BURLAKS: BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA
20.07 - 20.09.2014
Curators: [Nelya Korzhova ], Roman Korzhov
"BURLAKS: BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA"
Artists: Dmitry Bulnygin (Russia), Konstantin Adger (Russia), Marina Fomenko (Russia), Vladimir Potapov (Russia), Dmitry Kadyntsev (Russia), Daria Emelyanova (Russia), Elena Vorobyova (Kazakhstan), Viktor Vorobyov (Kazakhstan) Gustav Helberg (Sweden), Swetlana Heger (Austria),Dennis Delwér (Sweden), Loes Degener (Netherlands), Douwe Mulder (Netherlands), Jonas Westlund(Sweden), Sergey Katran (Russia)
International project "Burlaks: between Europe and Asia" dedicated to the 170th anniversary of the birth of the great Russian painter I. E. Repin. Project is realized in the format of the creative laboratory in the village Shiryaevo and by final exhibition at the summer on the territory of Factory Kitchen, a unique monument of constructivism, built in 1932 by architect E. N. Maximova.
20.07 – 25.08.14
1.08 (from 18:00)
Swetlana Heger /Sweden/ - installation "Hotel "UTOPIA""
Current interest of contemporary artists to Repin’s creativity due to its passion to the topic of social inequality. Painting "Burlaks", which became an apotheosis of prognostic of the class struggle, deserves special attention, as a phenomenal piece of art, which got a recognitionof the warring parties.So, painting was actively used for propaganda purposes by Soviet power,despite the fact that the Grand Prince Vladimir Alexandrovich bought it in 1873 at the World Exhibition in Vienna and put it in the billiard room of the Vladimir Palace.Such unity could be interpreted as a prognostic of moral and philosophical differences of the parties which will become stages of unified system of market relations over time.
5.09 – 20.09
On 5 September 2014 at 18:00 the opening of international project “Burlaks: between Europe and Asia” will take place at the Factory Kitchen in Samara. This event starts work of a new summer pavilion of the Factory Kitchen. The exhibition presents a wide range of genres – from video, performances and installations to photos, painting and graphic arts. Unifying basis of the exhibition is river sand, covering the floor of the pavilion as a symbol of common ground for a dialogue between artists of the East and the West. This immersing into the context of the Volga riversides will help each spectator to get personal tactile experience of burlaks.
Shiryaevo is a rare example of almost quarter-centenary history, its own way, when a small settlement did not grow to the size of a city and did not dissapear but kept its own dimensions. Shiryaevo is considered to be Mekka for artists on the Volga; its natives – descendants of Repin's burlaks – are still a basis for artworks. Upon that there is a problem of inclusion of Shiryaevo citizens into a constantly extending cultural context. Though people admit profit from the “art quarter”, seeing that “culture tourism” to the Repin museum brings a return, but realize that those events can not, in their opinion, compete with the coming closeup of the lime plant, deceased timber industry enterprise and once prosperous kolkhoz farm and with the fact that main part of efficient population is out of work. They look with a grin at the souvenir-chorus trend of today's cultural and educational activities and the lifestyle of new russian landlords buying the houses in the region.
So this particular local identity of Shiryaevo residents became the main subject of video artwork “Heaviness” by Konstantin Adjer. The artwork was made summarizing the results of a conversation with Shiryaevo local residents which covered a variety of topics including burlaks, Repin and his most celebrated painting, attitude to contemporary art.
The issue of Shiryaevo residents interpreting some artwork either as a genuine culture or just ungrounded embellishment is continued in the project “Belyana” by Marina Fomenko. The artwork consists of the main object placed on a mirror-like pedestal and a video. “Belyana” is a name of a special kind of wooden ships which were used for wood-floating down the Volga in the 19th – beginning of the 20th century. Belyana-ships were gigantic and fabulous-looking. Upon their arrival to the point of destination Belyana-ships were totally deconstructed with all their wooden parts sold out. By moving her installation to the Volga riverside Marina Fomenko creates a connection between metropolitan life of Repin and the place where he was inspired for making “Burlaks on the Volga”. So in a way moving “Belyana”-installation to Samara for the artist is like being a burlak dragging belyana-ship to the destination point. “It's astonishing that enormous belyana-ships almost disappeared from memory of the Volga River residents,” notices the author.
Sergey Katran in his installation “Caught water” is casting metaphorical fishing net. He fishes out some unreal substance of imagination from depths of the river, collects tiny samples of the Volga water as living artefacts in the hope of “water remembers the days when I.E.Repin stayed on the Volga making sketches for his future masterpiece. Burlaks, barges and many other things are remembered by water as well”.
Vladimir Potapov presented his work called “Under pressure” in which the original image of Repin's burlaks is transformed when pressed by glasswork.
