The Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

Автор // Kaunis Foxy Раздел // Art life blog

from September 23 to October 30, 2011 Rewriting Worlds

The Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

The main project will be held in two venues: the ARTPLAY Design Center and the TsUM Art Foundation (the exhibition space of the TsUM department store). Peter Weibel, a prominent artist, new media expert and head of the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, is curator of the main project, which will welcome about 80 artists from more than 20 different countries.


The Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art is considered one of the largest, most prestigious and trend-setting contemporary art events in Russia and abroad. It owes its immense popularity to the participation of leading curators, philosophers and experts of present-day art. This year the organizing committee has opted for Peter Weibel to curate the main project.

Biennale commissioner Joseph Backstein commented: “Curatorial functions of the main project of the Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art will be performed in 2011 by Peter Weibel, a famous specialist in the sphere of new media. Unlike the contents and style of the main project of the Third Biennale, this year’s exhibition will show different approaches to how media can be used in the contemporary artistic creative process as well as types of art that are deliberately critical of the role of technology and media in the life of modern civilization.”


“I was extremely glad to receive the invitation to be the curator of the Moscow Biennale,” Weibel said, “because I deem Moscow to be a far more appropriate place than, say, London or New York, to search for an answer to the question, ‘What is modernity?’”


This year’s theme is “Rewriting Worlds,” which proclaims that art is a sphere where new things are unceasingly generated. What contemporary artists do is rewrite the existing world conveying their ideas in their artistic work. Weibel believes that the exhibition’s main goal is “to demonstrate different levels of artistic thought — technological, political and psychological.” In light of this, the following artists were invited to take part in the main project: Kader Attia, Chen Chieh-jen, EVOL, Claire Fontaine, Susan Hiller, Rebecca Horn, Manabu Ikeda, Elmgreen & Dragset, Shilpa Gupta, Isaac Julien, Armin Linke, Fabian Marcaccio, Neo Rauch, Rosangela Renno, Timo Toots, Guido Van der Werve and many others. Most of these artists have never been exhibited in Russia! The organizing committee is also currently in talks for renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to join the main project.


When commenting on the format of the main project, Weibel emphasized: “We are not going to exclude the media. That is exactly what I wanted to talk about — ‘technological fairness.’ We do not reject painting, nor do we reject new media technology. Many people think we live in a post-media epoch when all techniques are treated on equal terms. The biennale will show painting but in a rather uncommon form. Painting is one of the techniques. Works created on a PC are just another artistic practice and have right to existence, too. Therefore it should be an exhibition where all the techniques are given equal treatment — new computer systems and other types of new media as well as objects, sculptures and installations. We should be fair and unbiased. We can’t be preferential. The conservative trend is still dominant — which clearly does not promote media art. My idea is that we should follow the artist. The history of art should follow the artist, and artists all over the world are working with new media today.”


Russian artists are actively involved in shaping the artistic world. The biennale will include works by the Blue Soup and Electroboutique groups as well as artists Nadezhda Anfalova, Valery Chtak, Alina Gutkina, Olga Kiseleva, Taisiya Korotkova, Yelena Yelagina and Igor Makarevich.


The main project’s venues were chosen considering the dynamics of art development in Russia. “We have a tradition to move each new exhibition to another venue. This year two separate venues will welcome the main project of the Fourth Biennale — the ARTPLAY Design Center and the TsUM Art Foundation. We think the choice of the venues is a perfect, well-balanced combination of two spaces different both in format and location,” Backstein said.


This year’s biennale will also expand its geographical borders. Apart from the main project, special guests and projects, and a parallel program in Moscow, there are special projects planned for Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kiev and London. This year will see a total of about 90 exhibitions in more than 50 venues.

Curator of the main project: Peter Weibel

Commissioner of the Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art: Joseph Backstein


Main project: Rewriting Worlds

Dates: Sept. 23 – Oct. 30, 2011

Venues for the main project: ARTPLAY Design Center, TsUM Art Foundation

Opening day: Sept. 22, 2011

Participants: about 80 artists from more than 20 countries

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