On October 10, the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art will open the interdisciplinary exhibition project, “Metageography – 3: Orientalism and Dreams of Robinsons.” This will be the third installment of the curatorial project by Kirill Svetlyakov and Nikolay Smirnov, “Metageography: Space – Image – Action,” which was developed especially for the Far East and realized in collaboration with the State Tretyakov Gallery. The exhibition is free of admission and will remain on view until January 13, 2019.

“The theme of metageography that is developed within this exhibition is one of extreme importance for Zarya: we are always telling both our compatriots and foreign visitors where we are located, the characteristics of the city and the region,” explains Zarya CCA curator Alisa Bagdonaite. “Now, in opening this exhibition, we have the opportunity to demonstrate a wide range of methods of talking about space and our location within it. The answer to the question ‘Where are we?’ lies not only in the geographical coordinates, but also in the intersection of a variety of different relationships – not only spatial, but also temporal and the social, which we ourselves determine. In the context of Zarya’s global mission, the organization of a cutting- edge, powerful cultural route, the project “Metageography – 3: Orientalism and Dreams of Robinsons” is a critical step to a deep and comprehensive understanding of this “place” and the beginning of an extensive dialogue, which will be supported by the parallel exhibition, “One Northeast” and the accompanying discussion, “Towards a New Politics of the Geographical Imagination.”

“Metageography: Space – Image – Action” brings together the insight and experiences of geographers, artists and historical figures hailing from different epochs spanning from 1920 until 2000 The main section of the exhibition features depictions of the space of Russia, which here will be supplemented by bits of local color that emerge through the spatial representations, myths and heroes of Primorye. The new interpretation of the exhibition also includes a series of international artists living and working in Hong Kong, Shanghai, London and Paris. Another section of the display is almost entirely dedicated to the local context, fixing on the figure of the Artist-as-Robinson Crusoe.

“The context of Primorye and its artistic scene has shaped the character of this version of the project rather considerably. The focus is now trained on the concepts of orientalism and exoticism,” explains one of the exhibition’s curators, Nikolay Smirnov. “The Primorsky State Picture Gallery and the Prishvin House Museum outside Moscow have contributed a new series of objects, especially for this installation. This in turn makes “Metageography” as it appears in Vladivostok both more site-specific, and more international at the same time.”

From the perspective of metageography, everything around us is perceived as an invention and a construct, and attention is directed to the reading of geographical images. Pictures of space are compared and analyzed through geographic maps, art works, and scientific or interdisciplinary projects. Metageography serves as a “master key,” allowing one to trace the genesis, compare, analyze and understand the structure and existence in contemporary life of spatial depictions, representations and myths of various levels and origins.

As a curatorial endeavor, “Metageography: Space – Image – Action” offers a new perspective on geography. On the one hand, it construes all geographical space as invented and constructed, while on the other, it confirms the importance of images in understanding space and the operations of terms like “region,” “country,” “Europe” and “the East.”

The works presented in this exhibition demonstrate how metageography can be more than an instrument for the analysis and deconstruction of local myths and regional depictions. In today’s

world, the process of globalization gives rise to a new experience and modeling of space, in which the subject must construct him- or herself all over again. In different societies, one can observe the process of regionalization and the demand for a territorial identity. People are now more aware of the fragility of our established borders, in regards to the concepts of “center” and “periphery.”

Within these parameters, art acts as a tool for action, for the production of space and the construction of original metageographies. With this in mind, one of the creators – the architect Dmitry Schukin – developed a special design for the exhibition, which, on the one hand, follows the model of the previous installation, but also imbues it with a fresh interpretation. The layout features special exhibition structures – machines for the display of works. Several of the works, including objects by Kirill Savchenko, will be presented for the first time in the way the artist originally intended.

