Main project

Main project


The title and lead motto of this biennial project we owe to a short treatise written by Joseph Brodsky in 1989. It is titled Report for a Symposium and it was published in August 1989, just a few months before the Berlin Wall fell down. It stands on the eve of an event whose reverberations and implications we are experiencing to this day. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked not only the collapse of the bipolar model of the world, it also kick started the advance of neo-capitalism with all its effects of globalization, collapse of industries and cultural models, movement of capital and people, struggles and all kinds of other trends and events. Though this period is still going on, there is a lot we already know about the world after 1989.

The world was and is a dangerous place caught between disappearing past and unstable future. Brodsky had intuition for that so he wrote: “It is harder to beautify the misshapen than it is to misshape the beautiful. A sapper is needed to make innocuous from the dangerous. Such attempts are to be applauded and supported in every way possible.” The poet was specific that “a sapper is needed…” to make that world innocuous, livable, friendly, and human.

For us the artist is a sapper who makes innocuous from the dangerous; this figure is the central figure for the biennial project. We are interested in how sight, the eye, vision, the artist are making the world less dangerous – as if the world is full of land mines – how do artists see where there are “mines”, areas in the life of the world, which are seen as dangerous, threatening. Such areas are for instance, the past in the general sense, or effects of industry on the environment, or politics of all sorts, or violence, war, street unrest, terrorist threats and so on – the world is still a very dangerous place although maybe various parts of it, central or not, have a different ideas of what their local dangers might be. This show is about how artists are using their vision to defuse the world from its dangers. This show will be about analysis and transformation seen not as a process but as co-existing in a single work and artistic statement. We are interested to show to the people of Yekaterinburg how looking and seeing might be simultaneously analysis and transformation of the object of the sight. We will not go as far as to claim that we understand everything in this interdependence between sight, the world, its analysis and transformation but we are tempted to claim that the art works in the show will be analytical at the stage of their dependence on the object of seeing – the world; while being autonomous at the stage of its transformation – within the context of the biennial exhibition halls. As Brodsky wrote in his treatise, “Vision is autonomous as a result of its dependence on the object of attention”. We are interested in the potential and the ambitions of art to save the world, so to say, although this act of saving might be limited to only a small fragment of the world, a tiny danger zone being defused.

We are interested in how art fails in the attempt to save the world as much as in cases when it succeeds in its ambition. We are interested to show you how art tries to reinvent itself in order to better save the world while it equally fails and succeeds. This show will look into the recent ambition of art to replace everything else by itself – politics, economy, science, without becoming engulfed by these other disciplines that it invades; look into art that is competent in other areas of life while preserving its own identity as art. How it deals with or competes for its place in the world with the oceans and avalanches of other kinds of images that are not art, which are invading ceaselessly the life of the citizen – TV, advertisement in the city, consumer goods, designer items, architectural sites, etc.

The heroes of today are not the artists, nor are they the viewers or the audience. It’s the protester on the streets of Cairo, New York or Athens. They have introduced the language of social critique through action. It seems that the faith in answers, to rely on answers and find answers has been lost. So the street has invented a different paradigm – put forward as many questions as you possibly can! The more questions you ask, the better the chance that there will be an answer found somewhere among the questions… The street movement in New York last year invented the slogan: “Demand nothing, occupy everything,” which reflects the actual status of contemporary art.


Iara Boubnova


Main project participants:  

1. Adel Abdessemed (born 1971, Constantine, Algeria. Lives and works in Paris, France)

2. Kutluğ Ataman (born 1961, Istanbul, Turkey. Lives and works in Istanbul, London and Barcelona)

3. Zbyněk Baladrán (born in 1973, Prague, Czech Republic. Lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic)

4. Luchezar Boyadjiev (born 1957, Sofia, Bulgaria. Lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria)

5. Malevich's brigade (Marina Razheva, Viktor Oborotistov, Vladimir Romanov, Elena Gladysheva) (art-group, 2004, Ekaterinburg, Russia)

6. Lize Harlev (born in 1973, Odense, Denmark. Lives and works in Berlin, Germany)

7. IRWIN (Dušan Mandič, Miran Mohar, Andrej Savski, Roman Uranjek, Borut Vogelnik) (art-group, 1983, Ljubljana, Slovenia)

8. Anna Jermolaewa (born in 1970, Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Lives and works in Vienna, Austria)

9. Igor Eškinja (born in 1975, Rijeka, Croatia. Lives and works in Rijeka, Croatia)

10. Adam Frelin (born in 1973, Grove City, PA, USA. Lives and works in Troy and Brooklyn, NY, USA)

11. Peter Kogler (born in 1959, Insbruk, Austria. Lives and works in Vienna, Austria)

12. Olga Kroytor (born in 1986, Moscow, Russia. Lives and works in Moscow, Russia)

13. Irina Korina (born in 1977, Moscow, Russia. Lives and works in Moscow, Russia)

14. Agnieszka Kurant (born in 1978, Lodz, Poland. Lives and works in Warsaw, Poland)

15. Where Dogs Run (Natalia Grekhova, Olga Inosemtseva, Alexei Korzukhin, Vlad Bulatov) (art-group, 2000, Ekaterinburg, Russia)

16. Cristina Lucas (born in 1974, Jaen, Spain. Lives and works in Madrid, Spain)

17. Boris Mikhailov (born in 1938, Kharkiv, Ukraine. Lives and works in Berlin and Kharkiv)

18. Elena Nemkova (born in 1971, Dushanbe, Tadjikistan. Lives and works in Milan, Italy)

19. Anton Vidokle (born in 1965, Moscow, Russia. Lives and works in New York and Berlin)

20. Dan Perjovschi (born in 1961, Sibiu, Romania. Lives and works in Bucharest, Romania)

21. Lia Perjovschi (born in 1961, Sibiu, Romania. Lives and works in Bucharest, Romania)

22. Timofej Radya (born in 1989, Ekaterinburg, Russia. Lives and works in  Ekaterinburg, Russia)

23. Raqs Media Collective (Jeebesh Bagchi, Monica Narula, Shuddhabrata Sengupta) (art-group, 1992, New Delhi, India)

24. Recycle (Andrey Blochin, Georgy Kuznetsov) (art-group, 2008, Krasnodar, Russia)

25. Vladimir Seleznev (borin in 1973, Nizhnij Tagil, Russia. Lives and works in Ekaterinburg, Russia)

26. Alexander Shaburov (born in Berezovsky, Sverdlovsk, Russia. Lives and works in Moscow, Russia)

27. Slavs and Tatars (art-group, USA, France, Poland)

28. Société Réaliste (Ferenc Gróf, Jean-Batiste Naudy) (art-group, 2004, Paris, France)

29. Nedko Solakov (born in 1957, Cherven Briag, Bulgaria. Lives and works in Sofia, Bulgaria)

30. Monika Sosnowska (born in 1972, Ryki, Poland. Lives and works in Warsaw, Poland)


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