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Russian Pavilion to Present Victory over the Future at 53rd International Venice Biennale

VENICE.- The Russian Pavilion will present the exhibition Victory Over the Future in the 53rd International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. Located in the Giardini Pubblici, the Russian Pavilion will be open to the public from June 7 to November 22, 2009. The Pavilion will present new work by artists exploring the tension between Russian avant-garde traditions and their personal narratives. The seven featured artists are: Alexey Kallima, Irina Korina, Andrei Molodkin, Gosha Ostretsov, Pavel Pepperstein, Sergei Shekhovtsov, and Anatoly Shuravlev.

The Russian Pavilion is overseen by commissioner Vasily Tsereteli, curator Olga Sviblova, and assistant curator Ekaterina Kondrina. The exhibition was designed by Katya Bochavar.

“Created in 1913, the acclaimed Futurist opera, Victory over the Sun—written by Alexei Kruchonykh and scored by Mikhail Matyushin, with costumes and sets designed by Kazimir Malevich—foreshadowed the imminent catastrophes of the early 20th century. At the onset of the 21st century, the world is once again in crisis. Only this time, we are paralyzed more by fear of the future than by economic recession,” said Pavilion curator Olga Sviblova. “Victory Over the Future will examine victory as one of the primary catalysts of individual and societal behavior and as a phenomenon that has endless philosophical, cultural, social, ethical, and artistic interpretations.”

Alexey Kallima
Rain Theorem, 2009

Rain Theorem, a series of murals, depicts boisterous football (soccer) fans at a match. A soundtrack of cheers and applause, as one fan starts a commotion and thousands of others join in, accompanies the installation. In one scene, they scream with the joy of victory and, in the next, they react with fury in defeat. The murals are covered with fluorescent paint, visible only in ultraviolet light. When visitors approach the paintings, a sensor de-activates the ultraviolet lamps, plunging the viewer into a white wasteland—an emptiness that is the inevitable consequence of a triumphant euphoria. In Rain Theorem, Alexey Kallima explores chaos theory and the impossible nature of prediction, whether it is the outcome of a sporting event or the course of history.

Alexey Kallima’s work has been included in the Moscow Biennale, Moscopolis at Espace Louis Vitton in Paris, and Russia at Whitebox in New York, as well as other international exhibitions. In 2005, he won Russia's first state-sponsored prize for visual art. He lives and works in Moscow where he is the owner of the Frances Gallery.

Irina Korina
Fountain, 2009

Understanding that there can be no artistic present without memory and—its inverse—premonition, Irina Korina’s work explores uncertainty and liminal states of being. The sculpture is built out of old plastic tablecloths that juxtapose sinuous and rigid shapes. Held erect like a plant through hydrostatic pressure, Fountain challenges the perception of fluidity.

Irina Korina has become known for her conceptual installations made from discarded plastics. In 2008 at the second annual Innovation, she won the “New Generation” award, a statesponsored prize in contemporary art. She has displayed her work at the XL Gallery in Moscow, the MUHKA Museum in Antwerp, and at the Moscow Biennale. She lives and works in Moscow.

Andrei Molodkin
Le Rouge et le Noir, 2009

Andrei Molodkin’s multimedia installation, Le Rouge et le Noir, presents two hollow, glass reproductions of the Nike of Samothrace. One is filled with pulsing oil, the other with pulsing “blood.” Each sculpture is filmed by a camera whose video streams are merged and projected onto a screen so that the black and red fluids simultaneously pulsate inside The Winged Victory of Samothrace, reflecting the ambivalence of victory. Andrei Molodkin is best known for his ongoing series of work which uses crude oil to examine its role in contemporary society. His recent exhibitions include Sweet Crude American Dream at the Daneyal Mahmood Gallery in New York, Russian Dreams at the Bass Museum of Art in Miami, and Adventure of the Black Square at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. He lives and works in Moscow, Paris, and New York.

Gosha Ostretsov
Art Life or The Torments of Creation, 2009

Gosha Ostretsov presents an installation composed of a series of abandoned rooms. In the last room, a mechanical man sits at a desk sketching studies for a future project. Through the production of an oeuvre that outlives its creator, artistic activity by its very nature represents a victory over the future.

Gosha Ostretsov is a Moscow-based artist best known for subverting the visual language of comic book art. He has displayed his work at the Marble Palace in St. Petersburg, the Marat Guelman Gallery in Moscow, and the Marres Art-Center in Maastricht, Netherlands. He lives and works in Moscow.

Pavel Pepperstein
Landscapes of the Future, 2009

Pavel Pepperstein is a conceptual artist best known for his absurdist scenes of the future. Landscapes of the Future is a series of paintings in which Suprematist motifs push through the nebulous borders of future megalopolises. The utopian energy of the Russian avant-garde finds fertile ground in the detritus of modern civilization, resulting in a new turn in the spiral of history. The work will also include Pepperstein’s own rap chant spliced with Igor Stravinsky's “The Rite of Spring,” underscoring Pepperstein’s critique of the West’s impact on Russian art.

Pavel Pepperstein, one of the featured artists in the Venice Biennale’s main exhibition Making Worlds, co-founded the conceptual art group Inspection Medical Hermeneutics. His work has been shown at the first Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, the Martin-Gropius Bau in Berlin, and the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in Germany. He lives and works in Russia and Germany.

Sergei Shekhovtsov

The installation CARTOUCHE will tackle the meaning and symbolism of architectural ornamentation. Using the Russian Pavilion—designed by the renowned Russian architect Alexey Shchusev in 1914—as his platform, Sergei Shekhovtsov will create an updated façade. Rejecting marble, he will use foam rubber, a quintessentially modern material, to create a coat of arms out of today’s cultural touchstones—ATM machines, security cameras, and air conditioners.

Sergei Shekhovtsov creates elaborate sculptures and installations from carvable polyurethane. In 2008, Shekhovstov represented Russia at the Sao Paulo Biennale in Brazil. He has also exhibited his work at the Moscow Biennale, the XL Gallery in Moscow, and the Nina Lumer Gallery in Milan. He lives and works in Moscow.

Anatoly Shuravlev
Black Holes, 2009

Black Holes is an installation that explores the complexities of historical memory. A constellation of black paint splatters cover the gallery walls from floor to ceiling. In the center of each is a miniature photograph of a 20th-century figure—among them Gandhi, Einstein, Churchill, and Picasso—whose work has altered the world. By playing with scale, structure and texture, Zhuravlyov creates a striking installation that questions how the future is revealed through the past.

Anatoly Shuravlev’s recent exhibitions include: China Connection at the Galerie Urs Meile Beijing-Lucerne in Beijing, Excuse me, are you famous? at the Galerie Invaliden 1 in Berlin, and SMALL at the Marat Guelman Gallery in Moscow. He lives and works in Berlin and Moscow.

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