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Frozen Dreams. Contemporary Art from Russia

The first comprehensive survey of Contemporary Russian Art to appear in English, Frozen Dreams: Contemporary Art from Russia is a landmark study of Russia’s vibrant, rapidly growing and important contemporary art scene. Guided by the expertise of Hossein Amirsadeghi, the prolific author of fine arts subjects, and Joanna Vickery, Executive Editor of Frozen Dreams and Senior Director and Head of the Russian Art Department at Sotheby’s London, the seminal book charts the evolution of the Contemporary Russian Art scene, explores its origins from Russian history to the Soviet-era cultural paradigm shift, examines the current market for contemporary Russian art, introduces the biggest players in the field today and forecasts its future.

Frozen Dreams brings together eighty profiles of must-know artists, collectors, institutional leaders and patrons in a lively and revealing survey of the Russian scene from the 1970s to the present in addition to three informative and accessible essays by leading experts in the field.

Frozen Dreams – The Artists
The artist profiles expose the enormous variety of work being produced and shown today. Parsing the rich legacy of Russia’s past, these contemporary practitioners draw on sources ranging from traditional icon painting to Suprematism as they engage in critical dialogues with artists throughout the world. Alongside well-established names such as Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Eric Bulatov, Boris Mihailov and AES+F, many newcomers are introduced, including Alexei Kallima, Kerim Ragimov and Olga Chernysheva.

Frozen Dreams – The Collectors, Patrons and Institutional Leaders Individuals and significant new institutions whose contributions are highlighted include Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zhukova, Shalva Breus, Olga Sviblova, Joseph Backstein, the Vinzavod Centre for Contemporary Art and the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture.

Frozen Dreams – The Essays
Written by the Russian art historians Ekaterina Bobrinskaia, Alexandra Danilova, and the American art critic Eleanor Heartney, the three essays included in the book cover themes such as the history of modernism in Russia, the life of samizdat artists under Communism, the explosion in the arts in the wake of perestroika and ongoing ideological debates regarding artists’ aesthetic and social responsibilities, State support versus private patronage and the legacy of the avant-garde.

Frozen Dreams – The Editors
Hossein Amirsadeghi is a prolific writer, publisher, editor and documentary filmmaker based in Europe. He is the editor and publisher of Different Sames: New Perspectives in Contemporary Iranian Art, New Vision: Arab Contemporary Art in the 21st Century and Unleashed: Contemporary Art from Turkey, all published by Thames & Hudson.

Joanna Vickery is Sotheby’s most experienced expert in Russian art and has been with the company for over 12 years. Her expertise is unparalleled, and since joining Sotheby’s she has turned the Russian Department into the most successful in the field worldwide. Vickery has pioneered many activities for Sotheby’s in Russia, notably its participation in the annual Art and Antique Salons in Moscow from 2000–2004. Breakthrough achievements include staging the first ever auction of Contemporary Russian Art in London in February 2007; the sale of the Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Collection in September 2007; and numerous records for individual artists at auction. In May 2008, Russian Vogue noted that “Thanks to her efforts, sales of Russian art in London have reached record-breaking prices, and she has increased the profit of her department by 400%”. Vickery regularly appears on Russian television, and lectures on many aspects of Russian art history, the art market and patronage.

Frozen Dreams – Excerpts
“Today, Russian artists travel freely, partaking of the mobility of ideas and movement that characterises the age of globalisation… However, their work remains coloured by the history of art during the Soviet years, and by the realities of the country that has emerged from the wreckage of that unsustainable system.” – Eleanor Heartney

“For Russia, the 1990s were not only a period of entry into the global context but a time of difficulty accompanied by the demolition of social and political infrastructure. It is not surprising that this latter process inspired a marked interest in the exploration of taboos, most notably through the well-known antics of the Moscow Actionists… Russia, once isolated from the rest of the world, now has a vibrant domestic scene.” – Alexandra Danilova

“Art in twentieth-century Russia was an instrument of ideological propaganda yet its practitioners never forsook the notions of freedom and autonomy. In the twenty-first century, Russian art is finding its place within the context of global culture, striving to preserve the radicalism and drama characteristic of Russian culture while looking resolutely outwards.” – Ekaterina Bobrinskaia.

“Where once the West and Russia offered distorted reflections of each other, today, increasingly, they are bound together in an exploration of the complexities of the twenty-first century world.” – Eleanor Heartney

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