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The Russia Season: Part Two; Fabergé & Revolution

27 September 2017

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Norwich CROP


Following on from The Russia Season: Part One, in Part Two take a closer look at what's going on inside the Sainsbury Centre, as they stage a major exhibition that captures the polarised contexts of the Russian Civil war. 

The first part of the exhibition, Royal  Fabergé, will explore the glittering saga of the world’s greatest artist-jewellers during the decades preceding the First World War. The exhibition will trace the history of the renowned jewellery house and reveal how the creativity of Fabergé extended all the way from the court of the Romanovs to the Sandringham estate.

Loans from the Royal Collection will form the centerpiece of the exhibition, but the wider story of Fabergé will be told with major loans from private and public collections in Britain, Russia and America. There is something other-worldly decadent about the artifacts on display here, and the collection is certain to take your breath away.

The second part of the exhibition – Radical Russia – explores a very different artistic movement in Russia, although one that was also burgeoning at the time of Fabergé. Prompted both by the conservatism of the Russian social and political establishment and by the emergence of new radical artistic movements across Europe, Russia developed its own unique version of the avant-garde. The revolutionary year of 1917 gave a dramatic impetus to this movement, providing a radical political dimension to the way in which Russian culture developed, which perhaps we still feel the legacy of today.

In an exquisite juxtaposition to the Fabergé exhibit, Radical Russia will show the way in which Russian abstraction included specific Russian themes - especially relating to the Russian peasantry. From poetry to urban planning, what you will see here is a response to immense social and political shift, across a wide spectrum of creative outputs. Alongside a wide variety of objects, the exhibition contains some of the purely artistic pieces produced by the avant-garde, showing how their ideas for reimagining the actual lived experience of revolutionary Russia were founded in the abstraction produced in the years before 1917.

It is rare to see such an exhibition that allows you to contrast two lived experiences so closely. Not only this, but to experience the Russia Season at the University of East Anglia – a site of such architectural importance and arguably one of the sites in Norfolk most influenced by the constructivist legacy – is an opportunity like no other.

In addition to the exhibition, the Sainsbury Centre have a diverse events programme as part of their Russia Season. Our highlights:

Evening Lecture ‘Fabergé: From St Petersburg to Sandringham with Ian Collins’– Thursday 2nd November at the Sainsbury Centre Lecture Theatre

Evening Lecture ‘Living Revolutionary Dreams: Utopia and the Vanguard of 1917 with Dr Andy Willimott’ – Thursday 16th November at the Sainsbury Centre Lecture Theatre

Cinema City are screening ‘Leviathan’ (2014) – a powerful Oscar-nominated drama directed by Cannes winner Andrey Zvyagintsev – 20th November

For more information on tickets, opening times and bookings please see the Sainsbury Centre website. 



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