Museum of Modern Art
Solomon Nikritin (1898-1965). Heeding Life
December 20, 2023 - May 19, 2024

EXTENSION: Until May 19, 2024


A tiny figure stands alone on a hazy islet, framed by a colored cloud full of little stories –dreams or memories?– against a gray background; a woman emerges from a dystopian landscape with intensity in her movement and scream; brave people, people in decline, people in passion, people who heed life star in Solomon Nikritin’s “artistic and plastic scenario” in the exhibition “Solomon Nikritin (1898-1965). Heading Life” at MOMus-Museum of Modern Art-Costakis Collection, in the Moni Lazariston, in Thessaloniki-Greece.


The exhibition under the title “Solomon Nikritin (1898-1965). Heading Life” unfolds through 300 artworks, archival material and objects from the Costakis Collection of the Museum and from private collections, along through installations and audiovisual material. In the end, the viewer has all the frames assembled into a coherent “story” with interesting plot as if he/she just finished reading a novel or watching a film, with sound and movement.


Born in Chernigov, Ukraine in 1898, Solomon (Ζelman) Nikritin is an iconic figure of the Russian Avant Garde period and the 1920s experimental arts. A painter, graphic artist, art historian, researcher and inventor of pioneering artistic practices, his contemporaries describe Nikritin as a genuine, forthcoming and vivacious person, but also one who was no stranger to hyperbole: “To him, even a simple match box was part of the space, he saw it as a piece of the universe. Indeed, there were some who would get annoyed by this trait”, as his friend, the artist Aleksandr Labas, would recall.


Even after the mid-1930s, when all "formalist" ideas were officially banned by Stalin’s regime, he did not stop "harkening" to life, although he did discontinue publicly exhibiting works from his bold experimentational period, even at solo exhibitions. Solomon Nikritin’s name remained also conspicuously absent from the history of the avant-garde for a very long time. As was the case with many artists of his generation, Nikritin would have probably been completely forgotten and his works would have met an ignominious fate if it were not for collector George Costakis, thanks to whom the artist's legacy has been preserved. Today, most of this unique collection is hosted at the MOMus-Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki, Greece. Solomon Nikritin died in Moscow on 1965. 


Solomon Nikritin’s solo exhibition "Heeding Life" is dedicated to the 125th anniversary since the artist's birth. It presents aspects of the artist's creativity and talent, but also reveals his contribution to the broader conception of Art.


This exhibition also continues and expands with additional material the first-ever retrospective on the artist, that took place in 2004 at the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki in collaboration with the State Tretyakov Gallery, curated by Natalia Adaskina, John Bowlt, Nicoletta Misler and Maria Tsantsanoglou.


Curated by: Lubov Pchelkina 

Assistant Curator: Angeliki Charistou

Architectural-Museological Design: Kiril Ass and Nadya Korbut 

Sound installations: Andrei Smirnov


On the opening day, Wednesday 20 Decemeber 2023, there will be an experimental sound performance by Andrei Smirnov; a series of lectures for adults and music events will be announced. 


Educational programmes

Information on the educational programmes and tours for groups of pupils and students is available by phone (+30) 2310 589222 and by email on


Open guided tours (in greek language) with the admission ticket

27 April, 11 & 18 May at 12:00

Necessary booking a place by calling (Tuesday-Sunday 12:00-17:00, tel +30 2310589143)