Soviet Union
Archaeology of the Everyday

04 November 2020 — 31 January 2021
  • Soviet Union. Archaeology of the Everyday

Erarta Museum presented a project blending individual experiences and recollections into a unique collective vision of the unhurried everyday life of the late Soviet era

  • Works by 24 artists from all across Russia

  • Scenes from the daily life of the 1970s and ‘80s

  • Paintings with a tinge of nostalgia and, at times, irony


The exhibition at Erarta Museum is centred on the last, relatively trouble-free decades of the USSR and the everyday life of its inhabitants in the 1970s and 1980s. Dealing neither with the Soviet Union as a state nor with socialism as a political system, the project brings to the fore private lives and feelings of the people. The general approach to the subject is archaeological and memorial rather than political. The majority of works showcased in this exhibition were created in more recent times: they are merely recollections, reinventions, reflections on the past influenced by a number of factors.

The artists’ vision was informed by the time gap and various historical events just as much as by their individual experiences. For the younger generation, including Ivan Korshunov, Vadim Leukhin, Ilya Gaponov, Alexander Grekov, memories of the Soviet Union are that of childhood. Some of them made impressive attempts at recreating Soviet imagery in a monumental and romantic vein. As for the older artists, like Konstantin Sutyagin, Alexander Kosenkov, Alla Davydova, Valeriy Lukka, Andrey Semyonov, Pavel Taryshkin, Natalya Shalina, and others, the period of Stagnation was a part of everyday reality they have lived through and reflected upon. Their works based on personal experience encapsulate the individual perception of the era by its contemporaries.

The exhibition is neither a celebration nor a condemnation, neither a judgement nor a collection of curiosities, but rather an attempt to present the late-Soviet life in its ordinary course. This retrospective glance, mellowed by the years that have passed, is meditative at its core. The uneven fabric of visual reminiscences, some of them tinged with irony, barely hides the distinctive features and unique voice of an epoch now past.

The project features St. Petersburg based artists Vasiliy Golubev, Ilya Gaponov, Alla Davydova, Georgy (Gaga) Kovenchuk (1933–2015), Alexander Kosenkov, Vadim Leukhin, Valeriy Lukka, Alexandra Ovchinnikova, Natalya Rumyantseva, Andrey Semyonov, Natalya Shalina, Anna Schyogoleva, Vladimir Shinkaryov, Alexander Dashevsky, and Anatoly Zaslavsky, as well as Ivan Korshunov, Aleksey Lantsev, Konstantin Sutyagin, Pavel Tyryshkin (Moscow), Alexander Grekov (Perm), Artyom Starodubtsev (Petrozavodsk), Nikolay Korotkov (Barnaul), Vladimir Fateyev (Novosibirsk), and Galina Khailu (Krasnodar).

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