Alexandra EXTER 1882 — 1949
Олександра Олександрівна ЕКСТЕР • Александра ЭКСТЕР
Exter was born in Belostok, Imperial Russia in the wealthy Ukrainian family of A. A. Grigorovich. She studied at Kiev art school, then in 1907 attended Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse, Paris. From 1908 to 1924 she intermittently lived in Kiev, Peterburg, Odessa, Paris, Rome and Moscow. In 1908 she took part in exhibition together with members of the group Zveno (Link) organized in Kiev by David Burliuk and Wladimir Burliuk among others. In 1914 Ekster together with Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Archipenko, Vadym Meller, Sonia Delaunay-Terk and others participated in Salon des Indépendants exhibitions in Paris. In the same year she participated in International Futurist Exhibition in Milan. In 1915 she worked with Kazimir Malevich and joined the group of avant-garde artists Supremus. In 1915-1916 she worked in the peasant craft cooperative in villages Skoptsi and Verbovka along with Kazimir Malevich, Yevgenia Pribylskaya, Nina Genke-Meller, Liubov Popova, Ivan Puni, Olga Rozanova, Nadezhda Udaltsova. In 1918-1920 Exter founded a teaching and production workshop in Kiev where she worked alongside Meller, Petrytsky, Redko, Chelitschev, Shifrin, and Nikritin. In 1919 together with other avant-garde artists Kliment Red`ko and Nina Genke-Meller for Revolution Festivities decorated streets and squares of Kiev and Odessa in abstract style. Exter was perhaps at her most effective as an artist in her theatrical work. For Alexander Tairov`s Chamber Theater she designed Thamiros Kitharodos, Salomé, and Romeo and Juliette. Equally famous were her extravagant costume designs for the 1924 Soviet science fiction film Aelita, Queen of Mars. Exter immigrated to Paris in 1924, where she continued to work in the theater through the 30s. In Paris she worked also as art professor and book illustrator for the publishing company Flammarion. Exter died in Paris suburb Fontanay-aux-Roses. Alexandra Exter was a pioneer in modern abstraction (Cubo-Futurist, Suprematist, Constructivist) whose reputation was enhanced by her brilliant innovations in the field of scenic and costume design.