So yeah (yeah, yeah), Rodchenko & Popova: Defining Constructivism is on at Tate Modern. That's great for a history lesson but what’s up with contemporary Russian art? How about a mother lode of fascinating ideas coursing through the art world with an urgency and grit that’s well worth steering your eyeballs toward? Luckily, Calvert 22 (London’s first not-for-profit foundation specialising in art from Russia and Eastern Europe which has just recently opened) makes it easy for you to take in just that sort of art with its Past Future Perfect exhibition.
Past Future Perfect, Calvert 22’s inaugural show, brings together works by five leading Russian artists: Alexander Brodsky, Pavel Pepperstein, Haim Sokol, Leonid Tishkov, and Stanislav Volyaslovsky. Although their styles and chosen media vary, these five artists seem to draw inspiration from a common desire to excavate the past while plunging head first into fantastic and refreshingly improbable futures. The exhibition represents the works of individuals, sometimes paying homage to Russia's collective past other times hacking it (along with the present day) to bits.
Londonist was most drawn to the graphic-rich comic book-y “Dabloids” of Leonid Tishkov while also greatly appreciating Pavel Pepperstein’s Swastika and Pentagon series (especially No. 22 which features a kneeling Nazi officer giving a BJ to a stoic Russian Orthodox priest). But really truly we were impressed and genuinely touched by all the artists’ pieces on view.
Running from 13 May to 16 June, Past Future Perfect is an excellent opportunity to see some extraordinary art. Calvert 22 is a welcome addition to London’s art world. We look eagerly forward to whatever they may have in store of us next!
Calvert 22 is located at 22 Calvert Avenue (E2 7JP) and is open 10am to 6pm Wednesday to Saturday and on Sundays from 11am - 5pm.
Photography by Chris Osburn