Imaginary East: China A la Russe

The exploration of «chinoiserie» and Chinese culture in Russian art
Project Type:

900 sq.m.

730 items

Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve
Scope of works:

Interpretative planing


Work with museum collections

Exhibition design and Creative direction

Tender documentation

Project management

Graphic design

The Tsaritsyno Palace complex
September 2014 – November 2015
The project team:

Julia Napolova

Alevtina Butuzova

Ivan Vetrov

The exposition opens with Chinese rarities from the Kunstkammer collection. It was the first public exposure to Chinese culture in the Russian Empire. The next hall dwells on the history of Sino-Russian trade; the hall design includes cobalt platers and Chinese vases for export. Russian modern art and avant-garde developed under Chinese influence, too; many Russian artists found their inspiration in oriental aesthetics. Here silk dressing gowns, soaring fans and ancient vases coexist together.

For us it was especially important to convey the spirit of «chinoiserie» — the use of Chinese motifs and techniques in European decorative art. Even contemporary artistic solutions seemed appropriate. We created two separate chinoiserie installations: «Confucius’s Arbour» (bronze statue surrounded by the volumes of Chinese sages) and «The Magic Lantern» (traditional Chinese shadow theatre).