SILENT VOICES: Exhibition study project


20.09 - 17.11.2017

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Program: [Contemporary art and contemporary society]

Northwest branch of the State Center of Modern Art as part of the State Museum and Exhibition Center  ROSIZO 

with the support of the Ministry of Cultureof the Russian Federation

State History Museum of St. Petersburg

with the support of CYLAND media laboratory PRO ARTE foundation



Exhibition study project


20 September - 17 November 2017

Peter and Paul Fortress, “Nevskaya Kurtina”

exhibition hall (right side)

State History Museum of St. Petersburg

Curator: Lyudmila Belova


14 September 2017

Public discussion

“Visualization of memory”

Curator: Lyudmila Belova


The study project “Silent voices” aims to discover new visual images in the discussion of the siege of Leningrad, new ways to talk about a controversial and complex topic, by using modern technology and revealing little-known sources.


“The ideological control of the Soviet period created certain clichés in covering the Siege of Leningrad, including the way it was depicted visually. Memory that was constructed intentionally was based on selection and exclusion: correct memories were carefully separated from incorrect ones, and significant memories from secondary ones. All inconvenient, “unimportant” accounts were swept away; emphasis would be laid on heroism and military victories.

When perestroika began, a great deal of new materials was gathered: archives were opened, audio and video interviews recorded, diaries, memoirs and photobooks published, including “The Unknown Blockade” project by Vladimir Nikitin. Nikita Lomagin in his book with the same title provides access to previously classified archival documents. Sergei Loznitsa offers a new approach to the topic in his film “The Blockade”; Polina Barskova has long been working on it in literature. We may also mention novels: “Leningrad” by Igor Vishnevsky, “To Sleep and Believe” by Andrei Turgenev (Vyacheslav Kuritsyn) and other works.

In contemporary art, however, the Siege of Leningrad has not yet received its deserved coverage, although individual artists and institutions have tackled this topic, such as the Krasnoyarsk Museum Center with its major 2010 “AfterDisaster” exhibition about WWII. In 2015 the Goethe-Institut launched the two-year project “900 and 26,000 More Days”. An exhibition with the same title was opened in Hamburg in 2015 and in St. Petersburg in 2017.

The “Quiet Voices” exhibition in the Nevskaya Kurtina of the Peter and Paul Fortress explores the ways of transforming memory into new visual images. Diaries kept during the Siege served as the main sources of information and basis for the art works presented at the exhibition, since they provide the most reliable accounts of the city’s everyday life. “Earth”, an object by Alexander Androsov and Vadim Zaitsev, displayed in the square facing the Naryshkin Bastion looks like a memorial. This was exactly the idea behind it: as part of the “900 and 26,000 More Days” project the artists planned to design a monument dedicated to the Siege to be later installed in Hamburg. But it is rather a counter-monument, with the distinguishing features of impermanence, and an immediate effect on the audience: here and now. Public art objects such as this one are normally placed in the public urban environment, not in an area special memorial area.”


Lyudmila Belova




Silent Voices Exhibition Participants  and Their Projects:

Alexander Androsov, Vadim Zaitsev: Earth, object

Lyudmila Belova: The Room, installation

Pyotr Bely: Geometry of Memory, installation

Vita Buivid: Material Evidence, installation

Yelena Gubanova, Ivan Govorkov: Line, audio installation

Olesya Gonserovskaya: Soup, installation

Anastasia Kizilova: Hunger Quisine, installation

Vyacheslav Kuritsyn: Comfortable Reading, interactive audio installation

Vadim Leukhin: Black Light, installation

Alexander Terebenin: Without Camouflage, installation

Natalya Tikhonova: Million, Verbatim, video

Anna Frants: Blind Spot, video installation

Max Sher: Ban on Images, installation

2a, Glinki st, St Petersburg.  © National centre for contemporary arts. Developement [artinfo]. [Andrey Velikanov]'s design