Navicula Artis Gallery was founded in 1992 by recent graduates of Leningrad State University, art critics Andrey Klyukanov, Philip Fedchin, Gleb Ershov, and their teacher Ivan Chechot. Until 1997, the gallery was located in one of the halls of the Palace of Labor (formerly the Nikolaevsky Palace), while also organizing exhibitions of contemporary art in other historical interiors of the building. In 1998, it moved to the Pushkinskaya 10 Art Center, where it remains to this day. The chief curators at Navicula Artis are Gleb Ershov and Andrey Klyukanov.
The gallery has held exhibitions of Yuri Alexandrov, Peter Belyi, Vadim Drapkin, Bob Koshelokhov, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Ivan Sotnikov, Timur Novikov, Andrei Khlobystin, Pyotr Shvetsov, and many other St. Petersburg artists, often commissioning works in the medium of total installation. In the 1990s, Navicula Artis became a platform for projects by German and Austrian artists. In the early 2000s, the gallery collaborated with artists of the Moscow conceptualist circle, including Elena Elagina and Igor Makarevich, Andrei Monastyrski, Viktor Pivovarov, Pavel Pepperstein, and Yuri Leiderman. Along with exhibitions, it often initiated projects that took the form of walks and other art actions in public spaces.
The archive features materials tracing the gallery’s development strategy in the 1990s (letters, sketches, plans of unrealized projects) and documents related to the gallery’s exhibitions and actions (preparatory materials, posters, flyers, limited-edition catalogues, guest books, albums of actions-walks, photographs, and unprinted films). A significant part of the archive is made up of texts by various curators and art historians accompanying the gallery’s projects.