The most radical approach to the subject of authenticity could be found in Dmitry Bulnygin's project “Tag”. He explores the possibility of expropriation of space using signature and its context. As some unknown street artist he appears in Samara employing a tag which is a replica of Repin's signature but with reference to the present year (2014). So Repin's tags appear throughout the city and Schiryaevo village. Thus the subjects of street artists' activity relevance and power of classic's reputation are collided with each other in the project. It is the way of testing the thesis that “only the name is paid for these days”. On his website Dmitry places the following note: “Using the signature of Ilya is an excuse for my vandalism”. This kind of the artist's lyrical irony reveals a conflict between reality and semblance, presenting Repin's signature as an equivalent of timeless value. Photo documentation of the project is presented on the exhibition.
What is should be mentioned in the context of the whole project is an age of Ilyua Repin in the period of making “Burlaks”. The thing is that the artist's academic image became so profound through the years and almost nobody realizes he was only 26 making his pre-graduation practical training in Shiryaevo. Probably, being so young explains the artist's idealistic concept of the peasant class those days – it is known that later he revised his views on the subject.
Young artists also take part in “Burlaks: between Europe and Asia”. Some of them are of the same age that Repin was while making his “Burlaks”.
Swetlana Heger, the professor of Umea Academy of Fine Arts (Sweden), engaged four of her students (Loes Degener, Douwe Mulder, Dennis Delwer and Jonas Westlund) to take part in the project.
Loes Degener and Douwe Mulder from Holland presented a performance titled “Utopian kitchen”. The interactive performance included dance elements, singing, quotes from the work of revolutionist Kropotkin and leaflets containing statemants like “solidarity is central to mutual aid and remains strong, even when government control, power, and bureaucracy seem destined to pit one against the other with the hope that it can suppress initiative”. The performance took place in the courtyard of Factory Kitchen and was filmed with a help of flying drone. Using a drone created an effect as if audience was in a way covered from up above with gigantic glass-shade. Unique footage, combining different layers of time from contemporary art back to constructivism, is presented by the artists at the summer pavilion exhibition. The renowned “a hammer and a sickle” could be seen right on the spot as well.
Swedish artist Dennis Delwer produced two artworks addressed to individualities. Installation titled “What is to be said” offers to spectators an opportunity to look at the world around through window blinds. Interactive event called “My Own Private Shiryaevo” (as a paraphrase of “My Own Private Idaho” by Gus Van Sant) implies an audience to write down letters to the artist on offered post cards. The post cards will be sent back to the addressers in three years. This idea of launching “a boomerang” through years was fulfilled for the very first time in Shiryauevo on 5 August 2014 – the day of 170th anniversary of Ilya Repin's birth. The same day other artists also saluted Shiryaevo visitors by making a variety of performances at the landing place on the Volga bank.
This kind of dialogue with the audience was continued by Jonas Westlund who offered to bystanders to make a selfie against Repin's landscape. At the exhibition Jonas presented animated sequence of shots titled “All them portraits”. As an accompaniment for his work Jonas ironically uses a sound-track of internet commercial for Arab race horses with Google-translator voice-app. The artist makes his ironical comparison between selfie as a popular modern way of promoting one's images and conventional means of photo, painting or graphic arts.
Swetlana Heger's installation titled “Hotel “Utopia”” sends the audience to the different contexts of realization of an artist's life – both utopian and real. It reveals multiple Utopias of the matter: a Utopia of the Factory Kitchen (which is a prominent architectural monument of Russian constructivism) with its main idea of total public catering; a Utopia of Center for Contemporary Art trying to provide every local artist with a studio; a Utopia of an artist working plein-air who's searching for his own metaphorical “hotel” and trying to find artistic paradise in “a shelter of Mother Nature”; a Utopia of the whole idea of summer exhibition held in a transient pavilion which arose from postindustrial shambles of just another broken promise of post-Soviet economical Utopia. “Utopia” sign and red carpeting were originally ment to be placed at the main entrance of the Factory Kitchen, but later were removed to the transient pavilion. Further drifting of installation is quite possible as it follows varieties of fortune and art trends.
The footage of “Two tribes” performance by Gustav Hellberg (Sweden) represents artistic research on the nature of confrontation: how it starts, where is the bifurcation point of division into “us” and “them”, what is the reason for people being divided into separate groups. During the performance two choirs were singing nearly the same lines about their home, the right and special privilege to live in their land. Thus the absurdity of the situation became obvious: two identical groups are artificially involved in the incongruous confrontation. It is drama of “heroes wage the war, but choirs are those who perish”.
Elena and Victor Vorobyev (Kazakhstan) presented the project “Kvadratushka” (Tiny Square) combining art of the Itinerants with the Black Square. Five graphic sheets illustrate assumed performance of the authors: “We would like to invite Shiryaevo citizens (descendants of Repin's burlaks) to act as burlaks and to help dragging a giant Black Square to the Ilya Repin museum and leave it there as an artefact representing ornate relations in the history of Russian arts.
Exhibition open hours:
Based on the results of biennale special project the program “Enclosed meaning: comments on borders” will be working from October 2014 till April 2015 /every last Wednesday of the month at 17:30/ in order to get philosophical and critical comments to artists' works presented for Shiryaevo biennale “Burlaks: between Europe and Asia”.
August, 05 2014
August, 11 2014