The Living Alive exhibition opened at the National Centre for Contemporary Arts, the first in series of exhibition programs dedicated to artistic practices of the NCCA branches in regions. The NCCA exhibition hall located on Zoologicheskaya street became a permanent regional venue, which during a year will host exhibitions from Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Samara, Yekaterinburg. The final project of the year will present experiences and the most interesting practices of Russian art residences.
Alisa Prudnikova, Director of Regional Development of ROSIZO:
“Appearance of a NCCA branch in a region always meant acknowledgement of maturity of internal processes and strong dynamics of the area. The NCCA became a driver, gave a powerful boost for people and events to start twisting around it into their own stories. Each of the cities requires specific methods: priorities and accents on educational programs, exhibitions, researches, international collaborations, cultural journalism. And now, when results can be counted by decades, we can speak about process and history of contemporary art in regions, which not just "happened before our eyes", but which was created by our teams in "here and now" mode. The NCCA permanent regional program is intended to provide open expertise of regional art and to tell about our experience of work with local cultural identity. It brings territories closer to Moscow, and, moreover, to each other - we plan to launch network programs and create history of contemporary art of all the country.”
Curators and artists of the Living Alive exhibition regard the historical centre of Nizhny Novgorod as one ecosystem, which includes people, plants, animals and vanishing wooden architecture. When one comes to Nizhny Novgorod, the first impression they receive is that of numerous historic wooden houses - they occupy whole streets and form quarters where one loses the sense of time, as though being no longer in the 21st century. Old houses of Nizhny Novgorod are both its hallmark and its problem, complex solution to this problem is yet to be found, much like in other Russian cities. How to preserve the vanishing atmosphere of the past centuries, how to preserve not only knowledge, but also feeling of the past which is inevitable accompanied by decrepitude, where is a place of nature in life of a city - answers to these questions are sought by artists and curators of the exhibition.
The Living Alive exhibition was shown for the first time at the Nizhny Novgorod Arsenal in 2016. The pilot version of the project named Sketches of Optimism was included into parallel program of the Manifesta 10 European Biennale of Contemporary Art, and was met with enthusiastic reception. The Wildlife Corner installation, presented at the exhibition, was nominated for the Innovation award in the Regional Project category.
Alisa Savitskaya, curator:
“This exhibition is very important for Nizhny Novgorod. There is a great history behind it: local urban problematics, creative strategies of various artists and fates of the exhibition’s curators intertwine in it. Preparation of the exhibition included researches, expeditions and discussions. The Living Alive exhibition in Nizhny Novgorod was inseparable from the city’s fabric, the Arsenal exhibition halls were natural extension of the city environment. And now, for the duration of the exhibition, the NCCA halls turned into a small branch of Nizhny Novgorod – one can travel to this city without leaving Moscow.”
Art school notionally named “Nizhny Novgorod street art” develops an important trend of contemporary art in Nizhny Novgorod. Young artists, which initially worked with street art, switched to their own artistic practices of interaction with the city. Their works are presented at the Living Alive exhibition.
Artem Filatov, artist, curator:
“Changes of the historical centre of the city significantly influenced Nizhny Novgorod artists who work in public spaces. Gradual disappearance of wooden houses gave an incentive to development of unique art working with the local context; street artists chose a dialogue with citizens over a conflict with environment. The Living Alive exhibition give an opportunity to “see” thoughts of completely different local authors, united by attention to problem areas of Nizhny Novgorod”.
The exposition includes works of Jannis Kounnelis, Stephan Balkenhol, Igor Shelkovsky, Alexey Buldakov, Ilya Dolgov, Vladislav Efimov, Lera Lerner, Andrey Druzhaev, Anton Morokov, Andrey Olenev, Yakov Khorev, Vladimir Chernyshev, the Toy crew and others.