04 - 05.06.2016 (Moscow), 04 - 06.06. 2016 (Saint-Petersburg), 04 - 12.06.2016 (Vladivostok)
Authors: Ilmira Bolotyan, Maryana Karysheva (Moscow), with the participation of Yana Gaponenko (Vladivostok), The School of Engaged Art (Saint-Petersburg)
04 - 05.06.2016, Center "Red", Moscow
Artists: Ulyana Bychenkova, Katya Garkushko, Anastasiya Kizilova, “Летучая кооперация” (Fleeting cooperation), Polina Muzika
The group exhibition “New Poverty” is a medium scale project that encompassed three independent shows simultaneously organized on different venues across three cities: Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok. The project presents a new approach to the collaboration of artists who live in the fast changing world and have to invent new artistic strategies under harsh economic realities of today. The “Potential of Friendship” is one of the pivotal ideas that the project is developing – exhibitions and meetings simultaneously took place in three cities with each event giving a representation and interpretation of the local scene and particular viewpoints of various artists in the current context. As the country struggles to cope with a crippling economic crisis, a number of publications appeared in the Russian press as well as the Russian translation of “Maria and new poor”, by the Italian poet and journalist Aldo Nove, provided an impressive testimony of importance of “new poverty” as a theme for intensive artistic search.
The contemporary Russian art scene lacks well-shaped, “permeable” art communities, so a formal group belonging to a certain school, group or institution remains the main practice of artistic cooperation. In an era of neoliberalism and individualism, when all sources of cultural communality are disintegrating artists lack motivation to unite into artistic groups and communities on some inner basis or form, they are pushed to collaborate by external factors, which finally emerged as the crisis evolved in the past few years. This combination of external factors can be called a “new poverty”, as it resulted in the objective change of economic conditions and a subjectively changed inner perception. These factors define both the necessity to unite and the proposed framework of such cooperation. Be it a production of material (artifacts) or non-material forms like lectures and joint activities – cooperation should become one of the most accessible forms of artistic interaction.
At the crux of the two day long Moscow exhibition was the idea of showing cooperation initiatives in action. Visitors could see four videos (the first - coming from the Vladivostok school - about an artworking with simple, often natural materials, the second - made by artist Ulyana Bychenkova, promotional video to raise money for her, a poor artist, the third - a video about the event entitled “Sorry but that is not all” where artists exchanged their art pieces, and the fourth - a videodocumentaion of Anastasia Kizilova’s project, in which she exchanged artists’ uniforms sewed by her on the services of these artists). Artists also answered a questionnaire composed by curators and exchanged art materials that they didn’t need like paint, canvas, clay or some strange items like small toys on the table next to a sign labeled “A Poor Artist”. They were even offered cheap haircuts by artists cooperative “Makushka” or to get press cards by the “Flying cooperation”who created the fake web site of the art magazine.
Exhibition participants in each venue were asked to make a contribution to exhibitions at other venues. In Moscow participants could fill a questionnaire which could be the first step for future cooperation. Saint Petersburg participants presented the “School of Rose”, an artist’s newspaper they publish, and Vladivostok school of contemporary art showcased a video-collage documenting the process of how artists learn to handle simple and natural materials.
The current project seeks, among other goals, to create new possibilities for artists to cooperate, so that they can confront the new challenges of time, to share experience and learn how to help each other.