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Vadim Kosmatschof. Breathing Sculpture

New Tretyakov, Krymsky Val, 10, halls 80–82
may 17 august 18

In co-operation with the Austrian Cultural Forum Moscow

VADIM KOSMATSCHOF has lived and worked in Western Europe for 40 years. This Summer’s exhibition at the New Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val will be his first major solo show in Russia. The display of over 60 works will cover all periods and aspects of Kosmatschof’s creative output – ranging from sculpture, painting and graphics to porcelain and video.

Kosmatschof’s artistic roots lie in the Russian Avant-Garde, whose works he first encountered in the Tretyakov’s reserves when he was a student in Moscow. His work addresses universal values of harmony, balance, dynamics and force, and has evolved from rigid industrial modernism to an understanding of sculpture as a living organic form. By interacting with both the urban landscape and elements of nature, his creations open a new perspective on the role of sculpture in the 21st century.

THE EXHIBITION is organized chronologically in two parts, Retrospective and Perspective, spread over two floors of the New Tretyakov Gallery. Kosmatschof’s landmark 65-foot abstract sculpture Construct, installed in front of the Turkmenistan State Library in Ashkhabad in 1975, is represented by original mock-ups, a video, and a series of photographs taken during its installation. A number of large-scale German commissions are featured in a film by Andreas Waldschutz that explores the integration of Kosmatschof’s sculptures into urban and rural environments.

Highlight of the section on Kosmatschof’s recent work in Austria will be Unfolding Square, the 2.8 x 2.8m prototype and indoor kinetic version of his 8 x 8m Urban Quadrat. By interacting with the viewer, environment and surrounding architecture, his recent works steer sculpture on a new course. Incorporating the latest energy technology, they move according to changes in the weather or variations in sunlight – enabling us to feel the energies of the universe on a new, different level, and to feel ourselves an integral part of it.

An extensive catalogue, covering all aspects and periods of Vadim Kosmatschof’s career, has been specially prepared for the exhibition – with articles by Kirill Svetlyakov, Georg Shoelhammer, Peter Noever, Vitaly Patsukov and Anna Māpolis.

VADIM KOSMATSCHOF (born Kaluga 1938) studied at the Moscow Art School before graduating from the Stroganov Academy of Arts & Design in 1965. He made his reputation with a series of pioneering works in industrial porcelain before becoming one of the main proponents of Modernism in Soviet Monumental Art, producing metal sculptures of unprecedented size and freedom – culminating in a 65-foot abstract sculpture outside the National Library in Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan. 

Vadim Kosmatschof

After taking part in the Unofficial Soviet Art exhibition at the 1978 Venice Biennale, he was invited to lecture and exhibit in the West and emigrated to Vienna, where he lived from 1979-83. In 1984 he settled in Germany, winning several competitions for a string of large-scale public art commissions.

In 2007 Kosmatschof visited Russia for the first time since 1979, to participate in the Russian Museum’s exhibition Adventure of the Black Square – where his project Unfolding Square was set in a spatial dialogue with Malevich’s Black Square.  Since 2010 Kosmatschof has again lived in Austria, focusing on the mutual influence between Art and Science, and exploring the notion of ​​‘breathing forms’ and ‘solar sculptures’ that move through exposure to sunlight. Many of these works are showcased in the tiered garden outside his home in Höflein an der Hohen Wand, 45 miles south of Vienna.

‘The exhibition of my work at the New Tretyakov Gallery symbolizes the return of my name to the field of Russian Culture – a sign both of fidelity to all participants in its unprecedented Avant-Garde scene, and of hope for the revival of its spirit of discovery’ 


Curators: Kirill Svetlyakov, Anna Māpolis / Moscow; Peter Noever / Vienna
Scientific consulting and program: Georg Schoellhammer
Exposition: Kirill Svetlyakov and Nina Divova
Architecture: Veech x Veech

A comprehensive catalog covering all the periods of Vadim Kosmatschof's art will be available, with articles by Alexander Lavrentjev, Anna Mapolis, Peter Noever, Vitaliy Patsukov, Georg Schoellhammer and Kirill Svetlyakov.  


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