Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, Moscow Government, State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSIZO, Museum and Exhibition Association Manege and Moscow Biennale Art Foundation present the Main project 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art «BOLSHE SVETA» / MORE LIGHT.
The Curator of the Main project: Catherine de Zegher
The Commissioner and Artistic Director of the Biennale: Joseph Backstein
Main project: “BOLSHE SVETA” / MORE LIGHT
The open-ended title of the Fifth Moscow Biennale, «More Light», allows for a diversity of interpretations—a diversity apparent in the selection of projects from artists around the globe. While being a critical reflection on different structures of space-time—both in the context of economic overproduction, ecological disasters, and harmful technologies—the exhibition considers light not only as basic to the visual arts but also as a creative force generated between us, when there is space and time for slow and intense attention. The entire project suggests that this engagement as well as relation are required for the development of new thinking.
The participating artists are concerned with the increasing lack of time (we have ‘no time’) and the corporate encroachment on space to create ‘non-places’. The Biennale foregrounds artists whose work focuses on complex ways of giving, taking, and spending time, and questions corporate and normative alignments of space-time. Here the sense of energy as being accumulative and generative is expereinced in every aspect of our life—energy as light, as the warmth of the sun, when we work and become tired; we feel it in our bodies and souls, or in the intensity of our passions. We need light to see and, for us, it is bound up with the opening of consciousness and of being. Time and space, imagined as dimensions of energy, lead us to reflect on the power of our own vitality and reciprocity.
Art is part of this process and can also be imagined as generative energy – energy that occurs as the result of joint reflection and shared understanding. It counters the negative processes of division and displacement that thrive in a contemporary society teeming with violence, alienation and exploitation. Everything is mercurial and mobile. Slow space-time is an expansive space-time in which things can happen, can be attended to. It is in the intensity of this attention for each other, for the everyday and our environment that our understanding together takes place. This is the place of the imagination, and of creation in consciousness. It is about how art, so involved with light itself, shines in our life and in the world at large. In the exhibition, it is apparent in the interleaving of intimate and public space, the architectural and the domestic, exterior and interior, of the macro and the micro.
The exhibition examines practices situated neither on the crest of a fictional, imaginary present or the forefront of the age, but that belong, rather, to a continuous, coherent and slow present. This is art of a profound and radical present, art deliberately out of step with the breakneck contemporary “creative economy.” One of the objectives pursued by the curator has been to highlight the issue of time that cuts across economy, society and art, while at the same time tackling the issue of space, which has resonance in cultural contexts and institutions around the world.
The Biennale’s main project presents the work of seventy-two artists and groups of artists, including a collective of nineteen artists. Around thirty artworks have been produced especially for the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, the Biennale’s main venue. Among them are works by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Alexander Brodsky, Jumaadi, David Claerbout, Valery Koshlyakov, Alia Syed and Yona Friedman. This major exhibition of contemporary art brings together projects by artists from forty countries, most of which will be shown for the first time in Russia.
Prominent architect Yona Friedman presents a gigantic (fifteen by fifteen meter) structure, made from cardboard and metal mesh, which continues his theoretical and practical research in visionary architecture. All his undertakings are inspired by the ambition to help the inhabitant to become master of his own design’ and to encourage architects to recognize how they could be useful to their client. His ideas of participatory conceptualizations gained significant interest in the art world. This installation was realized in collaboration with young architects from the Moscow School of Architecture (MARCH).
No work better embodies our interdependency than the giant Web (2006) made by UK-based Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum. With its metal wire linking hand-blown crystal balls, it resembles an immense spider web with dew drops—an interconnective web we have all become caught in, exquisite but, perhaps, also displaying a sombre side of our globalized society.
Indonesian artist Jumaadi will present The Woman Who Married the Mountain. Drawing on the Indonesian wayang (shadow puppet theater) tradition, the artist weaves fictional stories with folk legends.
The frost drawings of Polish-born Australian artist Gosia Wlodarczak result in a monumental gallery of outlines in which various details—architectural fragments, furniture, faces, etc.—have merged. At the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, she drew a continuous graphic pattern on the glass walls of a conference room.
Ed Pien’s Imaginary Dwelling consists of tiny transparent houses placed inside a large (six by six meter) tent, whose space is filled with dancing, moving shadows reflected in a number of mirrors. In this piece, Pien, who was born in Taiwan and has lived in Canada since the age of eleven, raises the issue of migration, life far from home, the loss of roots and the erasure of ethnic differences.
Similar motifs are present in the installation by Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, artists who emigrated from the Philippines to Australia seven years ago. Their projects, which have been realized in different countries, are based on the study of people’s everyday lives. The Aquilizans are interested in personal stories and things: they collect the things that serve as the basis for their large-scale installations. At the Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, they have produced a new project with vehicles used to move in the snow.
