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Mitki Gallery Opens

St. Petersburg's most famous group of artists - the so-called Mitki - has finally obtained a gallery of its own.

Located in the attic of apartment 20 at 16 Ulitsa Pravdy - an old downtown building near Vladimirskaya metro station - the Mitki Vkhutemas Gallery opened Saturday with an exhibition of 10 paintings by 10 members of the Mitki group.

Named after local artist Dmitry (Mitya) Shagin, the Mitki art collective first appeared in 1984. Its members - including artists Shagin, Alexander and Olga Florensky, Vladimir Shinkarov and the rock musician Boris Grebenshchikov (more of an honorary member) - formally united into a group, now complete with a manager, Sergei Lobanov.

The Mitki work in all mediums, from music and poetry to painting.

Exactly what makes a Mitki is a question. The ideal Mitki of the 1980s worked in a boiler room - a post that satisfied the Soviet state requirement that every citizen be employed, but which left artists unrecognized by the state plenty of free time for their work.

The ideal Mitki was also often associated with drinking cheap port wine, dressing shabbily - the black-and-white striped Russian military shirt is often favored - and cheerfully rejecting all that is fashionable and avant garde, in favor of more warm and soulful pursuits.

The gallery will be open only on Saturdays, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and is now showing the work of Mitki artist Vasily Golubev, who is best-known for his painting, "The Mitki Are Sending Brezhnev to Afghanistan." According to Golubev, his new exhibition will be devoted to the search for "a Hero of Our Time." Directed by Shagin, Florensky and Lobanov, the gallery will also exhibit work by non-Mitki artists and plans concerts and literary events.

- By Sergey Chernov
Original Article
St-Petersburg Times

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