Overcoming the Existence at The Russian Museum
The exhibition called "Ernst Barlach – Käthe Kollwitz: Beyond the Borders of Existence. In Dialogue with their Russian Contemporaries" was opened at The Russian Museum just a few days ago - on April 26 with support of German Embassy.
Two German artists — Ernst Barlach (1870–1938) and Käthe Kollwitz (1867–1945) — come back to Russia, the place that they always felt connected to in terms of culture and that influenced their work a lot. Their works reflect a cultural transfer that began more than 100 years ago in Russia and general situation in Europe of early 20th century. Art works by Ernst Barlach are about the Russian history through the eyes of German traveller. In 1906 he visited Russia where he was amazed with a look of peasants and paupers. He depicted many of them in his works. The drawings by Käthe Kollwitz are also very dramatic. She mourned about her son who died at war the entire life.
What makes Käthe Kollwitz and Ernst Barlach outstanding figures of modernity is their unbroken plea for the man in his existential situation. Neither Barlach nor Kollwitz ever attempted to part from the state of human existence, but placed it in the center of their art and captured it in powerful images, which still produce a massive impression today. Both artists aimed to change the world with their profoundly humanistic art. Their tireless struggle for peace was undoubtedly their greatest achievement. The exhibition of over 220 works by Barlach and Kollwitz is accompanied by an extensive presentation of their Russian contemporaries: sculptors Boris Korolyov, Sergey Konyonkov, Anna Golubkina, draughtsmen and printmakers Vera Yermolayeva, Pyotr Osolodkov, Vassily Masyutin, Nikolay Kupreyanov, and others. Works by Russian artists, distinguished by their acute social vision and profound inner turmoil, could, by all means, be included in the circle of problems raised by many European artists. Shown next to the works by Barlach and Kollwitz, they persuade the viewer that imposing any ideological, political, or stylistic limitations on art is pointless since art has its own instruments for reflecting the complexity of the world, however tragic its history might be. The exhibition is open till July 1, 2018 at the Marble Palace