Serguei Eisenstein

and the world

Discover the universe of one of the most influential and pioneering directors of cinema in the exhibition "Sergei Eisenstein and the World", held by the Oscar Niemeyer Museum.

The exhibition features drawings of sets, costumes, and characters, as well as sketches, film clips, and objects from different cultures that influenced Eisenstein, such as pre-Columbian cultures and Kabuki theater in Japan. Among these objects, there are works from MON's collections of Asian and African art, which makes this exhibition unique.

The curators are Luiz Gustavo Carvalho and Naum Kleiman, who state that "the idea is to offer the public a true immersion in the artist's complex and rich creative process".

  • Artist

    Serguei Eisenstein

  • Curatorship

    Naum Kleiman and Luiz Gustavo Carvalho

  • Exhibition period

    From 23 de junho de 2023

  • Until 28 de janeiro de 2024

  • Location

    Room 11

  • 14 years

  • Plan your visit


MON holds the exhibition “Sergei Eisenstein and the World”

The Oscar Niemeyer Museum (MON) presents the exhibition “Sergei Eisenstein and the World” to its visitors. The exhibition will be inaugurated on June 22nd, in Room 11, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Russian filmmaker's birth. The curatorship is by Luiz Gustavo Carvalho and Naum Kleiman.

Through a collection of drawings, sketches, photographs, caricatures, projections, and objects, the exhibition presents part of the creative process of one of the most innovative and pioneering directors in the history of cinema. Sergei Eisenstein influenced great cinematographers and revolutionized the world of images with his multiple languages.

“The many drawings he left us were the initial step in preparing his legendary films. Having them here now, within our sights, is a privilege”, comments MON's director-president, Juliana Vosnika.

She explains that the grandeur of the exhibition presented by MON also proposes a dialogue with objects and images that inspired Eisenstein, as well as films later influenced by him, promoting a true immersion of the visitor into the artist's graphic universe.

“Confirming the transdisciplinary character of the Museum, by addressing Eisenstein's influences, the exhibition builds a powerful dialogue with the Asian and African art collections in the permanent collection of MON, from which they borrows works that form part of its repertoire”, explains the director-president.

For Secretary of Culture Luciana Casagrande Pereira, the exhibition is a unique opportunity to get in touch with emblematic works. “Both for fans of Sergei Eisenstein and for people who still don't know his work and career, but who will now be able to get to know him up close”, she comments. “Once again MON proves to be a great open window to the world,” she says.

Sergei Eisenstein and the World

The exhibition portrays the universe of one of the most revolutionary names in art in the 20th century based on his graphic work. The multiple visual languages used by Sergei Eisenstein in his work were to the world of images of what the Russian Revolution was to the social, political, and economic arrangements that transformed Europe at the beginning of the century.

Composed of around 200 works, the exhibition weaves, through sketches, photographs, caricatures, projections, and objects, dialogues with events and cultures that influenced the artist in his creative process: from Kabuki theater to pre-Columbian cultures, from the Russian Revolution to the Haitian.

Among them, there are works of Asian art, engravings, and masks, which belong to the permanent collection of the Museu Oscar Niemeyer. African artworks donated by the Ivani and Jorge Yunes Collection (CIJY) to MON in 2021 are also part of the exhibition, confirming the transversality of the MON collection to the temporary exhibitions that the institution holds.

The exhibited drawings show the autonomy of this graphic universe and were considered by the director himself as a way of transcribing his thoughts, also becoming a primordial step in the preparation of the director's films.

The sketches, as well as the drawings of the sets, costumes, and characters, transform the exhibition into a rich observatory of the director's creative process. In the exhibition, the dialogue with this set of works that is marked by its cinematic aspect is further enriched through the confrontation with objects from different cultures that influenced the artist, also provoking an intense dialogue with excerpts from Sergei Eisenstein films, also projected in the exhibition space.

“The idea is to offer the public a real immersion in the artist's complex and rich creative process, in which drawing is perennially present: from the first letters sent to the mother to the last graphic meditations, which contrast with the director's ironic and everyday images”, comment the curators.

