The Marina Gisich Gallery began in 2000 as one of a small number of galleries bringing a contemplative, concept-driven artistic temperament to the Saint Petersburg art scene. The original artists displayed their works at Gisich to confront and change attitudes about art exhibitions. These artists included Kerim Ragimov, Vladimir Kustov, Evgenij Yufit, Marina Alexeeva, Petr Beliy, Vitaliy Pushnizkij, Olga Tobreluts, Alya Esipovich and Sasha Chernogrivov. Their styles of expression and artistic aims were not necessarily united, but they came together with a common interest in changing the way people thought about and related to the art scene. In essence, they wanted to circulate art to an interested public, enliven that public and bring new artists to the cultural consciousness.
Today’s emanation of the Marina Gisich Gallery continues this tradition, now primarily by supporting young artists. Every few months a new artist is featured in the gallery, both to display his or her collection to the public and as a platform to sell work. Presently on display in Gisich are several large-scale works by a Valeriy Grikovsky, a laureate and a favorite among collectors. The series entitled “A Cargo Culture View” marks Grikovsky’s first exhibition in a large Saint Petersburg gallery. The series shows traditional “heroes,” (teachers, workers, mothers etc.) looking towards the sky and slightly ungrounded. In the background, the heroes and the viewer alike are dizzied by epic panoramas of modern life.
According to the gallery display, the works allude to a “cargo cult” on the Melanesian islands, which arose after World War II when the economy-stimulating American military bases left. According to Grikovsky, the natives formed a cult dedicated to the symbols of the lost bases. They mimicked the uniforms and actions of the missing air force, all the while praying to the sky for the absent airplanes to return. As Grikovsky sees it, the problems in modern society emanate from a global shortage of “cargo,” and thus he empathizes with the behavior of the Melanesians. Indeed, his work suggests that modern man and woman have little recourse but to follow their example.
In the past, the gallery has displayed etchings by Petr Beliy, watercolors by Valeria Matveeva-Nibiru and large-scale drawings by Kirill Chelushkin. It has also participated in several international art fairs. In 2010, Marina Gisich artists participated in Art Moscow and Cosmoscow. In 2011, the gallery was involved with the Vienna Art Fair and also ARCO Madrid, showing works by Marina Alexeeva, Valeria Nibiru, Vladimir Kustov, Kerim Ragimov, and Yevgeny Yufit. Artists Marina Alexeeva, Peter Belyi, Vladimir Kustov, Vitaly Pushnitsky and Kirill Chelushkin from Gisich will also present their works at the 2012 ARCO Madrid from the 15th to the 19th of February.
The gallery still stands in its old location on the Fontanka embankment. It is located near Sennaya Square but also situated within a welcoming residential area. It’s open Monday through Friday, 11 am through 7 pm. On Saturdays, the gallery is open from noon to 5 pm. It’s closed on Sundays.