Russia’s Garage Triennial Embraces Radical Decentralisation
26 August 2020
The curators have taken unusual steps to make space for contradiction and incoherence.
Svetlana Hollis, Hot and Cold (2020). Production photograph. Photo: Valeria Suchkova. Courtesy the artist and the Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art.
The artists have been announced for the second edition of the Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, taking place in Moscow from 11 September, 2020 to 17 January, 2021. In an unusual move, they were selected not by the event's curators but at the recommendation of artists who took part in the inaugural edition in 2017.
Curators Anastasia Mityushina and Valentin Diaconov say the format is decentralised in a way that's analogous to crytpocurrencies or the rise of social media in place of old media.
'It's a reasonable comparison since it's based on [an] open process idea, non-hierarchical influences and at the same time implies (though few artists did so) a possibility of embedded neglect, a negative, a chance to refrain from participation,' Mityushina said.
'It is also somewhat of a deterritorialized network of artists who are (hopefully) not judged by the part of Russia they come from and are not obliged to comment on their exotic cultural backgrounds,' Diaconov added.
After two World Wars, political repression, and difficult economic transformations, personal networks that can help people get by are particularly prized in Russia. The organisers say the exhibition will demonstrate the strength and diversity of relationships operating in Russian art today.
'In our case, it would be instructive to think of symbolic capital that is exchanged through recommendations,' Diaconov said. 'But who accumulates it in the end? That's one thing we're planning to think about.'
The methodology has resulted in an eclectic group, including artist and model Svetlana Hollis, whose work Hot and Cold (2020) is pictured top, sound machine maker ::vtol::, research projects, science labs, educational institutions, and charities. The full list of participating artists is included below.
The curators' approach was inspired by British sociologist John Law's 2004 book After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, which advocates for less rigidity and more mixing between different classes, religious communities, and subcultures.
Fittingly, the exhibition title A Beautiful Night for All the People comes from a book by Russian mathematician Roman Mikhailov that's written in a process-based language that foregoes a single, definite plot to allow for many possible readings.
The exhibition is organised by The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow. A virtual preview and Q&A hosted by Diaconov and Mityushina will take place at 7pm Moscow time on 8 September. —[O]
Danilovtsy Volunteer Movement,
Alisa Gorshenina (alice hualice),
Headquarters of Urban Self-Expression,
Levaя нога Gallery,
Dmitry Pakhomov aka Mitya Pax,
San Donato group,
Welcome to the Dollhouse!,
Ruslan Zoloev, and