Moscow Conceptualism

(movement, 1970-1980's)

Early 1970s -1980s. Moscow Conceptualism emancipated art from the social realist tradition which for so long had been the doxa in Russia, making art again autonomous from official society, being both a critique and – still more important – a possible alternative. It proposes a mode of artistic behaviour, both linked to reality and striving to transcend it through radical choices. This return to the real – a microcosm, potentially a macrocosm – can be seen as a return to common sense.

Artists Moscow Conceptualism:
  • alb - zve

This ‘angelic’ moment is till now the defining reference for contemporary art practice in Russia, its ‘second avant-garde’. It is the central strand in the history of Russian contemporary art from the sixties till the late eighties and as such continues to be a ground for artists in Russia up till today…
...As Mr. Bartelik points out, it was Ilya Kabakov (born in 1933) who ‘played a crucial role in preparing the immediate ground for Soviet Conceptualism and then in its flowering,’ especially thanks to his albums that blend drawing and writing. A figure of more than local consequence, Mr. Kabakov has, since the opening of contact between Soviet artists and the West in the Gorbachev era, emerged as one of the world’s leading artists…