Gely Korzhev / State Tretyakov Gallery. — Moscow, 2016. — 300 pp. : ill.
Gely Korzhev (1925–2012) was one of the most important Soviet artists of the second half of the 20th century, awarded the highest honours in the artistic world of the USSR, in which he occupied an eminent position. But Korzhev stood out from his contem-poraries: the nuances of his realism diverged from the strictly determined tenets of Socialist Realism, while in the last two decades of his life he painted astonishing grotesques, the “Mutants (Tyurlikis)” series, widely interpreted as his reaction to the changing circumstances of his homeland after the collapse of Communism. The catalogue for the first full retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work to be held in his homeland, at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow in 2016, Gely Korzhev, encompasses the artist’s full career — from his early days at art school and war-time evacuation, to the disillusionment of the final years. Interviews with, and recollections from fellow artists provide previously unknown details of Korzhev’s career, while illustrations include a number of his lesser-known works, from both public and private collections in Russia and abroad, revealing new facets of the artist’s evolution. Unique documents, including Korzhev’s manuscripts and photographs from the archive of his family, are published for the first time. The Tretyakov Gallery exhibition marks the beginning of a reassessment of Gely Korzhev’s remarkable career, and his position in the wider context of international art of his time. The full complexity of his character — a figure largely seen as a standard-bearer for the Soviet regime, who became a bitter critic of its aftermath — is revealed for the first time
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