24 january—13 may 2019
The exhibition “Solomon Yudovin. Graphic Works from the Besieged Leningrad” from the collection of Evgeny Gerasimov and the Russian Museum is timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad. The artist witnessed and experienced the siege, one of the most tragic events of the Second World War, firsthand.
Yudovin worked on the graphic series “Leningrad in the Days of the Great Patriotic War” for several years between 1941 and 1947. He created a kind of chronicle of the life of the besieged city struggling for existence, pushing the limits of human capabilities... The artist experienced the first, most severe winter in besieged Leningrad when the city residents were starving under ceaseless fire in terrible cold. And it was precisely at this time that a significant part of his ‘siege series’ was created: drawings, monotypes, and engravings, many of which were later reworked and became the basis of the widely distributed series of prints. Looking at the graphic chronicle of those days, it is very important to understand the context of time, the specific moment in which it was created. The modern viewer looks at it from the distance that history provides: we know how long the siege lasted, and when the victory over Nazism ended the war. But the residents of besieged Leningrad were tormented not only by wartime and proximity of death but also by the unknown. No one could know what the turning point of the war would be, what challenges were waiting for them ahead... And it was at this time that Yudovin was working hard, capturing everything he could see and feel. In this scrupulous observation of everyday life, the artist combines the belief that those visual records will “survive” because “victory will be ours!” and an attempt to escape from the horror of war, being engaged, like in peacetime, with one’s true calling.
The exhibition features about 150 works by the artist, most of which are on display for the first time.