The exhibition display was created based on the principle of an open landscape, a space with a group of viewing platforms, where art works are not shown so much as they simply coexist in the same place as the viewer. An important element of the exhibition is the accompanying perfomative symposium, “Towards a New Politics of the Geographical Imagination,” which will run from October 7 through 9, spanning the time between the opening of the exhibition “One Northeast” and “Metageography – 3: Orientalism and Dreams of Robinsons”, and incorporating participants and specialists from both projects, as well as specially invited guests. Together, the three events – the two openings and the performance – make up their own international mini-biennale, dedicated to the practice and politics of geographical imagination. The exhibition “One Northeast” will run in the Small Hall of Zarya CCA from October 7, 2018, until December 16, 2018

In the light of the geocultural and geopolitical identity of the region, the symposium will include political-poetical contributions, directed towards reworking the image of “Primorye.” The program focuses on Primorye as a place for potential geographical imaginations, embodied in the works of artists, writers and radical filmmakers, as well as in the movements and spatial practices of “ordinary” people.

*The exhibition “Metageography” will include works from the collection of the State Tretyakov Gallery; works by artists from Great Britain, Hong Kong, Mongolia and Vladivostok; contributions from geographers from Moscow and different cities across Russia; maps from the collection of the State Historical Museum; works from the collection of the Primorsky State Picture Gallery and the Arsenyev Primorsky Museum.

A full roster of the exhibition participants includes: encyclopedist Semyon Remezov; British artists Corinne Silva, Idit Nathan and Lucy Harris; metageographer Dmitry Zamyatin; émigré artist Olga Jürgenson; artists from Shanghai, Li Ran; adventurer Alexander Kazantsev; geography theorist Boris Rodoman; captain Nikolay Shtukkenberg; Austrian-Hong Kong artist collective Zheng Mahler. Primorye’s artists: Viktor Fedorov, Evgeny Pankratyev, grouping Hero4Hero, Kirill Shebeko, Hilarion Palshkov, Music band Tumanny Ston, science-art artist Yevgeny Strelkov; Primorye’s first professional artist, Vasily Sheshunov; Vverkh! Association, pioneering explover Vladimir Arsenyev; Russian-French artists Elizaveta Konovalova and Tatyana Efrussi; Moscow artists Kirill Savchenkov, Mikhail Maksimov, Maksim Smirennomudrensky, Max Sher, Ekaterina Lazareva, Pavel Otdelnov, Dmitry Filippov, Dmitry Venkov, Egor Plotnikov; member of the Artists Union Ilias Zinatulin; Collective Actions group; photographer Mikhail Prishvin; Natalia Goncharova, Elena Berg, Ivan Chuikov, Valery Gerlovin, Vyacheslav Koleichuk, Mikhail Tarkhanov, Irina Dubrovskaya, Nikolai Kozlov, and others (Tretyakov Gallery collection).


On December 22, the Small Hall of Zarya CCA will host the opening of “Stratum: Sanctuary,” an exhibition by the collective Hero4Hero. This exploratory initiative will offer an integral perspective on the cultural landscape of the Primorsky Krai. The exhibition, which will rely on works of augmented reality, will be open until February 24.

The collective uses the exhibition to explore the Primorye region as both a living thing, imbued with local meanings, and, at the same time, also an objective, tangible environment for human life.

Taking the emigration of people from the Far East of Russia as the point of departure for their research, the artists see the reason for the decrease in net migration in the population’s missing, unformed connection to the region. As one of the solutions to this problem, Hero4Hero proposes that the audience leaves their residency cards behind and restores life to the territory, discovering it as a place of strength. They should likewise leave behind the roles of colonizer and take on the mantle of the aboriginal, of those who do not conquer (that is, develop) the earth, but live (grow) on it, those who truly feel their roots in their place of residence, and not just the fleetingness of a forced stay here.

Engaging various semantic fields, such as the historical, ethnographical, archaeological and mythological, among others, the artists enter a dialogue with the territory itself. Using the tools of contemporary art, they translate the experience of space, throwing their own ethnic identity into question.

The artists parlay the space of the exhibition display into a sacred place, a laboratory of time, where symbols of the past, present and future mix with their own experience of the landscape in question. The audience is invited to interact with images of the region, restoring the balance between the territory and the perception of its space.

“Stratum: Sanctuary” is a continuation of research into the mythological reality of the Primorsky Krai that the collective first embarked on with their project SHAMAN SELFIE, which was shown at the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art in “One Northeast,” an international exhibition dedicated to the transcultural position of Vladivostok in Northeast Asia.

This project was realized with support from the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, within the Far East department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Bikin National Park.

