Zelfira Tregulova: "Absheron Constellation is very successful project of Tretyakov Gallery and Heydar Aliyev Foundation"
Director General of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Zelfira Tregulova, told about the results of the exhibition of Azerbaijani artists of 1960-1980's 'Absheron Constellation' and the exhibition 'Someone 1917', which will be opened in September, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the presentation of the All-Russian art project 'Windows to Russia. Masterpieces of seven generations'.
- The exhibition of Azerbaijani artists of 1960-1980's 'Absheron Constellation' opened at the Tretyakov Gallery in November2016. It was opened in the cooperation with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Mardjani Foundation. Azerbaijan's First Vice President, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and Vice President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended its opening. How do you assess the results of the exhibition?
- It was a very successful project. The exhibition was visited by about 90 thousand people, and it is an unprecedented figure, the press wrote about it very well. 'Absheron Constellation' showed a different picture of the development of art in Soviet Azerbaijan, which removes the opposition between the official art and the unofficial. We combined our funds - the work of both official artists, which were bought at large all-Union exhibitions, and were not made for sale, and unofficial artists - and realized that, in fact, both of them told about their time with the same precision and with equal force of reflection. The opposition between the official and the unofficial disintegrates and turns out to be untenable today, because a real artist, even being within the framework of the official system, speaks things about his time, about which he cannot remain silent.
- Are you currently preparing any other projects in conjunction with Azerbaijani museums and funds?
- We constantly cooperate with Azerbaijani museums. Now we are preparing an exhibition of the great Russian artist Lazar Lisitsky, who worked as a cultural emissary of Soviet Russia in Europe in the first post-revolutionary years - and we will bring Lisitsky's painting from Azerbaijan's National Art Museum, which will be a key one at this exhibition.
- If we talk about a revolution, which 100th anniversary is celebrated this year, where did the idea of 'Someone 1917' exhibition come from?
- The revolutionary events of 1917 had a huge impact on art and history not only in our country, but throughout the world. The big, serious project, which will be opened on September 27, named 'Someone 1917' after Velimir Khlebnikov's quotation, who in 1912 predicted the incredible upheavals and cataclysms, that were to occur five years later. We will present the works of artists of 1917-1918 in different directions, ranging from the avant-garde - Kazimir Malevich, Vasily Kandinsky, Olga Rozanova, Alexander Rodchenko - and ending with those artists who did not want to see what was happening around, and took refuge in their workshops, paint still-lives and landscapes of aristocratic estates. Vladimir Nabokov wrote very well about it in the 'Other Shores': at the last months before the October events, people had an incredible inclination to capture the realities of, as they probably already intuitively felt, the expiring day.
So we will present an incredible range of revolutionary response or lack thereof on the part of artists: some of them anticipated the incredible tragedy of impending events and the overthrow of the world order, others behaved like birds hiding their heads under the wing. The intrigue of this project is built on the junction of the artists' reaction to what they only foresaw, and our knowledge of what happened after the October events of 1917.