Gely Korzhev in Venice

The Venice Biennale is currently in full swing and the city is also full of modern and contemporary exhibitions. My first post from Venice is from a very strong exhibition of the work of Gely Korzhev (1925-2012). Situated in a sumptuous space at Ca’ Foscari palace, part of the University here.

Venice, University Soviet russia
Exhibition of works by Gely Korzhev (1923-2012) at University Ca’ Foscari, Venice.


Gely Korzhev first exhibited at the 31st Biennale in 1962. Part of that exhibition was his full height triptych which has been brought back as the main feature of this show. The full meaning, Korzhev never shared but it’s impact was immense. It describes a soldier on the battlefield, a colleaguue retrieving a standard and an artist in uniform sculpturing Homer.

Venice, Soviet russia, biennale
Gely Korchev, Homer, 1958-60 exhibited at 31st Venice Biennale in 1962 and now at Ca’ Foscari University exhibition, Venice


In addition to the triptych are some thirty other paintings showcasing Korzhev’s great talent as a figurative and still life artist. The colours and treatment of the still life’s is especially exhilarating.

Still life, Russian venice
Gely Korzhev, Still Life with Pots, 2008.


The still life above leads to my final observation; that the last set of figures were painted in 2008-9, when Korzhev was eighty four. They show no sign of losing any of the tight design and crispness of his earlier work. Compare this to the fuzziness of Renoir and Monet late paintings. All the works in the show were from Russian institutions and galleries, which invites one of my oft said challenges for a curator to bring these great works to the UK.

Gely Korzhev, Anxiety, 1986.
Venice, Lenin, Russian revolution
Gely Korzhev, Conversations, 1985, at Ca’Foscari, Venice

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