A brief history of the gallery



   The Kovcheg gallery was founded in 1988. For these years we realized around 300 exhibitions and art projects. Some of them were put into practice in cooperation with the largest Russian art museums – the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the State Tretyakov Gallery (both in Moscow). For long period of time the Kovcheg gallery has also cooperated with other museums in Moscow and in various regions of Russia. Since 1996 when international fairs of contemporary art were founded in Moscow (such as the Art Moscow and the Art Manege), we’ve participated in them. For example, while taking participation the Art Moscow, the most authoritative and advanced art fair in Russia, we always tried to combine traditional fine arts with actual tendencies.

   The gallery’s curators were rewarded by the Russian Academy of Fine Arts for the exhibition program ‘Not to Be Forgotten Names’. The Art Moscow Foundation presented us with honorary diploma for development of contemporary art in Russia. The gallery took part in the 1st (2005), 3rd (2009) and 4th (2011) Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art. Since 2009 we began presenting our authors on the international art scene. In the summer 2009 we showed artworks of the gallery’s authors in Cuopio, Finland. In 2010 we participated in the artbygenève fair and in the Selection Art Fair Basel (Switzerland). In 2010 and 2011 we took part at Art.Fair (Cologne, Germany).

   The name of our gallery is firmly associated with interest in artistic culture of the early decades of the past century. Indeed, Kovcheg has devoted much time and effort to the art of the 1910s through the 1930s. However, the Kovcheg curators do not strictly confine themselves to a certain historical period. Rather we are fascinated by the continuity of artistic tradition going back from our day to the time of the legendary VKHUTEMAS-VKHUTEIN art institute, the main breeding ground of new Russian art of the 1920s. Least of all is Kovcheg studying art that in the 20th century stayed so much abreast of the times that it quickly lost whatever artistic and individual value it had and eventually became little more than a tool or downright a mere component of the state ideological machine.

   In other words, Kovcheg is primarily interested in the personality, in the artist’s individuality and in what makes him stand out from amidst his surroundings, even if he is at times associated with one group of likeminded people or another.

   The Kovcheg Gallery has chosen the tactic of not only showing works of these artists at their monographic exhibitions. Theme projects that make it possible to unite what seems to be incompatible art around one subject matter or another, be it waterside recreation, drawings on old newspapers or the evolution of the image of a smoker in the course of several decades, and a multitude of other far from trivial themes, serve to actualise traditional pictorial material in contemporary circumstances. Kovcheg often draws on state museums and private collections when staging such projects.

   Today, again colour scheme, plastic form, poignant composition and innovative pictorial style prove more important than any place-specific ideological precepts, putting Russian art back into the context of universal criteria.