50+1 Stories from the Costakis Collection at MOMus-Museum of Modern Art

50+1 Stories from the Costakis Collection at MOMus-Museum of Modern Art

What common thread could be linking Rosa Luxemburg, Jackson Pollock, Vasily Kandinsky, Leon Trotsky, Oscar Wilde and Yoko Ono with visual artists active in early 20th century Russia, such as Kazimir Malevich, Liubov Popova, Solomon Nikitin and Vladimir Tatlin? How did an art exhibition that was held one hundred years ago instigate such heated confrontations between participating artists, and how did a rare edition end up printed in the form of a wallpaper? How did a work of art end up going through... an X-ray in a public hospital? 

The answers to these and many more questions can be discovered by the public in the 50+1 stories presented in this exhibition, hosted from 08 June until 12 November 2023 at Thessaloniki’s MOMus-Museum of Modern Art, in Moni Lazariston (the exhibition will open on Thursday 08 June 2023, at 19:00).

More than one hundred works of art and archival material from the Museum's renowned Costakis Collection will serve as the basis for the narratives and journeys presented to visitors, functioning in parallel and complementary to the stories that accompany them. 

Almost the entire line-up of artists included in the Costakis collection are represented in this exhibition, together with all the various art trends and groups from early 20th century Russian avant-garde, in an equal and complementary concurrence of artworks and texts. The narrative has a fairly anecdotal character and is enriched by the unabridged, original recollections of collector George Costakis, which function as the common thread.

Across both floors of the venue in Moni Lazariston, visitors will be able to see an entire era unfolding before their eyes: the period’s artistic pursuits, the travels and personal stories – that include both heated conflicts and deep friendships-, the limitless creativity and inventive experimentation of the artists, as well as the social, artistic, philosophical, scientific and literary turmoil of the era. Additional narratives describe the establishment of schools of art, the plans for the radical renovation of buildings and the construction of monuments, plans that never came to fruition; they present work uniforms meant to change the lives of workers; they recount instances of heavy-handed censorship that would often reach a tragic conclusion for the artists; and they follow the artists’ innermost intellectual quests and journeys and their challenging conclusions. And much more. 

We are not dealing here with isolated stories from the era that has gone down in art history as the Russian avant-garde. Besides, this era was never a coherent, unified movement. It was also a period that was rescued -literally- from oblivion thanks to the efforts of George Costakis. On the contrary, the exhibition reveals hitherto unknown aspects of the period to the general public, aspiring to become a landmark in the treatment, study, approach and promotion of MOMus’s Costakis collection.

The exact dates of the guided tours and parallel activities will be announced shortly.


Curated by

Angeliki Charistou, art historian, head of the Costakis collection and archive, MOMus-Museum of Modern Art-Costakis Collection

Scientific supervisor

Maria Tsantsanoglou, art historian, director MOMus-Museum of Modern Art-Costakis Collection


Vasilii Bobrov, Varvara Bubnova, Vasilii Chekrygin, Aleksandr Drevin, Boris Ender, Aleksandra Exter, Pavel Filonov, Natalia Goncharova, Elena Guro, Ivan Kliun, Gustav Klucis, Aleksei Kruchenykh Ivan Kudriashev, Mikhail Larionov, Aristarkh Lentulov, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Mikhail Matiushin, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Aleksei Morgunov, Solomon Nikritin, Liubov Popova, Kliment Redko, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, Vsevolod Sulimo-Samuilo, Vladimir Tatlin, Nadezhda Udaltsova

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