Moscow, VDNKh, pavilion #1
HOW TO GATHER? ACTING IN A CENTER IN A CITY IN THE HEART OF THE ISLAND OF EURASIA
Under challenging circumstances, the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art opts for a radical format and changes its structure: the biennale will be condensed into ten days. Artistic, discursive and reflective moments will shape the space. Located in the Pavilion No.1 of VDNKh, it is here that the Moscow Biennale will evolve, as a think tank in real time.
Bart De Baere, Director of MUHKA, Antwerp; Defne Ayas, Director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; and Nicolaus Schafhausen, Director of Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, will co-curate the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art which will take place from September 22 to October 1, 2015 at VDNKh.
The title of the biennale is ‘How to Gather? Acting in a Center in a City in the Heart of the Island of Eurasia.’ The central pavilion of VDNKh will become a site to embrace art and thinking in action, encompassing daily keynotes by thinkers, in situ work and performances by artists as well as workshops with Russian and international cultural figures. Artists such as Flaka Haliti, Rana Hamadeh, Fabrice Hyber, Alevtina Kakhidze, Suchan Kinoshita, Hanne Lippard, Taus Makhacheva, Amalia Ulman, Anton Vidokle, Peter Wächtler and Qiu Zhijie, writers such as Robert Menasse and Mian Mian, system thinkers such as Ulrike Guérot, Maya van Leemput, Grigory Revzin, Saskia Sassen and Yanis Varoufakis will convene to find answers to questions such as: What are the fundamentals of a better life?, What are the grounds on which to formulate a constituency? Who are we (people, city, nation, empire, etc.)? What will Moscow be like in the future? All these questions primarily address a highly urgent dilemma: How can we live together?
After this ten-day gathering, different archival formats will follow up on the biennale, including a feature documentary by Singaporean film director Ho Tzu Nyen, a website with annotated documentation, a book and a documentary exhibition from October 2 until November 1, 2015 at the site where the biennale took place, the central pavilion of VDNKh.
The 6th Moscow Biennale unfolds as a declaration of intent and an invitation to engage. The project, organized and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, advances the development of new cultural spaces in Moscow, while the question mark in its title requires discussion and participation.
The curators are not proposing answers; instead they aim to create a situation that addresses the future of humankind, art in its numerous forms and the Eurasian tradition of Russia, all in the setting of the VDNKh, Moscow’s All-Russia Exhibition Centre. A site symbolic of the USSR’s bringing together of traditions, the VDNKh embodies a history of Soviet nationhood as a village of pavilions and fountains. As the curators put it, “Art offers the possibility to gather, the possibility to cease being one, to become two, and perhaps more. It bears the potential to transcend the interpersonal sphere into a veritable soviet.” The potential implied is that of a return to communal, proto-Soviet roots, a search for rapprochement and friendship without loss of individuality.
In addition, the Moscow Biennale will include the auxiliary programs’ Special Guests, Special Projects and Parallel Program, presenting works by artists who define the face of Russian and Western art today.
Projects by Special Guests will be presented at leading venues, including:
Louise Bourgeois at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art;
Anish Kapoor at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center;
Alexander Ponomarev at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts;
Alexander Brodsky at the Museum of Moscow;
Michal Rovner at Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow;
Andrey Bartenev, Peter Weibel, Jiří David at Moscow Museum of Modern Art;
The biennale is organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the Government of Moscow, VDNKh and the Moscow Biennale Foundation.
The commissioner of the biennale is Joseph Backstein.
Rietumu Bank is the general sponsor of the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. Rietumu is the leading private bank and one of the biggest patrons of the arts in Latvia, known also for its support of Latvia-Russia cultural links.