For Reference: With the project, “Stratum: Sanctuary,” the collective Hero4Hero offers an integral perspective on the cultural landscape of the Primorsky Krai. Taking the emigration of people from the Far East of Russia as the point of departure for their research, the artists see the reason for the decrease in net migration in the population’s missing, unformed connection to the region.

Hero4Hero proposes that the audience leaves their residency cards behind and restores life to the territory, discovering it as a place of strength. They should likewise leave behind the roles of colonizer and take on the mantle of the aboriginal, of those who do not conquer (that is, develop) the earth, but live (grow) on it, those who truly feel their roots in their place of residence, and not just the fleetingness of a forced stay here. The artists approach the geographical space of the territory not so much in its geographical interpretation, as through the emotional sphere as a “landscape of the soul” of man, a multidimensional space that can only be truly grasped by the heart and mind.

The artists parlay the space of the exhibition display into a sacred place, a laboratory of time, where symbols of the past, present and future mix with their own experience of the landscape in question. The audience is invited to interact with images of the region, restoring the balance between the territory and the perception of its space.

The project includes an element of augmented reality, which Hero4Hero uses to act as mediators between the territory and the people, stepping in as guides to the memory of the place, as a means of drawing attention to its cultural layers.

This project was realized with support from the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East, within the Far East department of the “Stratum: Sanctuary” is a continuation of research into the geophilosophy of Pacific

Russia (Primorye), that the collective first embarked on with their project SHAMAN SELFIE, which was shown at the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art in “One Northeast,” an international exhibition dedicated to the transcultural position of Vladivostok in Northeast Asia, which ran from October 7 until December 16, 2018.Russian Academy of Sciences, and Bikin National Park.

DEC 21, 2018 – JAN 14, 2019

On December 21, at 7pm, the Zarya Air Workshop will celebrate the opening of “Invisible Shore,” an exhibition of photographs by Ma Haijiao (PRC), taken while the artist was in residence in Vladivostok. The exhibition will be on view until January 14, but to visit after the opening, you will need to first check in at the reception desk.

As the first Chinese artist to participate in the residency, Ma Haijiao reflects on the relationship between China and Russia, as it touches on both the history and present of Vladivostok. The two photographic series are based on the artist’s own impressions as he visited the city for the first time, serving as a kind of poetic interpretation of his experience.

As is well-known, a Chinese diaspora has lived in Vladivostok since the moment of its founding. From the end of the 19th century through the beginning of the 20th century, this diaspora was quite substantial, wielding considerable influence on the development of the economy and the urban lifestyle in general. After the 1930s, any connections between the city and China would be severed for decades, so that it was only in the 1990s that the markets started to fill up with Chinese recently that Vladivostok became a destination for Chinese tourists.

The history of this relationship, so specific to Vladovostok, served as the starting point for Ma Haijiao’s work. The series “Invisible Shore” mobilizes the fragments of Chinese text integrated into the city’s streets. During his first few excursions around Vladivostok, the artist was impressed by the abundance of Chinese phrases embedded within daily life as a familiar part of the visual appearance of the city. To come across one’s native tongue in such a big country was an unusual experience for the artist, who had yet to encounter this phenomenon in his travels.

At the same time, the Chinese text that one can find in Vladivostok has a very distinct character; among the examples are such phrases as the traditional "Wishing You Safety Wherever You Go" (a typical New Years’ greeting in China) or “Let It Go” (one of the basic principles of Buddhism) on a pendant in the interior of a taxi, or “Unlimited Meat” and "The Landscape Here is Beyond Compare" on a restaurant sign. The artist collected these assorted fragments of text and transferred them onto pieces of wood, which he released into the waters around the border areas.

Some of the photographs were taken on Lake Khanka, which runs along the border between China and the Russia Foundation. Others were taken in the waterways of the Bay of Peter the Great and the waters around Russky Island and Amur Bay. The artist sees water as the element connecting the two countries, since its constant fluidity allows it to endlessly flow back and forth from one shore to the other. The title of this series refers to the fact that somewhere beyond the horizon, on the opposite edge of the vast expanse of water lies another land, unknown to us, which is too far away for us to see.

