Highlights from the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

Unexpectedly, the ten-day long events of the main project of the 6th Moscow Biennale of contemporary art, from Sept 22 to Oct 1 2015, were a great surprise. Galerie Stanislas Bourgain is happy to give you an overview of what has catched its attention.

By its format: an openspace of work in progress, public dialogue and discussions; by its location: the Pavillon N1 of the Vdnkh, the main palace of what used to be the Soviet economy achievements fair; by its theme: “How to gather ? Acting in a Center in a City in the Heart of the Island of Eurasia” raising current hot topics; and by being a gathering with uncertain outcome, the Biennale reflected perfectly the local context and complex situation of Moscow, a city at the crossword of influences, and of Russia, looking for its identity in balance between Europe and Asia.

A highlight of the main project was the performance of Taus Makhacheva, where a group of acrobats made a human pyramid as a small moutain, then carrying the masterpieces of the museum of Makhachkala, capital of her native Dagestan.  In the “Caucasus pavillion”, the Unbound group was presenting a world of different objects from the this region, showing how the culture of the post-Soviet Caucasus, through a period of transformation, assimilates any product from the West so that it loses its original format in a way to restore a national identity.


Numerous parallel events were organized all over Moscow during the Biennale.  As a selection, “No time” organized by the Smirnov and Sorokin Foundation at Winzavod and curated by Vladimir Logutov, presented a great choice of young Russian artists working with graphics and paintings. The V-A-C foundation was showing in a new location, a closed-down power station soon to become an contemporary art center, the project “Expanding space” the result of a programme to support artistic practice within the urban environment of Moscow. The Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art was showing an interesting solo exhibition of Evgueny Antufiev who is using different media to question the phenomenon of Russian culture with all its attributes from Pushkin’s fairy tale to Pavlov cake, in a attempt to combine them around a new vision.

Solyanka Gallery, the only museum in Russia dedicated to the performance art, was presented for the third time a group exhibition of Russian performance art, “The artist is hidden”, including the artist, curator and museum director Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich. Together with an exhibition of Manuel Vason’s photographs coming from its collaborating with UK and Russian performance artists.

The Moscow Biennale 2015 was also the purpose for the legendary futurist opera with costumes design by Kazimir Malevich first performed in 2013 to be reconstructed by the Stas Namin Theatre of Moscow and staged at Udarnik, Moscow.


The Armenian Jeans of Karen Barseghyan

In its aim to explore and share its experience of the contemporary artscene in Russia and ex-USSR countries, Galerie Stanislas Bourgain is pleased to present the work of  Karen Barseghyan that a recent trip in Armenia gave a chance to discover.

With a pop aesthetic and a remarkable sense of humor,  Karen Barseghyan, born in Gyumri, Armenia, in 1979, raises various social and political issues in this ex-USSR countries experiencing democracy.

His recent artwork is “Armenian Jeans”, a series of drawings printed on a denim canvas on top of which the artist had added collages or painting. The use of jeans as a material for his artwork  came from his experience during the military service and is a way for him to exorcise this period of life. The drawings represent real or imaginary scenes of the daily life in Gyumri, a city where the artist still lives and works.

Each of them has a clear message: the central square of the city covered with bicycles is first a remembrance of his recent trip to Amsterdam but also a dream that the small streets of Gyumri would allow more space to his means of transportation; this one shows  a soldier with an anxious look at the viewer, his eyes appearing just above his shield: a scene that refers to the tragic event involving the Russian army based in Gyumri which became suspicious since then; another piece represents abandonned Gyumri buildings from the tsarist era of the city, reflecting on the hood of one of the german cars that populates the city since a couple of years. Karen has added a band-aid on top. In a very good way, this work symbolizes the current state of this city, navigating between the preservation of the past and the desire for modernity, while still recovering from its trauma of the last 30 years: the 1988 earthquake, the fall of USSR and the war in Nagorno-Karabach.

Karen Barseghyan, “coffee table”, acryl on canvas, objects, 2014.

Another work is a pseudo ready-made, featuring a coffee table during a meeting with the curator of the last Gyumri  Biennale, mixing painting and real objects which are typically found on an armenian table.  A piece that was surprisingly hanged on the ceiling of an hotel room and which represents perfectly the  contemporary life of this city rich of culture and history, a city which holds an Art Biennale since 1996.

