Главное здание Театрального музея им. А.А. Бахрушина
Aristarkh Lentulov can be called one of the main experimenters of the Russian avant-garde. A.A. Bakhrushin Theatre Museum presents the exhibition «Aristarkh Lentulov’s Mystery Bouffe» dedicated to the artist’s 135th anniversary. The exhibition covers all the periods of the artist’s creative life and becomes the most representative display of his works made for the last 30 years – altogether about 250 works from 19 Russian museums, private collections and the collection of Fyodor Lentulov, the artist’s great-grandson.
The exhibition offers to look at the artist’s works through the prism of theatricality. The combination of picturesque and graphic easel works with theatrical works becomes one of the principles of building the exposition and allows to trace the interrelation of these kinds of arts, so typical for native artistics process of the first third of the XXth century. Theatricality is typical for Lentulov’s creative work and before his coming to the theatre in 1914 it was expressed with choice of various styles of fine art of the beginning of the XXth century from Impressionism to Futurism, with increased brightness of his palette, with using collage and light effects ascending to theatrical practice. He was trying to achieve outstanding expression and expressiveness, boldly combining the newest language of art and the motifs of the traditional Russian architecture of churches and monasteries.
A.A. Bakhrushin Theatre Museum will show about 70 set and costume designs, as well as the famous model for the production «Demon» /1919/, for which Lentulov has obtained the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925. Some works are shown to the audience for the first time. Other display’s exhibits are theatrical playbills and programmes, documentary photographs of performances, on which Aristarkh Lentulov has worked.
The exhibition shows a whole series of works, important for the artist’s path, helps to trace the development of his creative language. For example, the artist’s wife, Maria Lentulova, appears in portraits every time in a new guise and in a «mask» of a new artistic style. The period of the 1920’s-1930’s is represented by portraits, landscapes and plots on the industrial theme, reflecting Lentulov’s constant interest in the events of the present day and also corresponding to the laws of the stage action.
The «code of theatricality» is also included in the exhibition’s name. The play by Vladimir Mayakovsky, first staged in 1918, determined and consolidated the imaginative and intonational component of the pioneering art. And despite the fact that Aristarkh Lentulov wasn’t this play’s artist, the genre «mystery bouffe» reflects his artistic credo. Not without reason Mayakovsky said that Lentulov did in painting what he himself did in literature.