The second series, “In a Quiet Place,” refers to the role of the Chinese diaspora within the history of the city. The artist imprints standard advertising banners with the phrase, "The worst thing that the people have done for us is that they all left here at once." This sentence is an homage to a quote from a book by Dmitry Ancha and Nelly Miz, titled The Chinese Diaspora in Vladivostok: The Pages of History, which describes the life of the Chinese population at the turn of the 20 th century: The worst thing that the Chinese have done for us is that they all left Vladivostok at once." It is well-known that the Chinese work force was indispensible to the city and representatives from various nationalities lived in close partnership with one another. However, the artist is putting his emphasis not so much on the significance of the Chinese diaspora, as on the universality of the statement that any nationality that abandons its home leaves palpable wounds behind. And one of the examples of this trauma could be the Far East in the 1930s, when, following the shift in the USSR’s policies regarding foreign residents, the large majority of the Chinese population was deported from the region.

This exhibitions of photographs by Ma Haijiao concludes the 2018 season of the residency program, which hosted 20 individual artists and collectives from 10 countries around the world.

*Ma Haijiao (born 1990) is a photographer and video artist who lives and works in Beijing. He studied at the China Academy of Art, where he received both a BA and later an MFA. His art practice takes up an enduring concern with life’s daily routines, and taking this as his starting point, he traces its logic to shape video narratives and other works. Among his recent exhibitions are “July in Berlin” (Migrant Bird Space, Berlin, 2018); “Happy Valley” (Tabula Rasa Gallery, Beijing, 2018); “Today's Yesterday,” the 1st Anren Biennale (Anren, Chengdu, 2017); “Message to the Future” (Canvas Contemporary Gallery, Amsterdam, 2017); “The New Normal” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2017); “Semantic Satiation” (Tabula Rasa Gallery, Beijing, 2017); “Why Not Ask Again,” the 11 th Shanghai Biennale (Power Station of Art, Shanghai, 2016); and “Fly Without Wings” (V ART Center, Shanghai, 2015). Ma Haijiao was a finalist for the 10th Three Shadows Photography Award and a nominee for the A021xPORSCHE Young Chinese Artist of the Year in 2017 His work, Mr. Quan, can be found in the collection of/the Power Station of Art in Shanghai.

For more information about the artist, please refer to his website: www.mahaijiao.cn


Lyokha G. is a Vladivostok-based musician and artist working with found objects, assemblages, lo-fi computer graphics and drawing from life, capturing the idiocy of everyday life. Incidentally, the word “artist” doesn’t quite apply to him. He prefers to call himself either a podelochnik (“craftsman”) or a poddelochnik (a counterfeiter), a play on words that effectively removes him from any possible integration into the dominant system of contemporary art.

Indeed, “crafts” or “fakes” make up one of his most significant series, which consists of assemblages of discarded toys, each accompanied by a caption and brought together into small compositions, suggesting absurd narratives. Lyokha G. also actively works with the “Caesar and Tripod Studio”, regularly publishing updates on his community page in VKontakte. Among the studio’s works one can find simplified and deliberately “bad” graphic design, mocking the markers and clichés pumped through advertising, the widespread adherence to Anglicism, and more generally the excessive pathos surrounding goods, services and “creative labor.”

In his project for the residency, the artist develops on the foundation for this earlier series, only on a much larger scale. The assemblages become full-scale installations, some even interactive, while some unrealized ideas from earlier finally see their material embodiment. “Little Tricks in the Little City” gathers a selection of inventions aimed at improving the life of city-dwellers. For instance, it’s a well-known fact that Vladivostok has a problem with parking in the courtyards of residential houses, and Lyokha G. offers an alternative method of vertical parking. Among other “tricks” include an “all-access” ring capable of opening any door, signs for conversations between motorists, mobile fences for pedestrian crossings and many other paradoxical objects.

It should be noted that the resolutions proposed by the artist are not intended to be put into practice. After all, utility is not the artist’s end goal. Rather, Lyokha G.’s little “tricks” are mischievous responses to the general hopeless unsettledness that accompanies us every day with every step we take. In order to not let this routine get you down, you need to be able to laugh at it, diminishing its power.

