1999) and Genrikh Sapgir (1928–1999), offering fresh insight into the work of two pioneers of Soviet nonconformist literature. Their names are often encountered together: in literary analysis, in publications on Russian contemporary art, and on children’s book shelves.

Kholin and Sapgir met in 1952 and became close allies. Both were members of the first postwar unofficial community of artists and poets, known as the Lianozovo group, and pupils of its leader, artist Evgeny Kropivnitsky. They worked alongside some of the key names in Russian postwar art, including Oskar Rabin, Lydia Masterkova, and Vladimir Nemukhin. Bohemians of the 1960s and 1970s, their avant-garde poetry was unpublishable until the advent of perestroika. They were heroes of the literary underground, pioneers of samizdat, and featured in the first issue of the samizdat poetry journal Sintaksis, published by Alexander Ginsburg in 1959. Both combined an innovative style of writing with a strong commitment to truth, and a genuine interest in the life of ordinary people. They fused expressionism and realism, with an acute sense of the tragedy of the everyday and the poetics of the absurd. Their funny and moving “barracks poetry” quickly became part of Soviet folklore, often quoted by people who had never read the original texts. Kholin and Sapgir led a double life typical of nonconformist writers and artists of the post-Stalin era: showing their work only to a small audience of friends and admirers, they took odd jobs to make a living. Kholin worked as a waiter at the Metropol Restaurant, while Sapgir was an engineer at the Sculpture Studio of the USSR Arts Fund. Both became famous as authors of children’s poetry, which was read by generations of Soviet kids. Sapgir also wrote scripts for a number of classic animated films.

Stream

Here we’ve put together materials to help you get ready for a visit to the Museum or to take a deep-dive into the themes of current exhibitions and programs at Garage.

Public program
The public program invites participants to meet scholars whose academic specialisation concerns the artistic and literary scene of the 1960s–1970s, and in particular the two main heroes of the present exhibition.

The program also includes live poetry readings of Igor Kholin’s and Genrkih Sapgir’s texts performed by contemporary poets, and talks by Alexander Sapgir-Gribov and Alina Kholina, who will speak of their memories—all held at Garage Auditorium.

The public program events for the exhibition Kholin and Sapgir. Manuscripts will offer a closer insight into Garage Archive Collection and Soviet avant-garde poetry, and marks the legacy of the two authors, significant in the history of literature and art.

Schedule

A Talk by Victor Pivovarov and Book Presentation for The Grey Notebooks and Kholin and Sapgir Rejoicing

The artist Viktor Pivovarov will talk about the key figures and rare details of the underground artistic scene in the 1970s, described in his book The Grey Notebooks and in the new edition of Kholin and Sapgir Rejoicing.  

Date
Saturday, May 27
Time
16:00–17:30
Place
Garage Auditorium

Lianozovo: Aesthetics of Periphery. A Lecture by Sabine Hänsgen

On June 10, Sabine Hänsgen, German Slavic Studies scholar, translator, researcher specialising in history of Russian art and literature will speak on the history of relations between Soviet unofficial artists and underground poets, deriving from her own memories of meeting Igor Kholin and Genrikh Sapgir.

Date
Saturday, June 10
Time
19:30–21:00
Place
Garage Auditorium

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