About the artist

Sergei Eisenstein was born in Riga, in 1898. After completing the Royal School, he began his studies at the Petrograd Institute of Civil Engineering but had to interrupt them with the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. At that time, as a Red Army soldier, he had his first contact with Kabuki Theater and the Japanese language, influences that would accompany him throughout his life. In 1920, he settled in Moscow and began theatrical studies in the class of Vsevolod Meyerhold, one of the main theater directors of the 20th century, also performing his first works at the Proletkult theater. In 1923, he wrote his first essay for the LEF newspaper. The search for the modern cinematographic language, and the discovery of new possibilities of editing, rhythm, and angle were carried out in his first three feature films: “Strike” (1925), “Battleship Potiémkin” (1925), considered until today as one of the ten most important films in the history of cinema, and “ October: Ten Days That Shook the World” (1927). In 1928 he undertook a two-year tour of Europe, giving lectures in Berlin, Zurich, London, and Paris. Between 1930 and 1932, after having some screenplays rejected by the Hollywood film industry, he lived and worked in Mexico. The film “¡Que Viva México!”, made with filmmaker Grigori Aleksándrov and cinematographer Eduard Tissé, the main fruit of the director's visit to the Americas, however, remained unfinished. Under suspicion of desertion, Eisenstein was forced to return to the Soviet Union and resumed his activities as a professor at the State Film Institute (VGIK). The film “Alexander Nevsky”, with music by Sergei Prokofiev, was a huge success for the public and was a milestone both in Eisenstein's creative process and in the filmmaker's return to the film scene of the former Soviet Union. During the last decade of his life, between 1938 and 1948, Eisenstein began to reflect on a new form of cinema, ending his career with the film "Ivan the Terrible", on which he worked during the years spent in evacuation, in Alma-Ata (Kazakhstan), during World War II. However, the director's last film, whose main idea was about the tragic atonement of a ruler for the crimes committed during his struggle for power, received fierce attacks from official critics. The second part of the film was banned until 1958, and the third part was never made. Sick and impacted by film censorship, Sergei Eisenstein died in 1948, at the age of 50. He left a legacy that goes beyond his filmography and includes a vast graphic work and several theoretical studies on cinema. He is one of the fundamental names in consolidating the language of moving images and one of the pioneers of cinematographic montage. His work influenced great filmmakers, such as Mikhail Romm, Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, Brian de Palma, Oliver Stone, Alfred Hitchcock, Ettore Scola, and Glauber Rocha, and continues to be the object of study by directors, artists, and film critics.

About the curators

Luiz Gustavo Carvalho is a curator, artist and pianist. He is the world's leading expert on the work of Sergei Eisenstein. He held his first curatorship in France in 2011. In Brazil, as curator of over 80 exhibitions, he presented for the first time in the country the work of different visual artists, such as Antanas Sutkus, Sergei Maksimishin, Mac Adams, and François Andes, among others. In 2012, he created the Artes Vertentes Festival – International Festival of Arts of Tiradentes, which received, during the last nine editions, over 400 artists under his artistic direction. Between 2011 and 2014, he was part of the artistic director of the Zeitkunst Festival in Berlin. He has participated in different artistic residency programs in South America, Europe, and Asia. Since 2016, he has been collaborating with the Bispo do Rosário Contemporary Art Museum, in Rio de Janeiro.

Naum Kleiman, born in 1937, is a cinema historian and curator. He was a co-founder of the Sergei Eisenstein Archive, an organization he headed between 1967 and 1985. 1989, he was also the co-founder of the Moscow Film Museum 1989, which he directed until the summer of 2014. He is considered one of the greatest experts on the work of Sergei Eisenstein, he is the author of numerous publications on the work of the Russian filmmaker, as well as the documentary “The Master's House”. He frequently integrates the juries of the most important international film festivals. His work defending cinema in contemporary Russia is internationally recognized. In 1992 he received the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government and, in 1995, the Goethe Medal, granted by the German government. Naum Kleiman was awarded the Berlinale Camera during the 65th edition of the eponymous festival.

Exhibition Materials

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Exhibition Attributes

Sound stimulus

Noisy space

Sound stimulus

Unexpected sound

Visual stimulus

Blinking light

Visit the exhibition

Exhibition period

Until 28 de janeiro de 2024


Room 11

14 years


Access until 5:30 pm

Ticket sales

R$ 30 full-price | R$ 15 half-price
Free admission every Wednesday


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