«My biggest dream is to find new artists' names» - Ekaterina Kibovskaya, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art

By Anna Savitskaya - Tuesday, June 21, 2016
«My biggest dream is to find new artists' names» - Ekaterina Kibovskaya, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art

The theme of the upcoming Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, which is taking place from July 1 to August 10, 2016 at Trekhgornaya Manufactory, one of Moscow’s oldest factories and, at the same time, a fledgling exhibition space that hosts large cultural projects, is “Deep Inside.”

«My biggest dream is to find new artists' names» - Ekaterina Kibovskaya, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art

The theme of the upcoming Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, which is taking place from July 1 to August 10, 2016 at Trekhgornaya Manufactory, one of Moscow’s oldest factories and, at the same time, a fledgling exhibition space that hosts large cultural projects, is “Deep Inside.” In the times when the majority of young people falls under influence from social media combining the real and virtual ways of living the organisers and curators of the Biennale for Young Art try to find who is actually hiding behind the avatars and unite the ones who look deep inside into their identities in order to find and place themselves in real life. The Biennale is having it's fifth edition this year and introduces some major changes: the critical one is inviting Nadim Samman, a renowned UK independent curator, art historian and teacher to curate the Biennale. 

Ekaterina Kibovskaya, commissar of the biennale talked to Artdependence about the new format of the event, personal challenges and general view on the young art in Russia.

Artdependence Magazine: Ekaterina, thank you for your consent for an interview. What is going to be your role as commissar of the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art? How did it happen that you have got appointed to this position?

Ekaterina Kibovskaya: Thank you for letting me introduce you to the Moscow international biennale for young art. I am the commissioner of the biennale for the first time and in short my role is to coordinate the working process with all the participants. The founders of the biennale are NCCA (National Center for Contemporary Arts) and MMOMA (Moscow Museum of Modern Art) - they have invited me to be the commissioner. I am also a member of expert committee of 10 people. The committee has picked the curator for the main project during the invited-only competition - the name of the curator is Nadim Samman. So now I am working with NCCA, MMOMA and Nadim Samman who is based in Berlin. It is really a big-scale project that needs my full attention.

Nadim Samman, the curator of the Main Project and Ekaterina Kibovskaya, the commissioner 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. Courtesy of the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

AD: What are your personal goals and what would you like to achieve with the Biennale for Young Art?

EK: My biggest dream is to find new artists' names. Recently I've watched the HBO TV series "Vinyl" about the brilliant producer who has an amazing ear, he has discovered many rock-n-roll talents. That would be cool to discover a few names just like this guy does on the show.

AD: The Biennale for Young Art will be held for the fifth time in the summer of 2016 with at least one significant change - new generation of curators is given a change to present their projects. What are the main criteria for selecting the participants (artists and curators).

EK: The main criteria are bold vision and serious attitude. There are many young talented curators with lack of responsibility or great managers without an interesting approach - we were looking for visionaries with some professional skills. I like to trust people with whom I work.

Juan Covelli. Cornered. 2015. Sketch, digital print. Courtesy of the artist and the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

Vlad Lunin. Taken Jan 1 2015. From the “Dark Image Mining” series. 2015. C-print. Courtesy of the artist and the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

Addie Wagenknecht, XXXX.XXX, from the “Data and Dragons” series. 2014. Five panels of custom printed circuit boards, ethernet patch, cables, 80/20 aluminum, custom software. Courtesy of the Bitforms Gallery, New York City and the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

AD: This year's theme of the Biennale "Deep inside" suggested by its curator Nadim Samman, invites the audience to turn from the virtual reality to their inner world. Could you please comment on the choice of the theme.

EK: It is a very relevant theme. I love it. As a generation hooked to the social media we constantly face the question: what is my identity, who is "deep inside" me? That's my approach to the concept, probably because I am Russian and as all Russians I was raised on the literature focused on this kind of questions - think of Tolstoy of Dostoevsky. It is important to say that curator Nadim Samman has an interesting not-that-physological approach - he works rather as an alchemist. He recently wrote to me an email saying "As our sciences further plumb the passages of matter and energy through animal, vegetable, mineral, planet and cosmos as a whole, what was once indivisible becomes fragmented, what was once untouchable is grasped, and was once unseen or unthinkable put on naked display. <...> Ours is an abyssal culture. If Modernism sought to strike bedrock– the zero-point of painting; the basic structures of human psychology; historical laws and economic science – today we hold no such illusions. We are climbing, or falling, ever deeper into a kind of black hole. As we do, it is perhaps to be expected that our artists should be fascinated by opacities, by occultations, encryptions and conspiracies – the other side of the event horizon. Also, that they should rhapsodize about instability and polydimensionality. When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you".

Trehgornaya Manufactory, building #5. Courtesy of the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

AD: How can you characterise the situation with contemporary art in general and young contemporary art in particular in Russia now?

EK: I would describe the situation that it is quite young itself. The art world in Moscow is like a teenager - it has to be taken care of and at the same time it could be quite rebellious. Here things are not concrete and not that corporate-driven comparing to European or American art worlds. It could be a good thing, if you think of many opportunities it brings to the field.

AD: What was your biggest challenge up till now with the preparation of the Biennale?

EK: The biggest challenge is up to today is to deliver the project in the times of volatile economy and geopolitics. If the politicians can't diplomatically solve some issues, we as the art enthusiasts have to try to do so.

AD: Are you expecting some already well-known young participants in the 5th Moscow International Biennale?

EK: I don't want to give you the certain names but the show is going to be a-ma-zing. We will have a few well-known participants for sure but the main focus is to bring the new names to the audience.

Hicham Berrada (1986, Morocco). Hicham Berrada, Les Fleurs. Still from video. Courtesy of Kamel Mennour gallery. Hyperconnected, MMOMA, Strategic Projects

Emanuel Almborg, Talking Hands, 2016. Still from the video, 49' Courtesy of the artist. Time of Reasonable Doubts, NCCA, Strategic Projects

AD: And a bit philosophical question: why age is a defining factor in participating in your biennale and why is it for those younger than 35 and not 30 or 27? Can age in this case be regarded as a discriminating factor?

EK: It's quite international practice to define the age border at 35 years old. It was simply common sense to differentiate this biennale from the others. We have got 2044 applications during the open call at the
website www.youngart.ru from artists from all around the world - up to 35. What makes biennale for young art - young? New names, new energies, new ideas. We believe that our goal is to help to start up the careers of the artists not just support the existing art world.

Portrait on top: Ekaterina Kibovskaya, commissioner of the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art. Courtesy of the 5th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art press office

More information about Moscow International Biennale for Young Art is here.

Anna is a graduate of Moscow’s Photo Academy, with a previous background in intellectual property rights. In 2012 she founded the company Perspectiva Art, dealing in art consultancy, curatorship, and the coordination of exhibitions. During the bilateral year between Russia and The Netherlands in 2013, Perspectiva Art organized a tour for a Dutch artist across Russia, as well as putting together several exhibitions in the Netherlands, curated by Anna. Since October 2014, Anna has taken an active role the development and management of ArtDependence Magazine. Anna interviews curators and artists, in addition to reviewing books and events, and collaborating with museums and art fairs.

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Luc Tuymans, Flemish Village 1995.  Collection MuHKA, Antwerp

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