11 artefacts to help you understand post-Soviet Russian art

07 / 10 / 2020
There is a great power in archives. They not only preserve records of people and events, but shape our understanding of history by determining what is remembered and what is erased.
Archives are also crucial to our understanding of contemporary art. Documents, letters and ephemera put artistic expression into social and historical context which otherwise would have been lost.

For Russia’s contemporary art scene, it’s the Garage Archive Collection which carries out this indispensable work for future creatives and historians. Located at the Garage Museum in Moscow since 2012, its main aim is to provide an academic platform for the study of Russian contemporary art in an international context. The archive is also vital to the preservation of Russian artistic expression. Through documents and video materials, researchers can trace the very evolution of modern Russian art, from its underground roots amid Soviet oppression, to the arrival of capitalism and the economic crises of the 1990s, and the beginning of a new millennium.

Especially for The Calvert Journal, the team at the Garage Archive Collection — Valeriy Ledenev, Daria Kuzenkova, Ira Gakhova, Anastasia Kotyleva, Maria Udovydchenko, and Yuri Yurkin — have chosen ten objects which tell the story of contemporary Russian art.