Modern art at ‘Erarta’ in Saint Petersburg

Modern art at ‘Erarta’ in Saint Petersburg
09 June 2016

The Erarta museum holds the biggest collection of modern art in Russia. Given the recent spout of bad weather, I went in search of both some great artwork, and a dry place to spend a few hours.

Opened in 2010, Erarta is one of Petersburg’s newer museums, yet spans 10,000 square metres. Much of the art is innovative and exciting, and features artists from a wide variety of Russian regions. While most of the works of art on display are paintings and sculptures, some are total installations, that are immersive and interactive.

Erarta is historically quite interesting, because Russian modern art formed in a different way than in most countries. During the Soviet era, there was a single style which dominated the art world – called social realism. All newer and more innovative forms of art were pushed to the periphery, and many people were discouraged from experimenting. As a result, some artists exhibited illegally in private homes and smaller exhibition halls. Erarta holds many works of artists of that generation, and some rooms are curated in ‘homage’ to the small and confined spaces the works first occupied in secret underground exhibitions.

Until July 17th, you also have the opportunity to visit the temporary exhibition ‘Up High’ – a highlight for me when I went. and is a collection of photographs by Vadim Makhorov and Vitaliy Raskalov who explore the world in a way that is unfathomable to most: they scale its tallest buildings, bridges, and industrial structures with no safety equipment, and there, up high, they take some spectacular photographs.

Erarta is a must visit for all art lovers here in Saint Petersburg, especially if you are interested in modern art, and I would definitely recommend going next time the rain sets in!

Elara Shurety is currently studying Russian and interning at Liden & Denz. 

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