The Islands of Yuri Sobolev

Anna Romanova, Galina Metelichenko

The Islands of Yuri Sobolev is a multimedia exhibition that crosses the boundaries of a traditional retrospective of a major Russian contemporary artist, as it concludes a large-scale research project. In this voluminous display, the curators presented scarcely known materials that touched upon Yuri Sobolev’s ideas and concepts, and his pioneering experiments in the 1960s graphic design and animation, 1970s multiple-screen slide films, and synthetic theatre of the 1980s.

Having created a concept of illustrated science fiction in the early 1960s, the artist then turned to the idea of ‘perpetual constant of mannerism’ that was coined by German art historians and still remains topical today. The dissonance and subjectivism of art at the turn of an era are important for the work of the artist who lived through all changes in his country and the whole world, starting from mid-1950s. The new humanistic concepts of the 1970s, the hippie movement, psychedelic and rock music, and Oriental art are just a few of social and cultural phenomena that influenced Yuri Sobolev’s graphic pieces, animation, and slide films in new-age aesthetics. For the first time ever, the exhibition presented unique materials covering Yuri Sobolev’s collaboration with director Mikhail Khusid (1980-1996), as well as his School of Contemporary Art in Tsarskoye Selo (1994-2002), which was one of the first educational facilities for contemporary artists in Russia.

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