The exhibition also includes interventions by visitors to Lyokha G.’s studios, a set of pod(d)elki created over the past month. The artist demonstrates just how accessible contemporary art is to everyone by showing anyone interested how he creates his assemblages. It’s possible that the teachings of Lyokha G.’s may even go “to the people,” but the question as to where it will lead the artist himself remains open.

*For Reference: Lyokha G. (Aleksey Krutkin, born 1983) is a Vladivostok-based artist and musician, who heads up the “Caesar and Tripod Studio” and the “Weirdo Fashion” initiative. He is also known as poet and songwriter “Lyonya Chelushkinsky,” a guitarist and founding member of the band, BIO VIA ai JI, a pioneer in the philosophical movement “bio-idiotism” and the chief artist behind the posters for the Vladivostok club, Contrabanda. In 2017, he was featured in a solo show at Vladivostok’s Arka Gallery. Additionally, he has participated in group exhibitions including “Tragedy in the Corner” (The Museum of Moscow, 2018), “Next to the Gods” (ARTIS Gallery, Moscow, 2017) and “Rebels at the Edge” (MMOMA, 2017, Erarta Museum, 2016, ZARYA CCA, 2015).

To learn more about the artist’s projects, please visit his website: https://biovia.jimdo.com


On October 27, from 12:00 pm until 5:00 pm at the Zarya AiR studio (Zarya Factory, Central Repair Workshop, Entrance 5) there will be a reception to mark the opening of the exhibition “From Your Morning to My Night”, which surveys the works of residency participant Anastasia Ryabova (Moscow.) Admission is free of charge, but the age is limited to 18+. The exhibition will be on view until November 4, but to visit after the opening, you will need to first contact the reception desk.

Anastasia Ryabova will present a series of works on paper produced during her stay in Vladivostok. Over the past two months, she has methodically created drawings in oil pastel, as a kind of daily ritual informed by the artist’s interest in erotic mysteries. She sees her own working method as closely tied to the legacy of Surrealism, experimenting with its new political reading.

The very act of creating a drawing interests the artist as a process. “Since childhood, I have thought of drawing as a form of resistance to the order of things,” Ryabova remarks. “And when professional obligations come flooding in, it makes for the perfect ally in this innocent rebellion. If everyone’s life was woven from practices like dance or drawing, then people would have never needed to invent the word ‘procrastination.’”

The exhibition’s title was inspired by correspondence between the artist and her colleagues located in a very different time zone, nearly seven hours away from Vladivostok, so that it’s always a challenge to grasp that it’s morning there, but night here. The exhibition will officially open at noon with musical sets from artists and DJs Phaumer (Vladivostok), NOfuture (Kasia Wolinska, Berlin), Golde (Kirill Kryuchkov, Vladivostok), and Workpop (Vladivostok). As Ryabova says, “the event is not really planned, but rather left spontaneous, with all the characteristic features of this type of format. As with any impulse, the equipment will be turned up to the top volume and the world will be turned on its head. No one will understand anymore where there is dancing and where there is drawing.”

Both events are held with the support of Night Movement, which was co-founded by Ryabova.

The exhibition will be on view until November 4, but to visit after the opening, you will need to first contact the reception desk.

* Anastasia Ryabova (born 1985) is an artist, teacher and researcher living and working in Moscow. In addition to her practice, she curates exhibitions, publishing and educational projects and writes critical essays on contemporary art and architecture. In 2011, she was recognized with the Kandinsky Prize for “Media Art: Project of the Year.” She is the founder of the Academy of Whistling Through Tears. Since 2013, she has worked on the project Zvezdniy Prospekt (2013 – ). That same year, she became the initiator and editor of Zadachnik, a publication about the city and political calculus. She is the author and curator of the archive Artists’ Private Collections (2010 – ). She curated the exhibition “False Calculation Presidium” in 2012 and founded the online magazines, megazine.biz (2009) and Night Movement (2015 –). Additionally, in 2013, she has participated in the exhibition action “>10” (2013). She is the co- author of the manual Introduction to the Profession of the 21st Century (2017).