The list of participants of the Main project:
Eija-Liisa Ahtila (Finland, 1959)
Umida Akhmedova (Uzbekistan, 1955)
Vyacheslav Akhunov (Uzbekistan, 1948)
Viktor Alimpiev (Russia, 1973)
Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan (Philippines / Australia, 1965, 1962)
Shuvinai Ashoona (Canada, 1961)
Abilsaid Atabekov (Uzbekistan / Kazakhstan, 1965)
Richard Bell (Australia, 1953)
Peter Belyi (Russia, 1971)
Andrea Bianconi (Italy, 1974)
Geta Bratescu (Romania, 1926)
Alexander Brodsky (Russia, 1955)
David Claerbout (Belgium, 1969)
Collective of Artists (Russia, Ukraine, France)*
Lorraine Connelly-Northey (Australia, 1962)
Adam Cvijanovic (US, 1960)
Edith Dekyndt (Belgium, 1960)
Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan / Egypt, 1977)
Parastou Forouhar (Iran / Germany, 1962)
Yona Friedman (Hungary / France, 1923)
Aslan Gaisumov (Russia, 1991)
Gao Rong (China, 1986)
Simryn Gill (Malaysia / Australia, 1959)
Gisèle Gordon (UK / Canada, 1964)
Micro-art-group «Gorod Ustinov» (Russia)
Ulrike Grossarth (Germany, 1952)
N.S. Harsha (India, 1969)
Mona Hatoum (Lebanon / UK, 1952)
Jumaadi (Indonesia / Australia, 1973)
Amar Kanwar (India, 1964)
Aisha Khalid (Pakistan, 1972)
Bouchra Khalili (Morocco / France, 1975)
Suchan Kinoshita (Japan / The Netherlands, 1960)
Valery Koshlyakov (Russia / France, 1962)
Eva Kotatkova (Czech Republic, 1962)
Elena Kovylina (Russia, 1971)
Nicolas Kozakis and Raoul Vaneigem (Belgium, 1967, 1934)
Ricardo Lanzarini (Uruguay, 1963)
Farideh Lashai (Iran, 1944-2013)
Mark Licari (US, 1975)
Mikhail Lukachevsky (Russia, 1986)
Gabriella and Silvana Mangano (Australia, 1972)
Erin Manning (Canada, 1969)
Masasit Mati (Syria)
Julie Mehretu (Ethiopia / US, 1970)
Alan Michelson (US, 1953)
Tom Molloy (Ireland, 1964)
Wangechi Mutu (Kenya / US, 1972)
Avis Newman (UK, 1946)
Maya Onoda (Japan, 1979)
Selma and Sofiane Ouissi (Tunis / France, 1972, 1975)
Panamarenko (Belgium, 1940)
Alexandra Paperno (Russia, 1978)
Sopheap Pich (Cambodia, 1971)
Ed Pien (Taiwan / Canada, 1958)
Robin Rhode (South Africa / Germany, 1976)
Ranjani Shettar (India, 1977)
Alexander Sigutin (Russia, 1959)
Song Dong (China, 1966)
Frances Stark (US, 1967)
Samuil Stoyanov (Bulgaria, 1975)
Tavares Strachan (Bahamas / US, 1979)
Alia Syed (UK, 1964)
Sarah Vanagt (Belgium, 1976)
Dmitry Venkov (Russia, 1980)
Ria Verhaeghe (Belgium, 1950)
Adrian Villar Rojas (Argentina, 1980)
Gosia Wlodarczak (Poland / Australia, 1959)
Yin Xiuzhen (China, 1963)
Yang Yongliang (China, 1980)
Irina Zatulovskaya (Russia, 1954)
*Vladimir Arkhipov, Leha Garikovich, Sergey Kalinin, Egor Koshelev, Mikhail Kosolapov, Paulina Koulik (France), Alexey Kuripko, Pavel Kuznetsov, Anton Litvin, Diana Machulina, Anton Nikolayev, Marina Perchikhina, Lisa Plavinsky, Alexander Podosivov, Yuri Shabelnikov, Vika Shumskaya (Ukraine), Irina Steinberg, Imperator WAWA (Vladimir Aleksandrov), Vlad Yurashko (Ukraine)
**Anonymous Artists (India)
Catherine de Zegher
Catherine de Zegher, the Curator of the Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art was the Artistic Co-Director of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012), Guest Curator in the Department of Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Visiting Curator at Tapies Foundation in Barcelona. In previous years, de Zegher held positions as Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Drawing Center in New York (1999–2006) and was Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Currently Catherine de Zegher is the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts Ghent, Belgium.
The 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art is supported by the General Partner – OAO «VympelKom» (brand Beeline), Official Partner Bank – OAO «Alfa-Bank», Official Partner – Access Industries Company, Official Automotive Partner – OOO «Hyundai Motor CIS», distributor of Hyundai cars, Technical Partners – Samsung Electronics Rus Company and Barco Company.