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© Irina Nakhova / Moscow Museum of Modern Art

Arty autumn

by Vladimir Kozlov at 19/09/2011 19:13

The 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

Sept. 23-Oct. 30 at more than 30 venues, the main ones being Artplay Design Center, 10 Nizhnyaya Syromyatnicheskaya Ul., m. Kurskaya, Chkalovskaya, and TsUM Art Foundation, 2 Ul. Petrovka, m. Tverskaya, Teatralnaya.

The fourth edition of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art is to run under the title “Rewriting Worlds,” based on the assumption that art is an area where new ideas are constantly generated, with contemporary artists “rewriting” the existing world by continuously coming up with new ideas and concepts.

Bertrand Planes’ ‘Bump it!’

© Bertrand Planes

Bertrand Planes’ ‘Bump it!’

According to the event’s curator, Peter Weibel, head of the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, the Biennale’s main goal is “to demonstrate different levels of artistic thought — technological, political and psychological.”

The main program is to be held at the Artplay Design Center and the TsUM Art Foundation. It is to feature works by more than 80 artists from 33 countries, including 12 domestic participants. The main part is to be complemented by the Parallel Program, special projects and exhibitions of works by special guests, which are to take place all over the city, including such venues as MOD Design, MEL Space and Garage Center for Contemporary Culture.

For the first time the event is also expanding beyond Moscow, featuring related projects in Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kiev and London.

The list of participants in the main program includes many names that are familiar to those following the international art scene, including Germany’s Neo Rauch, Rebecca Horn and Christoph Schlingensief, China’s Ai Weiwei and Zheng Shengtian, Austria’s Martin Walde, United Kingdom’s Richard Hamilton, Japan’s Manabu Ikeda, Canada’s Ken Lum, Argentine/US artist Fabián Marcaccio, France’s Claire Fontaine, Denmark’s Michael Elmgreen, Norway’s Ingar Dragset and Danish/ Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson.

“We have made a selection of artists ranging from Chile to China, from Ukraine to the USA, from Austria to Indonesia,” Weibel was quoted as saying on the Biennale’s web site. “That means a real global selection of contemporary art.”

Annouk Thys’ work within the ‘Free Spaces’ project

© Courtesy of Art Ru Agency

Annouk Thys’ work within the ‘Free Spaces’ project

“These artists are partially famous and established artists like Richard Hamilton or Gerhard Richter, but many are not famous yet, like Nadezhda Anfalova or Ruth Schnell, but all of them are making an important contribution to the transformations of contemporary art. The exhibition includes all the media, [such as] classical media like painting and sculpture but also computer-assisted media installations and sound art.”

The list of domestic participants includes the video group BlueSoup, which claims to have nothing to do with “politics, morals, state ideology, economy, power, violence, sex and sport” and “to tell no stories” in their videos; veterans Yelena Yelagina and Igor Makarevich, who belong to the Moscow Conceptualism School; the Electroboutique group, focused on cutting-edge technologies; as well as Valery Chtak, Alina Gutkina, Olga Kiseleva, Taisiya Korotkova and Taus Makhacheva.

“Studying about 300 portfolios of Russian artists I saw a tendency for ‘decompression’ and ‘deframing,’” Weibel said, explaining his selection. “In the Soviet time the former generation of artists withdrew from public places to private rooms to preserve and to protect the autonomy of the artwork. By doing this they already ‘deframed’ the artwork as a closed system and turned it into a collective experience. They in effect changed the autonomy of the artwork and also the public.”

Dmitry Kavarga’s ‘Pribor bioobratnoi svyazi’

© Courtesy of Art Ru Agency

Dmitry Kavarga’s ‘Pribor bioobratnoi svyazi’

One of the highlights of the Parallel Program is to be the project “1000 Views” by German artist Jorinde Voigt at Regina Gallery. The artist’s first solo show in Russia consists of several works, such as “2 People Kissing,” “308 Views,” “Horizons” and “Botanic Code.” Using a mixture of abstract painting and graphics, Voigt has been able to come up with her unique style, which blends symbolism, minimalism and conceptualism.

Voigt’s works have been compared to those by renowned German artist Joseph Beuys. “Symbols appear as if sounds from Morse code have united on paper from individual words, sentences and chapters,” the curator said, describing the exhibition in a press release.

Other notable projects of the Parallel Program include “Synergism” curated by Natalya Yankovskaya and Andrei Savchenko-Belsky and featuring painter Vladimir Martynov, composer Dmitry Mazurov and video effects artist Svetlana Shetinina at MOD Design; “The Gate To Paradize” by Anton Litvin, Anna Kuznetsova, Alexei Gagin, Elena Ashraf, Antoine de V. and Shishmanova (France) at Design- Zavod Flacon; and “Day By Day” by Dmitry Samodin at A3 Gallery.

One of the most noteworthy special projects is “Free Spaces” to be held at Art Ru. Curated by Belgium’s Maaike Leyn, it features works by Annouk Thys, Maaike Leyn and Debby Huysmans and Russia’s Dmitry Kavarga and Vika Begalska.

The project’s concept is based on the idea that the availability of huge free spaces in Russia contributes to a feeling of freedom, as opposed to Western Europe, where spaces are strictly controlled and regulated.

The exhibition project “From The Realm Of The Practical Knowledge” at GMG Gallery features works by Igor Chirkin, Alexei Podkidyshev, Anastasia Ryabova, Ekaterina Pavlova, Anna Titova, Alexander Povzner and Katya Sivers, who, according to organizers, reconsider “boundaries between documentary and fictive, between a digit and a metaphor.”

‘Vozmozhno’ by Irina Nakhova

© Photo / John Tormey

‘Vozmozhno’ by Irina Nakhova

Other special projects to check out include “Afghan-Kuzminki: A Human Oratorio,” featuring works by Sergey Bratkov, Alexander Vinogradov and Vladimir Dubossarsky, among others, and “Allegoria Sacra” curated by Olga Sviblova at the Multimedia Art Museum.

The Biennale is to feature several special guests. One of them, French artist Bertrand Planes, is to present his project “Bump it!” which is to be put on display at Moscow’s Yekaterina Foundation and in 11 other Russian cities.

“Bump it!” is an improvisational installation project based on objects collected specifically for each show. Driving by car from one Russian city to another, the artist plans to collect various used objects in each city where his project is to be exhibited and use them as material for his installation at the next destination. The final show in Moscow is to be complemented by the screening of a documentary shot during Planes’ Russian travels.

Other special guests are expected to be Semyon Faibisovich with the project “Three In One” at Red October, William Kentridge with “Five Themes” at Garage, Jannis Kounellis with “S.T.” at Red October and Irina Nakhova with “Strange Primer” at the Elena Berezkina Foundation For The Support Of Visual Arts “ERA”. 

For a full schedule of events (in English) see http://www.4th. moscowbiennale.ru/en/

Read other articles of the print issue "The Moscow News #72"
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