Ace of Diamonds
Oleg Tselkov's Solo Exhibition
June 04 – August 10, 2014
As part of the traditional solo exhibition series featuring works by leading Russian artists, the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation presents Oleg Tselkov's solo exhibition, timed to coincide with his eightieth anniversary.
Being one of the most remarkable Soviet Nonconformist artists, Oleg Tselkov had a remarkable and difficult creative career: from the Underground exhibitions till a great renown. Nowadays Oleg Tselkov is one of the most outstanding Russian artists on a worldwide art scene. His works are in the collections of the State Hermitage museum, the Stedelijk museum (Amsterdam), the Tretyakov gallery, the Pushkin State museum of Fine Arts, the Russian museum, the Zimmerli Art museum at Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA), and other main state and private collections.
There will be more than 45 works displayed in the Foundation halls, dating from 1968 till the year of 2011, from the author's collection, private collections, and state museum collections. It is the first such an exhaustive exhibition in Moscow, which includes early paintings and recent ones.
Central characters of Tselkov's paintings, so called "mugs", "masks", "guises", appeared in the 1960s, and now they are a distinguishing feature of his art.
"Who are they? Where in the recess of my mind were they born, forcing me to peer into them? What features of tellurians of all the times do they include in their faces?" (Oleg Tselkov "Group portrait with the watermelon", 1978).
The big paintings are laconic, monumental and glow, they precisely reproduce a large spectrum of half-tints. At the same time the works attract audience with an incredible force and provoke a rejection.
Oleg Tselkov has an eccentric character, stands apart, and never fits common standards. The name of the exhibition was offered by the artist himself. As everybody knows, convicts were called "aces of diamonds". For Tselkov it's not so much an actor’s figure standing on buskins, as an image of a dashing hooligan, a personage from a downstream culture, a lonely convict, an apatride. "Ace of Diamonds" is consonant to "Jack of Diamonds", this is how Russian artists, my predecessors, named themselves. After 40 years their paintings taught me, a youth, to make my first steps in art.
Like in artist's works, in the image of "Ace of Diamonds" at the same time you can find anger, and incredible self-irony, even humor, and, of course, a bit of epatage – a reference to "Jack of Diamonds", a great art movement of the XXth century. The artist himself was delighted with works of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and late works of Malevich. His paintings are compared with Primitive art of Henri Rousseau, Fernand Leger's art, Expressionism, Dramatic Decorativism, Surrealism. However, in spite of the parallels with lots of European modernist art movements, Tselkov's art, like his personality, is absolutely unique.
The Foundation is going to publish a new book about Oleg Tselkov, as part of its publishing schedule. The monograph will contain archival materials, photographs and interview, as well as many artist's paintings, including early ones, stylistically similar to the works of "Jack of Diamonds", and recently complete canvases.