May 13 — June 12, 2011 – Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the «G. O. S. T.» gallery present the project «Alexander Kuzkin. It’s White. It’s Black», the first retrospective show of the artist since 1985. The aim of the project is to show the artist’s wide range of interests. Kuzkin worked as a book designer, illustrator, industrial designer, painter, photographer, poster artist and graphic designer.
The first part of the exhibition contains prints. Alexander Kuzkin was a student of the Moscow University of Printing Arts, the Faculty of Printing Technology. The university was famed for its free creative atmosphere. Though the artist studied industrial design, he found time for mastering his drawing techniques.
The next part of the exhibition demonstrates the book design and two conceptual books-objects. Kuzkin was very imaginative, when he was occupied with book design. He invented an object, rather than just decorated a book. In a sense, he was one of the founders of the mail art in Russia. Kuzkin created a project of the edition «The Sorrows of Young Werther» by Goethe. It was a combination of the mail art and book design. Pieces of the edition, displayed at the exhibition, are letters to be mailed to readers during a certain period of time.
His second celebrated book-object is Anna Akhmatova’s «Requiem». It consists of the series of lithographs with verses in the Chinese style. Kuzkin created this edition for the International Book Art Exhibition in Germany in 1982. It was a period when the «Requiem» was still suppressed and was not published in full. The exhibition presents the layout of the book, restored by Andrei Kuzkin, the artist’s son, who is a well-known contemporary artist, the winner of the Innovation Prize 2009.
The exhibition also demonstrates the artist’s posters. Kuzkin was a talented poster artist. His language was new and individual.
The last artworks by Kizkin are remarkable for the abstract style and bold creative idea. In the early 1980s, such art was still provocative and distinguished the artists who were not afraid of experimenting and did not limit their creativity by self-censorship.
It is impossible to label what art movement Kuzkin’s original and many-sided art belongs to. His artworks have features of minimalism, concept art and abstract art. It makes his art close to the Western Modernist art of the 20 century. Thus, Kuzkin becomes an original representative of the Russian Nonconformist art.
Alexander Kuzkin died from heart disease in 1983. He was 33. He knew he would not live a long life. But it did not prevent him from following his own creative way, experimenting, trying different spheres and taking the risk. Alexander Kuzkin achieved so much in his short life. The fact can’t stop surprising.