KLEVER: The Soviet Nonconformist Epoch
Luckman Fine Arts Gallery
May 14 - July 3, 1999
Opening reception: Friday, May 14, 7-9:00 p.m.
The Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Gallery, located on the campus of California State University, Los Angeles, announces an exhibition of historic, politically defiant paintings by Russian born artist, Klever. Entitled The Soviet Nonconformist Epoch, the exhibition comprises nearly thirty canvases from 1964 to 1978 created in direct opposition to the pre-Gorbachev, Communist regime. After being hidden in makeshift walls, behind furniture and in various discreet locations for many years, these paintings were smuggled out of Russia in 1996. At the Luckman Gallery, these paintings appear for the first time in Los Angeles, the artist's current place of residence.
Klever's paintings provide a rare insight into life under the pre-1986 Communist regime. Living in what was commonly known as the "Iron Curtain," artists in the Soviet Union from the 1960s through the mid-1980s were forced to follow many government imposed restrictions. As an artist with a defiantly independent voice, Klever broke all the rules. His colorful paintings metaphorically and often graphically describe his experiences in the military as well as the adverse effect of Lenin and other political leaders in the Soviet Union. Because of his defiance, Klever's life was marked by a series of increasingly devastating ordeals. As a student at the Art Academy in Leningrad, he drew on the wallpaper of his apartment. When one of his roommates reported him to the police, he was arrested while officials removed his drawings with razors and knives.
Klever was arrested a second time for his participation in the infamous 1974 "Bulldozer Exhibition" in Moscow. While thousands of viewers waited in a three mile long line to enter the exhibition, government officials brought out bulldozers to stop the exhibition, not only destroying everything in their path but also killing several people. Klever was arrested a final time during the 1975 "Petropavloskaia Krepost" art exhibition in Leningrad for being one of only two artists to again dare to display his art. After serving time in prison with occasional torture, Klever went into hiding. In 1978 he managed to flee the Soviet Union with his family. He smuggled over 100 of his paintings to Paris and was only recently able to retrieve them. The artist hopes that this selection of paintings serve as warnings against the tenacity of the Communist party, especially as the open elections in the Soviet Union quickly approach (in the year 2000).
GALLERY HOURS: Mon - Thur & Sat, 12-5:00pm
Public information: (323) 343-6610
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