In conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera’s production of The Nose, an opera by Dmitry Shostakovich based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, the Zimmerli Art Museum is exhibiting four prints by St. Petersburg artist Viktor Vilner (born 1925) through April 10. The exhibition invites the viewer to explore another visual interpretation of Gogol’s immortal work, in comparison to the one offered by William Kentridge’s set designs for the Metropolitan Opera.
Vilner’s work offers an understanding of Gogol’s characters and brings to life for the viewer the phantasmagorical atmosphere of Gogol’s oeuvre. The artist is inspired by St. Petersburg’s streets, permeated with emanations of fictional lives and fantastic destinies – derived from Gogol, Pushkin and Dostoevsky – that have never existed in reality but have been imprinted on the city’s memory. In this familiar realm of poetic metaphors, Vilner feels free to superimpose allegorical quotations onto this 19th-century city of overwhelming beauty.