"Viktor Popkov: Dream and Reality". Venice 19 February - 27 April 2014

The works of the Russian artist Viktor Popkov (1932-1974) will be on display at the University Ca’Foscari in Venice until April 27th, 2014. The new exhibition “Dream and Reality“ examines the most significant works of the famous Russian painter, through themes such as life, fate and death.

Viktor Popkov became one the most influential Russian artists of the 60s, developing a particular type of metaphorical picture that combines accurate observation of life with allegories and dramatic generalizations. The artist is a pioneer of the so-called “austere” style, which is an artistic trend depicting solemn moments of life. The concept of the austere style is to depict situations without intensity, very close to reality. The artists went to factories and other enterprises and tried to portray people and situations without exaggeration.

The majority of Popkov works are dedicated to the Russian culture. His last large painting, Babka Anis’ya was a Good Person (1973; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.), depicts a country funeral, and represents an epic scope, a modern iconographic analogue of Gustave Courbet’s Burial at Ornans.

Six months before Viktor Popkov died there had been numerous attacks on cash messengers in Russia. The Interior Ministry issued an order to use firearms in the event of danger. Popkov and his artist friends were trying to catch a cab one day when the artist, probably unknowingly approached a cash delivery car. He opened the door and asked for a lift. He was shot, the driver mistaken him for a robber.

During his short life Popkov won the Grand Prix at the World Biennale in Paris in 1967. Today, his works are owned by leading Russian museums including the State Tretyakov Gallery and the St. Petersburg Museum. His works have been exhibited in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (2004) and in Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome, (2011).

The exhibition in Venice, ‘Dream and Reality’ is the first retrospective of the famous Russian artists in Europe. The event is organized with the assistance of the Center of Museum Exhibitions of the Russian Federation, Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the Center for Studies in the Arts of Russia at Ca ‘ Foscari. After Venice, the exhibition will travel to the Somerset House in London from 22 May to 24 June.