Installation view of Cosmism

Exhibition — Jan 13 until Mar 3, 2024

The cosmic intuitions of Vasily Chekrygin and his contemporaries.

The exhibition delves into Cosmism, an early-twentieth-century philosophical movement that sought humanity's salvation through technology, conquering death, and exploring outer space. Within a single exhibition space, the show offers a condensed journey into the utopian and dystopian realms of Cosmism. Cosmism features works from the Khardzhiev collection and recent acquisitions by Ukrainian artist Fedir Tetianych from the 1970s and 80s.

According to Russian philosopher Nikolai Fedorov, one of the founding figures of Cosmism, technological and scientific advancements would grant humans immortality. He also believed that everyone who had ever lived should be resurrected. Since this would lead to Earth’s overpopulation, humans would be compelled to conquer outer space, where the resurrected would live on colonized celestial bodies. 

Cosmism had an enormous impact on scientists, revolutionaries and artists, who sought to capture these visions of the future in their work. The exhibition focuses on the artist Vasily Chekrygin (1897–1922), one of the movement’s most exceptional adherents whose drawings envision the various stages of human resurrection as described by Fedorov. Figures ascend and fall, shrouded bodies dissolve in a vastness of planets and stars, embodying what Chekrygin refers to as the ‘exodus from chaos to cosmos’.

Artwork by Malevich
Kazimir Malevich, 'Suprematism of the Spirit', 1919. On loan from the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the Khardzhiev Foundation, 2001

In addition to Chekrygin's works, the exhibition highlights work by Pavel Filonov, Natalia Goncharova, Elena Guro, Ivan Leonidov, Kazimir Malevich, and Mikhail Matyushin, permanently on loan from the Khardzhiev Foundation. The show also includes recent acquisitions from Ukrainian Cosmist Fedir Tetianych from the 1970s and 80s. Furthermore, the interactive installation Cosmist Reading Room (2020 – ongoing) by Anton Vidokle encourages the audience to take a seat and delve into both historical texts and contemporary reflections on Cosmism. Another notable addition in the space adjacent to the exhibition is the installation Ruler of the Stars (2009) by the Almaty-based artist duo Yelena and Viktor Vorobyev, which uses Cosmism as a method.  

photo of self-portrait artwork Vasily Nikolaevich Chekrygin
Vasily Nikolaevich Chekrygin, 'Self-Portrait of the Artist', 1918 -1920, on loan Stichting Khardzhiev
  • photo of artwork Vasily Nikolaevich Chekrygin
    Vasily Nikolaevich Chekrygin, 'Sketch for the series About the Cathedral of the Resurrectionary Museum', 1921, on loan Stichting Khardzhiev
  • photo of artwork Kazimir Malevich
    Kazimir Malevich, 'Assumption of a Saint', 1907 – 1908, on loan Stichting Khardzhiev
  • photo of artwork Mikhail Matyushin
    Mikhail Matyushin, 'Space (360 Degree View)', 1920, on loan Stichting Khardzhiev
  • photo of artwork Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova
    Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova, 'Luchistoye more / Rayonist Sea', 1912 – 1913, on loan Stichting Khardzhiev

Dig Deeper

Eye on Art

Eye on Art by Eye Filmmuseum is a program on the intersection between film and other arts. On Tuesday, January 30, guest curator Robbie Schweiger presents films by artists elaborating on the ideas of cosmism and imagining a future in times of war, climate and energy crises. Schweiger is the co-curator of Cosmism — Images from a Future Gathering at the Stedelijk.

More info & tickets

FIFTH INTERNATIONAL KHARDZHIEV CONFERENCE

To conclude the exhibition The Stedelijk Museum and the Khardzhiev Foundation are hosting the Fifth International Khardzhiev Conference, dedicated to Cosmism, on 1 and 2 March 2024. The program takes its cue from the avant-garde art in the Khardzhiev collection and explores the resonance of cosmic ideas, to arrive at artists and thinkers of today who try to imagine a future in times of war and climate, health, and energy crisis.

Cosmism — Images From A Future Gathering

13 Jan until 3 Mar 2024

Book ticket

The exhibition Cosmism — Images from a Future Gathering is curated by Robbie Schweiger and Frank van Lamoen.

Header photo: Gert-Jan van Rooij.