Between One Northeast and Metageography: towards the new politics of geographical imagination

The center of Contemporary art ‘Zarya’ (Vladivostok) in a period between 10.6.2018 and 10.9.2018 hosts two exhibitions and a series of events dedicated to the geographical imagination in art. Two key anchors in the program are openings of two exhibitions: “One Northeast” on 6, Oct and “Metageography” on 9, Oct. To unveil the theoretical bridges between the two exhibitions, a performative symposium with participants of both exhibitions and specially invited speakers will be hosted.

The symposium will work with the analysis, deconstruction of the geographical imagination from the one side, and with the attention to the emancipatory and social role of the new imaginations of space, on the other. How crucial are the images of the space in its governing? Are independent, multi-verse, progressive politics of geographical imagination possible on the field of art? How important and influential are those tools that artists, geographers, curators and critics can use in their own politics of geo-imagination? Case studies and examples of concrete artistic, cultural and curatorial tactics in the policy of geographical imagination.

In light of the geopolitical positioning of Northeast Asia, or “Primorye” the symposium will include political-poetical contributions dedicated to the transgressive movements of the region. Tectonic shifts and rifts at the far end of the Eurasian landmass give rise to a kind of ‘Northeast’ or ‘Primorian’ thinking (the title depends on where we look at the area from, and reflects in its diversity the potential for multiple, including hybrid, geographic imagination) and are tied into changing geopolitical landscape. Embodied as much by radical artists and writers in history, as by the paths and traces of the ‘common’ people, the program refocuses on the Northeast or Primorye as a potent site for geo-imaginations, including new, emancipative and hybrid ones.

Conveners: Nikolay Smirnov & Unmapping Eurasia


6.10.2018 (Sat)

  • 19:00 Opening of the“One Northeast” exhibition (curators Mi You and Binna Choi) Including Minja Gu's ritual and Lucie Tuma’s performance

7.10.2018 (Sun) performative symposium, 1st day

  • 11:00 Symposium Opening
  • 11:15 Anastasia Ryabova. Star Road – 3
  • 13:00 Break
  • 15:00 Nikolay Smirnov. Speculative Geography: Orientalisms in 山水style
  • 16:00 Coffee break
  • 16:30 Lucie Tuma. Somatic Workshop
  • 17:00 Mi You, Binna Choi (Unmapping Eurasia)
  • 18:00 Anton Karmanov, Jeonhwan Cho. Intervention

8.10.2018 (Mon) performative symposium, 2nd day

  • 15:30 Dmitry Zamyatin (geographer, poet, artist, the ideologist of “Metageography”)
  • 16:00 Vladimir Sokolov (historian, author of the research and exhibition about “Chinese Tartary” and geohistorical images of current Primorye, Vladivostok)
  • 17:00 Coffee break
  • 17:30 Vladimir Bulatov (geographer, head of cartography department of State Historical Museum, Moscow)

9.10.2018 (Tue)

  • 15:30 Kirill Svetlyakov (curator, chief specialist in contemporary art of State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow)
  • 16:30 Cosmin Costinas (Para Site, Hong Kong). A Journal of the Plague Year
  • 17:30 Anton Vidokle (artist, founder of e-flux, New York/Berlin). Biocosmism in Japan. Screening and Conversation with Koichiro Osaka (curator, Tokyo, Asakusa)
  • 19:00 Opening of the“Metageography” exhibition (curators Nikolay Smirnov, Kirill Svetlyakov, scientific adviser Dmitry Zamyatin)
  • 21:00 Pill Couple concert

The Zarya Center for Contemporary Art is proud to announce an international exhibition dedicated to the transcultural position of Vladivostok within Northeast Asia, featuring the participation of artists Elena Anosova (Russia), Jeonhwan Cho (South Korea), Jungnak Choi (South Korea), Minja Gu (South Korea), Hero4Hero (Russia), Anton Karmanov (Russia), Elena Kovylina (Russia), Royce Ng (Hong Kong), Sergey Novikov (Russia), Soyoung Park (South Korea), SASHAPASHA (Finland) and Tuo Wang (China), Leif Holmstrand (Sweden).

The latest exhibition at Zarya Center for Contemporary Art invites visitors on a journey through Vladivostok and the Eurasian landmass in search of new ways of exploring spaces where historical, political, economical and spiritual dimensions intersect. This endeavor focuses on Northeast Asia, a region dotted with political borders, where Russia meets China, Mongolia, South Korea, North Korea, and Japan.

