The project of artist group Sever-7 assumes that the Museum of the Petersburg Avant-garde (Matyushin House), a beautiful timber house, is oscillating between reality and illusion, between original and replica. Originally built in 1840s or 1850s, the house survived the Siege of Leningrad: a special order preserved it from being pulled down for firewood. In 1987, the original house was taken apart and rebuilt from new wood. After a fire in 1990 and many later setbacks it was rebuilt again and reopened in 2006.
Inspired by the extra-ordinary fate of the house and by the work of its residents Mikhail Matyushin and Elena Guro, Sever-7 creates its own version of the Avant-garde artists’ world: Animated by the Organic School of the Russian Avant-garde, the group builds a greenhouse in the garden of the museum that can be accessed by the public. Inside a number of tree root sculptures “grow” directly out of the ground, partly original exhibits from Matyushin‘s oeuvre, partly works by the group. In afflatus to the new theories of color in painting by Matyushin, the tree root sculptures are illuminated in various colors. The entire installation is accompanied by a sound installation of Sever-7 that is based on Elena Guro’s poetry.
In 2013, artist Aleksandr Zikarishvili (born in 1983 in St. Petersburg) founded the group Sever-7 in St. Petersburg that exists in various constellations. Eight members (Anna Andrzhievskaya, Petr Dyakov, Sasha Zubrickaya, Nestor Xarchenko, Oleg Xmelev, Aleksandr Zikarishvili, Leonid Cex and Nestor Engelke) participated in their first exhibition. While each of the artists has his/her own individual work, as a collective the group experiments with various media, including performative practice. From 2013 till 2015 the group had its base at Nikolsky alley and realized a number of collective projects there, including Tower (in the framework of the parallel program of Manifesta 10), Flowers and Fruits (of the female members of Sever-7), Axe Work (dedicated to wood sculptures), Pornofaktura, Animalistika, and The absence of the artist (supported by the Smoly Institute) as the closing event of Sever-7’s physical base. Also, personal exhibitions by the group’s members were realized. For the 2015 Museum Night in St. Petersburg, Sever-7 realized the performance-spectacle The Hunting of the Snark at the Matyushin Museum. Sever-7’s project for the festival at Matyushin’s House was created by Zikarishvili, Engelke and Kirill Kanev.
Project Matyushin’s Greenhouse was created by: Alexander Tsikarishvili, Nestor Engelke and Nadezhda Gorokhova.
Branch of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg
Museum of the Petersburg Avant-garde, Matyushin House opened on December 20, 2006. It occupies a two-storey wooden house built in the middle of the 19th century. Mikhail Matyushin (1861-1934), an artist, musician and Avant-garde ideologist lived in it with his wife Elena Guro (1877-1913) who was a poet and an artist. Matyushin’s studio forms the heart of the museum.
Permanent display in Matyushin House Museum focuses on the main stages of the development of avant-garde culture in Russia and shows the diversity of St. Petersburg avant-garde art of the 1920s – 1930s. On display are memorabilia of the Matyushin’s family, paintings and drawings by Mikhail Matiushin, Elena Guro, Alexey Remizov, Nikolay Kulbin, Vladimir Sterligov and followers of Kazimir Malevich and Pavel Filonov; books, manifestos, brochures, photographs and other unique materials, related to the history and the evolution of the avant-garde movement in Russia.
The display consists of two sections: the first one is dedicated to avant-garde before and after 1917, and the second – memorial part – includes the reconstructed studio of Mikhail Matyushin and the room of Elena Guro.
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