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Once Upon a Time, Russia. Ivan Glazunov's vision
Ivan Glazunov
From 15 October 2014 to 11 January 2015

This exhibition is the fruit of painter Ivan Glazunov’s research and private collection. His painting is usually associated with the great traditions of European schools. The main theme of his work is dedicated to the gradual loss of those traditional values on which Russian and European cultures are based. With this exhibition, Ivan Glazunov aims to share with European visitors his personal, yet more and more diffused common worry about the relentless destruction of those historical and cultural links belonging to our cultures for centuries. Like many other artists from his country, Glazunov is interested in the peculiarities of home cultures, languages and historical paths... starting from his own land. 

All this has been created until today –  Glazunov observes – and we have inherited it, which represents the richness and the variety of our society.  Russia has always preserved the memory of its past, and while keeping their traditions alive, our people faced the tragic events of the 20th century. Survived to the revolution, the war, the Soviet regime, we are finding the strength in ourselves to carry on,  remembering the cultural genetic code supporting us across the centuries. This is happening right now, while the world is changing extremely rapidly and we are overwhelmed by a powerful and aggressive stream of information.

We need to preserve our original values supporting us every moment: they are the pivot preventing us from getting lost and helping us keep our integrity. I would like to show what is dear to me about Russia, what I love. During my whole  life, I have been collecting and studying pieces of Russian antique trade: each of them can tell about people who lived centuries ago or even more recently ... These signs have created the image of my beloved Russia. That Russia which is so dear and important to me. The one that I wish to preserve for my children and share with my public. 

The Querini Stampalia Palace represents the best location where to exhibit this project, developed on signs and memory, and characterized by the artist’s private experience. Born in 1869, the Fondazione Querini Stampalia combines the house-museum, its prestigious collections and the large library with spaces of modern architecture by Scarpa, Pastor, Botta: it is the evocative expression of its cultural mission as a “border” place where to meet between the preservation of the past and a special attention to new generations. 

Curated by Silvia Burini and Giuseppe Barbieri, directors of Centro Studi sulle Arti della Russia (CSAR), Ca’ Foscari University, the exhibition gathers paintings, ancient Russian customs of incredible workmanship and precious objects of folk art from the artist’s private collection. The combination of paintings, customs and objects of antique trade in the same place, non-conventionally exhibited through the use of original multimedia devices, gives strength and beauty to a living past allowing visitors to experience the contemplation of the majestic intimacy of Russian landscapes, or a series of overwhelming female portraits.

In the attempt to offer visitors a special participation to the exhibition, the video installation plays a relevant role. The footage was shot by the artist and his wife, director Julija Glazunova, in the North of Russia (Archangel'sk region). The video installation, moreover, has a special and evocative soundtrack produced in cooperation with Andrej Kotov, “maestro di cappella” - one of the biggest experts in the field of ancient traditional Russian music - and choral director of the "Sirin" Ensemble (http://sirin.svyatovo.com).   

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