In the frame: the year ahead in art shows

In the frame: the year ahead in art shows

From masterpieces by Francis Bacon to the enduring radicalism of Malevich’s black square painting, we preview the best in this year's art exhibitions

Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015

Whitechapel Gallery, London
15 January — 16 April 2015

This epic show takes Kazimir Malevich’s radical painting of a black square — first shown in Russia 100 years ago — as the iconic start point for a modern art striving towards new aesthetic and political horizons. The exhibition features over 100 artists around the world who took up Malevich’s legacy, including Piet Mondrian, Hélio Oiticica, Liam Gillick and Jenny Holzer. Their paintings, photographs and sculptures symbolise Modernism’s utopian aspirations and breakdowns.

Nikolai Bakharev

The Photographers Gallery, London
17 April – 7 June 2015

Nikolai Bakhraev is one of the masters of Russian contemporary photography. This show focuses on his black and white portraits of bathers at public beaches in Russia; images shot during the 1980s when the taking and circulation of photos containing nudity was strictly forbidden. The shots are a unique documentation of Russian life in the late Soviet period. But they are also wryly universal: sharp, intimate and shyly erotic.

Francis Bacon and the Art of the Past

The Hermitage, St Petersburg
Until 8 March 2015

An impressive retrospective of Francis Bacon paintings mainly from the 1950s and early 1960s. Bacon’s bold, graphic and emotionally raw imagery is juxtaposed with works of his predecessors which served him as a source of inspiration, including paintings by Velazquez, Rembrandt, Matisse and Picasso, sculptures by Michelangelo and Rodin, and Greek and Roman sculpture.

The Horizon is Calling…

Kunsthal, Rotterdam
Until 22 February 2015

Originally from Edinburgh, Simon Crofts moved to Russia for seven years during the 1990s as the country was making a transition from communism to capitalism. His new exhibition, The Horizon is Calling… showcases photographs taken during his many trips across Russia, Belarus and Ukraine during that period. The photographs offer snapshots of people facing a changing reality with a mixture of hope, resignation, fear or disappointment.

See more by Simon Crofts on The Calvert Journal here

Melnikov House

Melnikov House, one of Moscow’s most iconic modernist buildings, finally opened its doors to the public as a museum in December 2014. The great avant-garde structure, with furniture and other personal items belonging to the house’s designer Konstantin Melnikov and his son, the painter Viktor, is an essential stop on any architectural tour of Moscow.

See a video tour of Melnikov House at The Calvert Journal here


Grad, London
Until 28 February 2015

Rarely seen original designs, photographs and costumes from Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1931 ballet The Bolt are on display together for the first time in this exhibition.

A stirring story of industrial sabotage written by Victor Smirnov, with a vivid score by Shostakovich, The Bolt was probably the last Constructivist ballet, closing an era of unparallelled innovation in Soviet dance and performance. Met with a violent critical response upon its premiere, the ballet was promptly cancelled and remained unseen until a revival 74 years later. This show brings the story of this tumultuous production to life through a selection of costume designs, period photographs and original costumes.

Close and Far: Russian Photography Now

Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre
17 January — 7 March 2015

Named one of the best photography shows in 2014 by the Guardian, Calvert 22 Gallery’s exhibition Close and Far is travelling to the Mead Gallery at Warwick Arts Centre for its second outing. The exhibition features the rediscovered pre-revolutionary work of early colour photography pioneer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, shown for the first time in the UK, alongside the works of five contemporary photographers and video artists who are exploring identity and place in Russia today.

La Vie est une Legende

Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Strasbourg
Until 8 March 2015

An exhibition bringing together the work of leading contemporary Kazakh artists to offer a diversity of perspectives on the culture, identity and history of an underexplored territory. From Said Atabekov's shroud of Genghis Khan and Yerbossyn Meldibekov's distorted busts of Lenin, to Elena and Victor Vorobyev’s recreation of a contemporary bazaar this is contemporary art that takes a long view of what it means to be from Kazakhstan today.

See The Calvert Journal's report on the leading artists of Central Asia here

Hidden Identities

V&A Museum of Childhood, London
Until 28 June 2015

For Hidden Identities, London-based Italian photographer Yvonne de Rosa has captured the lives of children and families living under adverse conditions in Bosnia and Romania. The project was the result of a collaboration with international charity Hope and Homes for Children. Although detailing difficult personal stories, de Rosa’s images also capture the thrilling landscapes found in remote corners of the Balkans.