December 15, 2011 to January 15, 2012 – Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 25 Petrovka str
OstenGruppe is an association founded by designers Eric Belousov, Igor Gurovich and Anna Naumova. It appeared in Moscow in 2002, during the period of the rapid growth of the Russian advertising industry. The group’s activities are based on principles of the alternative culture, i. e. pre-revolutionary protest, radical attitude to the visual language, principal stand, liking for avant-garde thinking, ideology of the cultural diktat. OstenGruppe is a group of artists with their own styles, skills and dispositions. Individuality of each member contributes to the whole image of the group.
During a rather short period of time, the OstenGruppe has become a cult group in the Russian design. Not differentiating between the «low» and «high» genres, the group focuses its attention on the genre of the street poster art, seemingly non-topical in the 21st century. Following traditions of the 20th century graphic art and using cutting-edge achievements in the field of visual culture, the designers breathe new life into the social and plastic achievements of the Russian avant-garde art. The «art of the day» principle becomes vividly apparent in collaboration of the OstenGruppe with the Cultural Centre DOM. The lab provided design for music events. The poster transforms from a street advertisement into a method of the alternative visual culture.
The up-to-date poster is a platform for socialization of the artistic gesture and at the same time for the plastic experiment. Balancing on the verge of the applied and visual arts, public and individual utterance, the poster is called upon to bridge the gap between the «high» and the «low» cultures. Moreover, the poster performs social functions. It touches upon the issue of communication and its opportunities. What are the limits of the public utterance and do they exist at all?
The exhibition by OstenGruppe in Moscow Museum of Modern Art is called upon to expose the subject of the Russian contemporary poster and print art in the context of development and continuation of the avant-garde art of the 1920s. It is devoted to problems of the tradition and continuity in the Russian visual culture and the importance of the Russian print art in the world context. It is the first exhibition of the lab in the museum space. The exposition contains well-known and new works by the designers. Along with posters, there are objects, small print forms, documentary materials, which narrate the history of the group and introduce the project members to the audience.
A catalogue, illustrated with the most typical artworks by the group, has been published for the exhibition. This edition reflects the specific character of the designers, their approach to the creation of products of mass visual communication.
Igor Gurovich. During his career, he has been working in the field of set design in Russia, Latvia and France. In 1995-2002, he worked as art director at IMA-Press Publishing. Since 2002, he has been a member the OstenGruppe.
Anna Naumova. She has been engaged in print design since 1994. Prior, she had worked as theater artist. She has graduated from the Moscow Polygraphist Institute. For four years, she was working at IMA-Press Publishing. Together with Igor Gurovich and Eric Belousov, she is a founder of the OstenGruppe design lab.
Eric Belousov. In 1983-1985, he worked as graphic designer during his military service. In 1992, he graduated from the Stroganov Art School. In 1997-2002, he worked at IMA-Press Publishing. Since 2002, he has been a member of the OstenGruppe. Since 2007, he has been an academician of the Russian Academy of Graphic Design.