London, UK,
17:14 PM

Artists Marina Abramović, Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich, and Nico Vascellari in Conversation with Masterworks from Antiquities to Modern Era in New Exhibition at Colnaghi London


Featuring a Significant Portrait by Diego Velázquez among Other Historic Works alongside New Installation, Photography, Video, and Sculpture, Humble Works Illuminates Artistic Through-lines and Creative Dialogues Across Centuries and Media

Artists Marina Abramović, Nico Vascellari, and Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich have come together at Colnaghi London to exhibit a selection of works created in response to and presented in dialogue with masterworks from across eras, ranging from an Etruscan burial urn from the 6th Century B.C.E., to a rarely presented portrait by Diego Velázquez from the 17th Century. On view from 17 September through 22 November 2021, Humble Works explores creative synergies among artists across different ages, eras, media, and geographies, and reflects Colnaghi's commitment to cross-category presentations and collecting.

Taking its name from the sense of humility that one feels when confronted with rare masterpieces, Humble Works presents new installation, photography, and sculpture by Abramović, Pavlov-Andreevich, and Vascellari displayed alongside historic paintings and objects of the artists' choosing, each in its own space within Colnaghi’s London gallery. Presented together, the three artists’ personal experiences and creative responses explore shared themes of friendship, immaterial connections, and collective will.

'A central part of Colnaghi’s mission is to highlight art historical threads that connect objects from different time periods and categories, drawing them together in a manner that leads to exciting juxtapositions and discoveries,' said co-CEO and owner Victoria Golembiovskaya. 'Humble Works takes this concept one step further: for the first time, we are presenting new works created in direct response to paintings and objects of historical significance and where this cross-category dialogue and creative inspiration becomes the primary theme of the exhibition.'

Added Senior Global Director Chloe Stead, 'The title Humble Works was collaboratively set by Marina, Nico, and Fyodor. Their choice of words indicates the awe with which we approach great masterpieces, be they from antiquity or the Old Masters. It is our privilege to present these artists' deeply personal artistic responses to their selected masterpieces in this unique site-specific exhibition. I hope that visitors find the juxtapositions and dialogues between the works thought-provoking, perhaps provocative, but certainly rewarding.'


A highlight of the exhibition is the presentation of Diego Velázquez’s full-length portrait of Mother Jerónima de la Fuente (1620), rarely on public view in the U.K. The imposing depiction of the Spanish nun from the order of the Poor Clares is regarded as a leading example of the artist’s unparalleled skills as a portraitist. Abramović responds to Velázquez with a range of new and existing works including a double self-portrait of the artist holding a laughing skull, from 2019, and a site-specific sculptural installation, The Table of 10,000 Tears (2021), suspending teardrops inspired by the tears of weeping Madonna statues from within a delicate glass table. In a third work, Abramović more directly counters Velázquez with her own homage to a historic Spanish nun, taken from her photographic series The Kitchen (2009). Considered an autobiographical work, the series was originally inspired by Saint Teresa of Avila, who coincidentally crossed paths with Mother Jerómina during her lifetime and encouraged her to take the veil.

In an adjoining room, Pavlov-Andreevich takes inspiration from an Etruscan burial urn (6th century B.C.E.) in his large-scale installation, which mediates on similar concepts of memory and memorialization. As much a vessel of the past as a nod to the future, Pavlov-Andreevich's work incorporates dust gathered from under the beds of his lovers and presents these particles to form a large egg shape within a massive block of clear acrylic that stands over 2 meters in the gallery.

In a third gallery, Vascellari responds to the awe-inspiring aspects of nature evoked in an ancient bronze Corinthian-type helmet adorned with stylized, animalistic horns (early Classical Period, 500 - 450 B.C.E.) with two new works: a video installation of an airborne journey undertaken by Vascellari, Visita Interiora Terrae (2020), over forests in Italy, and a series of intricate mixed-media works made from twigs and feathers that have been pulled from a dissected bird's nest and systematically organized. Antoni Tapies' painting Caballeros presentes (1950) provides a modern touchpoint anchoring the installation.  

