“Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union”: The Saatchi Gallery looks at Contemporary Russian Art

A detail of Gosha Ostretsov’s Sex in the City, 2008

This week the Saatchi Gallery in London will launch the group show, Gaiety is the Most Outstanding Feature of the Soviet Union: Art from Russia. The exhibition owes its title to a speech by Stalin, but its work comes mainly from the Saatchi collection.

Gosha Ostretsov collage, from Laughterlife, 2008

If the title recalls LaughterLife, a project curated by Maria Baibakova at Paradise Row in 2008, that is not the only similarity; one of the largest installations of Gaiety – Gosha Ostretsov’s sprawling, splattered Sex in the City – made its first appearance in LaughterLife.

Other artists in the show include Ira Korina, Lludmila Konstantinova, and Dasha Krotova – all, with Ostretsov, part of Baibakov Art Project‘s inaugural show, invasion : evasion – as well as Boris Mikhailov and Anna Parkina.

As the The Art Newspaper reports, this is not the only glimpse of the Soviet scene offered up at Saatchi: collector Igor Tsukanov will lend many of his works – including those by Oscar Rabin and Komar+Melamid – to a second, more historical show called “Breaking the Ice” (which features heavyweights like Kabakov, Erik Bulatov, and Dmitry Prigov, among others.)

Gaiety will be on view from November 21, 2012 until May 5, 2013. Breaking the Ice runs from November 21, 2012 through February 24, 2013. A full roster of participating artists in that show can be found here. More information on the Saatchi Gallery can be found on its website.

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