RDIF, PIF and The State Russian Museum present collection of Russian avant-guard art at Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh

Press release, 22.10.2018

Riyadh, October 22, 2018 – Russia-Saudi Investment Fund (RSIF), co-managed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, together with The State Russian Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of Russian art, are proud to present artworks by world famous 20th century avant-garde Russian artists Wassily Kandinsky and Pavel Filonov in the framework of Future Investment Initiative (FII). 

This initiative by the sovereign wealth funds of both countries demonstrates how culture builds bridges between nations and supports the cultural exchange goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision-2030 programme.

This is the first ever Russian art exhibition in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It precedes a major exhibition “Kandinsky and Russia” planned by RDIF and The State Russian Museum for early next year in Riyadh and Dhahran as the centerpiece for Russian culture days in Saudi Arabia. 

Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was the first artist to formulate the main principles of abstract art, which flourished in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, a time of artistic experiment and new ways of expression before the Great Russian Revolution. Kandinsky always linked abstract visual art to music, often calling his works “Improvisations” or “Compositions”. 

Pavel Filonov (1883-1944) is another prominent Russian avant-garde artist from the early 20th century acclaimed by critics and art lovers.  He created his own school of “analytical art”, where small details gradually create a big picture.

The exhibition will feature “Blue crest” (1917), one of the best known of Kandinsky’s abstract paintings created in the year of the Russian Revolution. The canvas reflects turbulence and uncertainty, concern for the destiny of mankind and an “explosion of form” motive typical of Kandinsky’s art. 

The exhibition will also include two landscapes, “River in the summer” (between 1901 and 1903) and “Autumn” (between 1901 and 1903) from Kandinsky’s early period when the artist was influenced by impressionism and Russian folk art, a decade before he embraced abstractionism. 

Filonov’s painting “Victory over eternity” (1920-1921) reflects the relationship between humans and the Universe – an eternal battle of antagonistic forces that occurs before the achievement of prosperity and the harmonious existence of humankind. Another Filonov’s masterpiece “Composition (Apples)” (1930) is an example of how the author used his unique “analytical art” technique to express his mosaic view of the world. An attentive viewer can distinguish small details including a garden, a small human silhouette and an apple cut in two.    

Earlier this year RDIF collaborated with Saudi Aramco, the world’s leading energy company, to host the first ever Russian symphonic orchestra in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Mariinsky Orchestra, conducted by world-renowned maestro, Valery Gergiev, performed at King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran on June 16 and 17, 2018.

The development of arts and culture is one of the cornerstones of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 led by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The program considers culture indispensable to the quality of life of Saudi people and aims to bring the treasures of world arts and culture to Saudi Arabia.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Russia in 2015, saw Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) announce its intention to invest $10bn in Russian projects, through a partnership with RDIF. This was followed by a visit to Russia by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in October 2017, which gave powerful impetus to a further strengthening of bilateral ties. At present, the PIF has invested $2bn in projects with RDIF.  

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said:
“RDIF continues to introduce the best of Russian art and culture to the people of Saudi Arabia. The Mariinsky Theater Orchestra and The State Russian Museum’s collection of Russian avant-guard art are the jewels of Russia’s national culture and we are proud to show them for the first time in the Kingdom. RDIF believes that culture builds bridges between nations and creates an atmosphere of mutual trust. We will further develop cultural exchange between our countries, which is important for our long-term relationship.”

Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Managing Director and Secretary-General of the board, Public Investment Fund, said:
“We are delighted to be hosting such inspirational, innovative artworks that represent the best, not only of Russian culture, but of global culture. We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with RDIF and the wider Russian investment community during FII.”

Vladimir Gusev, Chief Executive Officer, The State Russian Museum, said:
“We are seeing a surge of interest in Russian art and culture across the world, from Malaga, where we opened a Spanish branch of The State Russian Museum, to Japan, where we have organized a number of very successful exhibitions. Culture creates harmony, unites nations and helps to ease mistakes made by politicians, diplomats and the military. We welcome Saudi Arabia’s decision to become the first country in the Middle East to host an exhibition from The State Russian Museum and hope to bring many successful exhibitions to this important country in the future.”       


Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Further information can be found at rdif.ru

Public Investment Fund – The Public Investment Fund seeks to become one of the largest and most impactful sovereign wealth funds in the world, enabling the creation of new sectors and opportunities that will shape the future global economy, while driving the economic transformation of Saudi Arabia.

To achieve this, the Fund is building a world-class, diversified portfolio through investments in attractive, long-term opportunities across sectors and asset classes at both the domestic and international level. Working alongside global strategic partners and renowned investment managers, PIF acts as the Kingdom’s main investment arm to deliver a strategy focused on achieving attractive financial returns and long-term value for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in line with Vision 2030.

In October 2017 at the Future Investment Initiative, the Public Investment Fund Program (2018-2020) was launched as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 Vision Realization Programs (VRP). The PIF Program is one of twelve VRPs and acts as a roadmap for the next three years to strengthen PIF’s position as the engine behind economic diversification in the Kingdom and role in transforming Saudi Arabia into a global investment powerhouse. The program will see the Fund’s Assets Under Management increased to over $400 billion by 2020 and outlines how PIF aims to complement private sector development in the Kingdom through its new domestic investment, split between the Fund’s Saudi Holdings, Saudi Sector Development, Saudi Real Estate & Infrastructure Development, and Saudi Giga-Projects. For further information please visit: www.pif.gov.sa.

The State Russian Museum largest collection of Russian art, including works by prominent Russian avant-garde artists Vassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich. The museum is housed in a unique architectural complex in the historical centre of Saint Petersburg. The museum’s collection contains over 400,000 items covering all major periods and trends in the history of Russian art.

For additional information contact:
Arseniy Palagin
Russian Direct Investment Fund
Press Secretary
Tel: +7 495 644 34 14, ext. 2395
Mobile: +7 916 110 31 41
E-mail: arseniy.palagin@rdif.ru

Andrew Hayes / Yulianna Vilkos
Hudson Sandler
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133

Gleb Bryanski
Head of communications
Russia Saudi Investment Fund
Press Secretary
Tel: +7 495 644 34 14
Mobile: +7 903 774 45 10
E-mail: gleb.bryanskiy@rdif.ru