Philosopher and cultural theorist Boris Groys has been active on the art scene since the 1970s. The archive gathered by him and his wife, journalist and photographer Natalya Nikitina, was transferred to the Research Centre for East European Studies (Forschungsstelle Osteuropa) at the University of Bremen in 2009.
The core of the collection is formed by documents relating to Groys’ and Nikitina’s life and work, including manuscripts, articles, interviews, essays, materials related to the philosopher’s professional activities etc. In addition to this, the archive contains Groys’ extensive correspondence on art and philosophy: phenomenological correspondence with Tatyana Goricheva, dialogues with Ilya Kabakov, letters from Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Andrei Monastyrski, Pavel Pepperstein, Yury Senokosov, and Ivan Chuikov among others.
The archive also contains a selection of published writings on conceptual art, a collection of photographs, including of various exhibitions, and publications and samizdat collections of works by Vladimir Aleynikov, Viktor Krivulin, Aleksandr Mironov, Lev Rubinstein, and other authors produced in the 1970s and 1980s (originals or photocopies), as well as issues of samizdat journals including Severnaya pochta, 37, and Rubezhi.
Boris Groys (b. 1947, Berlin) is a philosopher, art historian and curator. He graduated from the Leningrad State University in Mathematics and Mechanics in 1971 and migrated to West Germany in 1981. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from University of Münster (1992) and has previously worked as professor at the Karlsruhe State College of Design (1994–2009), and invited lecturer (1996–1997) and director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna (2001). He is currently professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University. From 1977, he published works in samizdat journals Chasy, Obvodny kanal, 37, and others, as well as outside of the USSR. Groys was among the founders of the journal Beseda (1983) and is the author of over twenty books on Soviet and post-Soviet cultural policies, and many works on the theory and practice of contemporary art. Since the 1990s, he has been curating exhibitions of Soviet official and underground art and Russian contemporary art. In 2011, he curated the exhibition Empty Zones. Andrei Monastyrski and Collective Actions at the Russian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Art Biennale. Groys received Andrei Bely Prize in 1978. He lives and works in the USA.
Natatlya Nikitina (b. 1945, Moscow) is a philologist, journalist, and photographer, the wife of Boris Groys. She graduated in Literature from Lenin Moscow State Pedagogical Institute in 1969 and in 1981 moved to West Germany where she worked at Deutsche Welle radio. She has been gathering a photographic archive of Russian art since 1987. She has been based in the USA since 2009.
Documents from the archive are currently being processed.