Alexander Tyschler. Play and Acting

14.07.2017 – 17.09.2017

Private Collections

Buy a ticket to the Department of Private Collections to access the exhibition.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts presents the exhibition “Aleksander Tyschler. Play and Acting”. Over 150 art works of Aleksander Tyschler – paintings, graphics, sketches for costumes and scenic designs from the collection of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts are presented at the exhibition. A number of items from various private collections are also included in the exhibition, which is arranged to highlight the launch of the catalog of Tyschler’s works from the holdings of the Pushkin Museum. This book marks an important step in exploration of the fascinating legacy of Aleksander Tyschler, whose art works connected theater stage and poetic imagination.

The dedicated exhibitions of Tyschler’s works do not take place often: the last event was in Moscow almost 20 years ago, in 1998. The connections between the theater stage and the poetry of make-believe is the leading concept of this grand-scale display of Tyschler’s art. The exhibition includes 5 sections dedicated to five topics that stirred the artist’s imagination during his fruitful life-long career: “Man on the Earth”, “Executions by Firing Squad”, “Love, or Dreaming of the Fair Lady”, “Theater,” and “Capriccio”.

One of the most important parts of Tyschler’s art are his stage and costume designs made for theaters. The artist designed more than 80 plays in theaters of Moscow, Leningrad, and Minsk. Art historian and critic Jacob Tugendhold said that Tyschler’s art in general was “leaning to play and acting”. It defined the universal nature of the master’s artistic method, which was applicable to both easel painting and theatrical stagecraft. “Theater” section features art works consistent in style and color, from the general view of scenic designs to elaborate costume details.

In the section “Love, or Dreaming of the Fair Lady” you will find Tyschler’s drawing “Vanda” – his earliest work from the holdings of the Department of Private Collections. This special, shimmering female character accompanied Tyschler during his artistic career: behind the whimsical shapes a covert passion can be noticed. This is how the image of the girl with a ship on her head was born (“Oceanide”), which alludes to both antique sea gods and Aleksander Grin’s “She Who Runs on the Waves”.

The section “Man on the Earth” includes works that show the artist’s special conviction: a family is a part of the Universe, and perhaps one of its foundational tenets. Along with this idea, the theme of a special, empty space appears in his works in the 1930s. In “Motherhood” (1932), the theme of abandonment of humans in a hostile, impartial space is clearly visualized. During this period, the artist doubted the grandeur of human spirit.

The most dramatic section of the exposition is “Executions by Firing Squad”. Images of death through violence appeared in Tyschler’s drawings in the 1920s. The tragic fate of his family and the Civil War that he witnessed brought the series “Execution,” “Pogrom,” and “Makhnovism”. In these works, the master depicted unruly and meaningless cruelty. For the first time, the poster “Antisemitism is Deliberate Counter-Revolution” is exhibited, where the drama reaches its peak: the whole world is broken into two parts, the victims and the executioners. The artist revisited the fight between the armed evil and the vulnerable good a few decades later, in the 1960s, in his painting series “Fascism” and his lithograph series “Execution of Pigeon” and “Executed Angel” (1964).

The section “Capriccio” is dedicated to Tyschler’s works inspired by street theaters and traveling shows, public celebrations and performances. The first exhibit here is “Radiooctobrians” (1925). This sizable, elaborately penned composition shows a street celebration on the occasion of radio anniversary. The topic is complemented by “Jugglers,” “Centauresses,” “Clowns” – the images that haunted Tyschler’s works for decades.

The exhibition curator is Anna Chudetskaya, a leading researcher of the Department of Private Collections at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

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