The Vadim Sidur Museum has opened a revised exposition highlighting the evolution of the sculptor’s works and offering a distinct view of his creative path and the development of his paradigm.
Vadim Sidur is one of the most significant and undervalued Russian sculptors. His artistic legacy is just overwhelming. During his 30 years of work in a basement studio, he created more than 500 sculptures and over 1000 pieces of graphics. Even during his lifetime, his monumental works were installed in many cities in Germany and the USA. Sidur’s basement studio was a world of its own, which was off limits for the official Soviet art, though it always attracted friends and admirers. The visitors to the studio included, among others, filmmakers Elem Klimov and Vasily Shukshin, poets and writers Bulat Okudzhava and Tonino Guerra, Heinrich Böll and Yuri Trifonov.
Nearly all exhibitions of Vadim Sidur since 1987 have aspired to showcase his art in its complete variety and diversity, featuring the works that accumulated over his lifetime in his basement studio. You have to keep in mind that his shows faced the persistent threat of another potential ban, so there was a need to stride ahead.
In July 2014, the Vadim Sidur Museum reopened after a renovation and emerged as a modern convenient exhibition space, presenting a new museum format, which first of all emphasized comfort for the visitors but is also designed to accommodate educational programs, lectures, film screenings and art evenings.
The main purpose of the exposition of 2014 headlined “Vadim Sidur. In Search of the Man” was to represent the diversity of the sculptor’s works by recreating, in a renovated space, the atmosphere in which his sculptures belonged in the basement while arranging them more arbitrarily and at the same time more logically by subjects.
The revised new exposition designed to a principle “less but better” as contemplated by its curator, Sidur’s old friend Karl Eimermacher, the famous German scholar of Slavonic studies and former director of the Lotman Institute for Russian and Soviet Culture at Ruhr University (Bochum), focuses on the evolution of Sidur’s art across three periods of his artistic path (the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970-1980s). Future exhibitions are planned to highlight some other equally important aspects. The works on display exemplify specific patterns relating to the thematic, aesthetic and formal interpretations of Sidur’s art in each of the periods, as well as particular problems of human life and sculpture in Russia and Western Europe.
The main space of the museum accommodates key sculptures and pieces of graphics. Sculptures are arranged in a spacious room so that they can be observed from different angles. The room on the second floor houses Sidur’s works on war subjects in an exposition called “After the War”.
The exposition is accompanied by curator’s texts and excerpts from Sidur’s interviews explaining the evolution of his views and formal method. Video footage from a documentary about Sidur is screened at the exhibition; going further, interactive monitors are planned with additional information in Russian, English and German.
“In an attempt to break free from the traditions dictated by the Soviet art education and to find his own way in art, Sidur followed the principle “And yet…” as he created his works in accordance with his own artistic and ethical vision. The results were works that did not illustrate or paraphrase other existing pieces or movements of art, but rather involved the viewer into a new dialogue. With this successful attempt, Sidur has introduced himself into the varied context of the European art of the 19th century,” Karl Eimermacher said to explain the title of the exhibition.
About the curator, prof. Karl Eimermacher:
Karl Eimermacher (born in 1938) is an outstanding German scholar of Slavonic studies, a semiotic, literary historian, art scholar and professor. He is the founder and the first director of the Lotman Institute for Russian and Soviet Culture at Ruhr University (Bochum). He is also the initiator, mastermind and sponsor of many publishing projects related to Russian history and Soviet culture, the most prominent among them being the three-volume edition “Russia and Germany in the XX century”. He has authored numerous articles and books about Sidur and many papers on the history of unofficial Soviet art. It was he who introduced Sidur’s unique works to the Western audience after he met Vadim Sidur during a visit to Moscow in 1970 as part of his research work. Dozens of exhibitions, the publication of a complete catalogue of Sidur’s works, and the installation of monuments cast after Sidur’s models are the results of the energetic efforts of Eimermacher as a Sidurtraeger. More than just an admirer, Karl Eimermacher has been Sidur’s long-time friend, sharing his views on the role of art and personality in the world. Even after the sculptor’s death, Eimermacher has continued his mission to promote Sidur’s influence and works, particularly in Russia. It was his initiative and efforts that brought to life a two-volume edition of personal correspondence between himself, Vadim Sidur and his wife Julia and Julia’s diaries and helped to establish the Sidur Foundation with RGALI (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art). The Vadim Sidur Museum also owes much to the efforts of Karl Eimermacher who contributed to its reopening following a long renovation.
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