More info : info@galeriesb.com

O Batodormo, “the Potato House”, a total installation by Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich

O Batodormo is a total installation presented by Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, as a part of CRU, curated by Marcello Dantas, Brasília, Brazil, August 15-24, 2015
I was born inside the potato.
Potato is something dull, common, simple yet crucial to every Russian. It’s basically the mean of existence.Potato is all about surviving, about saving the food for a severe winter, for war, for famine, or for the end of the world. Potato is something that is always there for you – when everything else, including the bread, is over.
Historically potato made all the way from South America to Europe, and it first came to Russia – with the very little success though – from Holland during Peter the Great’s era, and then it made its second round in the 19th century – via Germany/Poland this time – and stayed forever. Now Russia should symbolically return it to South America – with O Batatódromo.Potatoes can easily survive for the whole year, till the next season – when the Russians would celebrate the late spring arrival of the young potatoes- as a new hope, as a prove of rebirth. Meantime, the mid winter pale roots growing out of the old potatoes speak for themselves in a very subtle way: memento mori.
O Batatódromo is a cave, a dugout, a hideaway, an air-raid shelter built of the true potatoes. They do remind you of stones, and it is indeed dark and cold inside, yet it’s a cave everyone can trust.The potatoes live their own life inside the cave (say hello to George Orwell or Evgeniy Zamyatin, or both). They produce a specific noise and create a kind of a cycle in the space – although quite a pointless/senseless/endless one, that doesn’t start/and doesn’t lead you anywhere, and is quite Sisyphean by its mechanism and its nature.The visitors are welcome to access O Batatódromo after covering their heads with hat-turned aluminum basins – both for their own safety and in order to make a part of the Potato Saga.



Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich receives Grand Prix at Kuryokhin Art Prize

carouselFyodor Pavlov-Andreevich’s Performance Carousel (2014, Faena Arts Center, Buenos Aires) has received a Grand Prix at Kuryokhin Art Prize 2015, awarded on Friday April 17th in St Petersburg, Russia

The performance Carousel was first presented at Buenos Aires’s most known new home of contemporary art, Faena Arts Center. It is all about shame. Nine performance artists inside the Carousel perform invidually, separated by walls. All artists enter and exit the museum space blindfold and ignore the content of the other performances until the end.

The Carousel wants to bring together different individual artistic wills in a collective unconscious intention.

Every nation, every individual, every artist, has their own sense of shame – and their own reasons for it. Nine artists from various parts of the world joined together by The Carousel talk each about their personal, or collective, or even national shame. The visual disunity of The Carousel should help to reinforce what is most important – to find a trend about what is today the nerve of earthly existence, what determines the rhythm of life, what is the driving force of artistic existence.

The Carousel is the first attempt of Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich to communicate this experience of momentum through the driving/rotating or even a spinning force, whereby the viewer moves from a state of relaxed. contemplation to one of active participation. The carousel move only if the three cycling stations situated at its edges are used by the members of the audience, participating. The performances literally move away from the viewer if the viewer does not attempt to catch up with them physically, to penetrate their insides, to overcome the centrifugal force that keeps the viewer out of the sacred space of live art. The carousel is moving constantly whenever visitors take their positions at the cycling stations, yet it won’t be bringing you anywhere except to the same place where it started.

This rotation, slowly but surely, might well help us to answer those questions that had been so successfully answered by the artists in the 1970s at the very peak of the history of performance art.

See more and watch the performance: Carousel

Diana Machulina’s project nominated for the Kandinsky Prize “Project of the Year “

“Telo truda”, Diana Machulina‘s project, that was first exhibited at the New Tretyakov Gallery as a parallel project of the 4th International Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, is nominated for the Kandinsky Prize 2014 “Project of the year”.

The exhibition of nominees takes place from Sept 18 to Nov 30 at Udarnik, Moscow. The prize will be awarded in December.

More info : Kandinsky Prize

“Thank You Paintings Exchange” by Alina&Jeff Bliumis

Alina & Jeff Bliumis present their new project Thank You Paintings Exchange at the Denner Gallery, New-York.