A selection of new drawings, works on paper, and preparatory sketches by the three contemporary artists is also on view in the gallery.

A virtual tour of the exhibition can be accessed at this link

Marina Abramović, 2021.  Photo by Mattia Zoppellaro.


Marina Abramović

Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, Marina Abramović has pioneered performance art, creating some of the form's most important early works. Exploring her physical and mental limits, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. She founded the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) in 2007, a platform for immaterial and long durational work to create new possibilities for collaboration among thinkers of all fields.

Abramović was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale. In 2010, Abramović had her first major US retrospective and simultaneously performed for over 700 hours in The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her retrospective The Cleaner opened at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, in 2017, and toured to seven additional European venues, ending at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia, in 2019. In 2020, the Bayerische Staatsoper presented the world premiere of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, which has continued to tour internationally. In 2023 she will present the solo exhibition After Life at the Royal Academy, London, and will become the first female artist in the institution’s 250-year history to occupy the entire gallery space with her work. She will also present two shows at Lisson Gallery London this autumn, in Cork Street and Lisson Street

Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich, 2021.  Photo by Mattia Zoppellaro.

Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich

Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich is a visual artist, curator and theatre director. Exploring a distance between a work of art and its audience, he creates performances, films and site-specific installations, as well as objects, guerrilla actions and long-durational works. One of his first works was My Mouth Is a Temple (2009) curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Maria Balshaw and shown at Manchester International Festival as part of ‘Marina Abramović Presents’ (along with Nico Vascellari where the two artists first met). Pavlov-Andreevich’s most renowned live installation, Performance Carousel, was first shown in 2014 at Faena Arts Center in Buenos Aires and received Grand Prix at Kuryokhin Art Prize in 2014 (shared with Ragnar Kjartansson).

Solo presentations by the artist include Deitch Projects (2009, NYC), Garage Museum (2010, Moscow), CCBB (2015, Brasilia), Künstlerhaus Wien (2016, Vienna), Museu de Arte Contemporânea MAC-USP (2017) and SESC (2018, both São Paulo), Palais de Tokyo (2018, Paris), Gazelli Art House (2019, London) and Ground Solyanka (Moscow, 2021). Completing the 5th episode of his best known guerrilla work, The Foundling, at the Met Gala in NYC, Pavlov-Andreevich was arrested and put in jail (2017). Pavlov-Andreevich’s works belong to various institutional (MAR, Rio de Janeiro, and MMoMA, Moscow, amongst them) and many private collections globally.

Pavlov-Andreevich lives and works between Moscow, London, and São Paulo.

Nico Vascellari, 2021. Photo by Mattia Zoppellaro.

Nico Vascellari

Considered one of the most significant Italian artists of his generation, Nico Vascellari is constantly bridging diverse and heterogeneous mediums in his work, including performance, sculpture, video art, as well as large-scale multimedia works investigating the relationship between nature and mankind.

Amongst his most significant solo exhibitions are those that were shown at: MAXXI | Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (2018); Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2017); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (2016); Accademia di Francia - Villa Medici, Rome (2016); Estorick Collection, London (2016); National Gallery of Arts, Tirana (2015); Museion, Bolzano (2010); Museo MAN, Nuoro (2007); and Skuc, Ljubljana (2006). He has also participated: 58th October Salon, Belgrade Biennale (2021); 15th Lyon Biennale (2019); 12th Architecture Biennale in Venice (2010); Manifesta 7 (2008); 15th Quadriennale in Rome (2008); and the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007). His work is part of numerous and prestigious public and private collections. Vascellari lives and works in Rome.

Photography Acknowledgement
Colnaghi is grateful to His Excellency Monsignor Paolo Schiavon, Emeritus Bishop of Rome, rector of the Church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, Piazza Navona, Rome, the Vicariato of Rome and the Italian Ministry of Culture - Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Roma, for allowing the use of the 17th-century Baroque church Sant'Agnese in Agone as a backdrop to photograph the artists in July 2021.