Vladimir Malakhov’s Collection of Art Objects 10 June 2011

10 June 2011
Exhibition Vernissage
Vladimir Malakhov’s Collection of Art Objects

Vladimir Malakhov is one of the very few greatest dancers of our times. He was educated in Moscow, where he initially performed at the Moscow Classical Ballet. He earned general admiration virtually from his first stage appearances. He was highly regarded for his technical excellence and artistic expression and a certain something that distinguishes outstanding and unique artists. No wonder two documentaries devoted to the then very young dancer were soon made for the Russian television. And after he chose to stay in the West in 1992, the German TV showed a documentary called Narcisse, the Dancer Malakhov. He was soon recognized as the dancer of the century and has been generally labelled as such ever since. Stages all over the world stood open for him, the most outstanding dancers and the best groups would await an opportunity to dance with him, and  choreographers sought to create new ballets especially for him. No wonder, it took him relatively little time to achieve everything (and even more) that a vast majority of dancers can only dream about. The position of Intendant of Staatsballett Berlin that he has held for many years now is a natural consequence of his artistic path. Apart from this, he still dances to audiences’ delight. Years ago, he expanded his artistic activities to include choreography of grand classical ballets. And he has been a collector since his early days of performing.

It is not uncommon for artists to collect works of art created by other artists, however, even more often they collect artefacts relating to their own artistic activities. And it is extremely interesting, since private art collections are always unique in every respect. Not only are they exceptional because of collected exhibits, but principally because of a specific, personal touch lent by a collector himself, his or her attitude to collecting works of art and his or her individual choices. There is no way to compare them with what is kept by museums or galleries whose collections – collected in consultation with curators and experts in specific areas – are of a representative and educational nature. That is why exhibitions of private collections always arouse a great interest among visitors, which is undoubtedly not only because of a high quality and price of items put on display, but quite frequently because of a collector itself. It is so because a spiritual profile of a human being, their individual sense of beauty and their interests can be seen through the prism of collected artefacts. This is also the case with Vladimir Malakhov’s collection. During his impressive career, he managed to collect a lot of valuable works of art and thanks to this exhibition we have an opportunity to get to know not only an outstanding artist, but also an art connoisseur whose interests focus on a specific subject. After all, dance is everything for Vladimir Malakhov and that is why it finds reflection in his collection. Theatre, music and dance are a leitmotif for the majority of exhibits. For instance, Leon Bakst, a great Russian painter and set designer who has ties with, among others, Sergey Diagilev’s Russian Ballets. Or Nicola Benois who is represented in the collection by a dozen or so costumes for Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor. It also includes costumes created by Igor Sokolov and Alexander Zinoviev (the majority of the latter come from Serge Lifar’s collection, which lends them a special and added value, although Malakhov’s collection comprises more artefacts that formerly belonged to Lifar). A collection of academic male nudes are a kind of a natural element in Vladimir Malakhov’s collection, for dance or any kind of stage performance also includes using the body, so that element could not be missed in this collection. Furthermore, the collection includes a one-of-a-kind collection of David Burliuk’s paintings which originated at different stages of the artist’s creative work. This is what proves that Vladimir Malakhov does not collect paintings for the very sake of collecting, but it is important for him to show a creative evolution of an artist so that a collection of works could be the most representative of that artist. Such a commitment that oversteps the essence of museology and professional collecting by curators and experts is rare as regards private collections. After all, Vladimir Malakhov proves his excellence both as a dancer and collector.
The Vladimir Malakhov’s collection includes a lot of excellent artefacts created by renowned artists. Most of them are artists from Eastern Europe. After all, it is where the roots of the collection owner are and it is understood that the collection reflects his world, tradition, grounds on which he built his great international career. But it is also another example that each private collection is a reflection of a man who has created it.  By getting to know a collection, colloquially speaking, one is able to get to know the world of a person who has built it up. And this may be a point that is not too distant for a better comprehension and understanding of a phenomenon of Vladimir Malakhov. On top of that, a person who enjoys Vladimir Malakhov’s collection enters the area of his sensitivity, area that is pretty intimate and rather secret.
All the more, I would like to thank Vladimir Malakhov for entrusting me with framing a concept for and presenting his collection. I also wish to thank Ms Magdalena Kusztal, Director of the Kielce Cultural Centre and Mr Artur Wijata, Curator of the Lift Art Gallery for their enthusiasm and commitment to setting about the arrangement of the exhibition of Vladimir Malakhov’s collection of art objects  in Kielce.

Jan Stanislaw Witkiewicz

Still as a young dancer I was aware of the phenomena that paintings, lithographies, statues and works of art fascinated me and it was during a visit to New York that I ventured to purchase my first painting. It was a Carl Armbrust. The painting was a landscape that had a lake with swans, which immediately brought the association to my own profession. Then there were the birch trees, a reminder of my homeland. Then there was Apollo, the god of the arts. It coincided with the time where I danced a ballet with the same name in the choreography of George Balanchine with American Ballet Theatre. It was the beginning of my search to obtain objects of art that would adorn my life.
Because my profession takes me around the world I have access to a variety of little and sometimes expensive antique shops that had treasures hidden in one or another corner that might interest me. With time I even had friends also looking for me and I started making contact with other collectors. The passion grew with each year. One my most reliable collector-contacts is my very good friend . He started advising me in discerning between quality and just run of the mill objects. Years have passed and my collection has grown.  Mr. Witkiewicz decided one day to even write a book about my life as a dancer.
Jan told me that to be a real collector I should have the courage to exhibit what I have collected to give others a chance to see what beautiful objects exist. This would also help expand possibilities of making contacts with other collectors, which could eventually lead to new acquisitions. I took on the challenge and have already presented my collection twice in Austria, Berlin and now it is the fourth time and I have chosen Poland.
I am very honoured that I will now have the opportunity to show my collection to the people of Kielce. I wish all visitors receive the same enjoyment and pleasure I get from each and every object in the exhibition.

Vladimir Malakhov

Relation Exhibitions


Opening Ours



Tuesday - Friday







Kielce Cultural Center

Plac St. Moniuszki 2b

25-334 Kielce

woj. Świętokrzyskie