Imaginary East: China A la Russe

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

  1. Project Type: Exhibition
  2. Scale:

    900 sq.m.
    730 items

  3. Clients: Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve
  4. Scope of works:
    • Interpretative planing

    • Masterplaning

    • Work with museum collections

    • Exhibition design and Creative direction
    • Tender documentation
    • Project management
    • Graphic design
  5. Location: The Tsaritsyno Palace complex
  6. Programme: November 2015 — April 2016
  7. The project team:

    Napolova Julia

    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).

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