Thank You Paintings Exchange initiates a series of material, social, gestural, intellectual and monetary exchanges between artist and collector, with the commercial art gallery as site and passive participant. The fifteen paintings on view depict scenes of everyday life: a woman sitting on a deserted beach, children playing, cars parked in front of a suburban home, etc. Each painting has the text, “Thank You For Your” painted on it, completed with words such as “Email,” “Poem,” “Kiss,” “Prayers,” “Dance,” “Pants,” “Thoughts.” Sometimes a viewer might detect a relationship between the text and the subject of the painting, but there is no deliberate, direct relationship. The painting points toward the value of the painting as an artwork, while the text points toward the exchange the artists propose to initiate with the collector.

In order to acquire a painting, the collector must participate in the exchange the artists have proposed, giving the artists the object, gesture, concept, etc. for which the painting “thanks” them, in addition to making a flat $1,000 financial transaction. The interaction between artist and buyer must be in some way documented, whether that document is the object that is exchanged (“Thank You For Your Pants”) or a photograph of the exchange (“Thank You For Your Hug”), or a written text (“Thank You For Your Thoughts”). The original documentation of the exchange will immediately replace the purchased painting on the wall and a copy of it will be stapled to the back of the painting. The actions and objects requested by the artists may be creatively interpreted by the collector. For example: to exchange for the “Thank You For Your Poem” painting, the collector might give a poem they have written or their favorite poem, it might be hand-written, emailed, or on the page of a book.

Vladimir Logutov: artist at the Young Art International Biennale and curator during Manifesta 10

“The end of industrial era”, video, Vladimir Logutov, 2013

Two major international artistic events happen this summer in Russia.

The international biennale for young art in Moscow, curated by David Elliot, and Manifesta 10 in Saint-Petersburg, curated by Kasper König.
Vladimir Logutov participates to these 2 events. First as an artist by showing his videowork  “The end of industrial era” (2013) at the Young Art Biennal, and as a curator of  “Not a Museum.*Aesthetic suspicions lab” exhibition!”, a group show of young Russian artists in the parallel program of Manifesta with the support of the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin.

“Fear and Hope”, an artistic response to the new context in Ukraine by three contemporary Ukrainian artists

In “Fear and Hope“, an exhibition at the Pinchuk Art Center in Kiev, three Ukrainian artists, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova and Artem Volokytin, present new works with older ones, revealing the presence of the recent conditions of their countries through their thinking.

The new paintings of Artem Volokytin presented in the show, represent a drastic change in the artistic practice of Volokytin, which is a direct response to the violence that became a part of daily life in Ukraine. His work focuses on the act of violence, more specifically an explosion, but also on the emptiness and the personal loss.

Photographs provided by the PinchukArtCentre © 2014. Photographed by Sergey Illin



“Quelles sont nos ruines ?”, the outlook of Diana Machulina and Sergei Kalinine

Quelles sont nos ruines?” (“What are our ruines ?”), is a on-going collective and multidisciplinary project organized by Alain Hélou from Les Ateliers du Vent in Rennes, France. This project brings together a group of artists from France, Russia and Moldova around the concept of ‘ruins’, whether there are physical in the landscape or immaterial from our history. Our everyday life is always looking for new, bright and valuable things. The aim of the the current project is to look to the ruins which are also part of our world and are often left behind or ignored.
Diana Machulina (Russia) and Sergei Kalinine (Russia) took part with other artists in the workshops organized in Moscow, Chisiniau and finally in Rennes where an exhibition will show the results of their work.
The show opens on May 15th and will be opened until June 8th, 2014 in Rennes (France). More info on the projet : quellessontnosruines.org and info@galeriesb.com

“Applause”, Diana Machulina, 2009, oil on canvas, 163x400cm

Ivan Mikhailov takes part to “Allegories d’oubli” @Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou

“Mothers and Daughters”, Ivan Mikhailov, 2013, view from the exhibition, courtesy MAMM and Centre Pompidou

Four photographs from the series “Mothers and Daughters” by Ivan Mikhailov are presented in the exhibition “Allégories d’oubli” as part of the Nouveau Festival at the Pompidou Center in Paris.

The exhibition gathers fifty proposals by contemporary artists who introduced the idea of the forgotten and the reminiscence in their work.