Artists Announced for Russian Pavilion at Venice Biennale

The exhibition aims to provide a wide picture of contemporary art in Russia.

CONVERSION by the Recycle Group was exhibited alongside the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Courtesy the Recycle Group
CONVERSION by the Recycle Group was exhibited alongside the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Courtesy the Recycle Group

Grisha Bruskin, Sasha Pirogova, and the Recycle Group’s Georgy Kuznetsov and Andrei Blokhin will represent Russia at the 57th Venice Biennale, which opens in May.

The exhibition will be curated by Semyon Mikhailovsky, who has worked with the Russian government in the past. The artistic director of the Biennale, Christine Macel, had announced the overarching theme will be “Viva Arte Viva,” a theme which the Russian curator initially struggled with.

“It took us a long time to embrace this theme,” Mikhailovsky told TASS news agency. “Given the time in which we all live, we cannot avoid reacting to its challenges. Therefore, the Biennale exhibition will be marked by a certain amount of drama.”

According to TASS, Mikhailovsky’s original idea was to focus solely on Pirogova and the Recycle Group, but he later decided to include Bruskin, who has been making work since the 1960s, to create a better picture of the contemporary art scene in Russia.

Bruskin’s work, which will now be at the center of the exhibition, explores Russia’s past comprising his Russian heritage and Jewish faith, while the Recycle Group explores the present via visions of what future societies might look like littered with today’s waste. Sasha Pirogova, on the other hand, works with performance, play, theater, and photography.

Further details on the Russian Pavilion—which was built by Alexei Shchusev in 1914—will be given at a press conference on January 27.


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