On 18 December Erarta will open the exhibition of works from the collection of M'ARS Center for Contemporary Art that at the end of the last century brought together the major Moscow nonconformists
The very fact of establishing the first independent gallery in July 1988 in the Soviet Union by efforts of a small group of artists became an important signal of recognition the existence of contemporary art in Russia. Moreover, M’ARS was the only institutional organization that supported the underground authors at that time.
Following the life of M’ARS over the further decades, we can trace the whole history of Russian art market. Thus, the range of the gallery interests originally focused on the underground art of the 1960–1980s gradually spread to the promising young artists. In addition, M’ARS supported the most important initiatives related to promotion and development of contemporary art in general, and such projects as The Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, The Biennale of Young Art ‘Stop! Who goes there?’, Moscow Comics Festival ‘KomMissia’ and a lot more.
In the mid-2000s M’ARS founded Art Digital Festival — one of the first media festivals in Russia. The common social interest in new technologies turned the gallery into a fair center of contemporary art, an experimental laboratory which assembled various media and digital artists under the new name ‘MARSLAB’. Later multimedia became the main expository format of the project.
The exhibition mostly features the brightest works of the Soviet unofficial and semi-official art from 1980s to the mid-2000s. Among the authors are such names as Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Tatiana Nazarenko, Natalia Nesterova, Anatoly Slepyshev, Alexander Sitnikov, Konstantin Khudyakov, Konstantin Zvezdochetov and many others. The works by the “pioneers” of the Russian contemporary art do not only help to get an idea of M’ARS development path but also encourage the audience to further and deeper study of destinies of Russian artistic society over the recent decades.