“We find ourselves in one of the most interesting regions of Russia, one that warrants closer attention. This is why we put such an emphasis on exploring the local context. The exhibition ‘One Northeast’ looks at the location of Vladivostok and Primorye outside the typical framework of the Russian context, instead placing it within a larger region of a globalized world that is rapidly changing and whose shifts are interesting to everyone,” explains Zarya CCA’s chief curator, Alisa Bagdonaite. “When we invited international curators You Mi and Binna Choi, we gave them the opportunity to draw our locality with broad strokes on the map of the gigantic, complex Northeast region.”

“We turned to the belief of the Korean peoples of the Northeast that the unity of earth and sky takes place through mankind. ‘One Northeast’ is a call to communication and collaboration not through the language of geopolitics, but through the language of ‘geopoetics’; the range between the two languages is the subject of our study,” exhibition curator You Mi explains. “We are interested by what usually slips past the established view of the region, focusing on bringing together transgressive ideas, overlapping trends and ideas that transcend borders, as well as on forces of non-human origin, such as Cosmism and Shamanism.”

An important element of the exhibition is the accompanying performative symposium, “Towards a New Politics of the Geographical Imagination,” which will run from October 7 through 9, spanning the time between the opening of the exhibition “One Northeast” (October 7 – December 16, 2018) and “Metageography” (October 10, 2018 – January 13, 2019) and incorporating participants and specialists from both projects, as well as specially invited guests. Together, the three events – the two openings and the symposium – make up their own international mini-biennale, dedicated to the practice and politics of geographical imagination.

The exhibition is part of the long-term transcultural project “Unmapping Eurasia,” initiated by the Casco Art Institute (Utrecht) and founded on a dialogue of partners from different countries.

Zarya Center for Contemporary Art opened in Vladivostok in 2013 in the creative cluster on the grounds of the former Zarya textile factory, as part of an initiative by entrepreneur and patron, Alexander Mechetin, the founder of Russia’s largest alcoholic beverage company, BELUGA GROUP. Zarya CCA is designed to bring to the Primorsky Krai the highest achievements of contemporary culture in Russia and beyond, while fostering artists and the local art scene. Since the second half of 2014, ZARYA CCA has operated the only artist-in-residence program in the Far East, offering artists from different cities or countries the opportunity to realize projects in Vladivostok, with a focus on regional culture and the geographical context. In 2018, the program’s open call received a total of 310 applications, submitted by artists and collectives from 39 countries around the globe. Of this number, the jury selected 21 proposals for realization at ZARYA CCA.

* “Unmapping Eurasia” is a transcultural artistic research project initiated by the Casco Art Institute (Utrecht). This project aims towards a common heritage and to that extent expands to include new partners, such as the Dutch Art Institute, together with the Athens-based nonprofit gallery State of Concept and the Nam June Paik Memorial Museum in Seoul. “Unmapping Eurasia” attempts to overcome the existing “cartographic” practice of making distinctions not only according to political principles, such as between nations and territories, but also along cultural divides – for example, between East and West.





The exhibition “Universe of relations” brings into focus how an architectural environment can operate as a full participant in the space of social interactions, while also acting as a bearer of historical memory. The works of artists presented within this exhibition may use a variety of methods to represent architectural objects, but their message is one and the same: architectural objects and the practice of design are not just the result of the creative toil of one individual, striving to meet his or her own needs alone. Instead, the artists explore architecture as, on the one hand, a reality that affects a person, structuring his or her everyday life, thereby revealing itself as a full-fledged subject in and of itself, and on the other, a massive archive, enormously impacting how we construct an image of the past.

The central channel of this discussion – the media of photography and video – offers a perspective on the artificial living environment that is filtered through the speculative view of the documenting instrument – the camera. The world of architectural objects and city spaces that unfolds before the viewer is markedly different from the perspective and sensations of the user of that urban environment. In this way, the researcher’s view is established as that of an outside observer, distanced from the object of study and thus stripped of user status, existing beyond the direct impact of the architecture.

Instead, the exhibition looks at architecture through its social, political and historical dimensions. For instance, in the video of Lithuanian cinematographer Deimantas Narkevicius, Scena, frames showing the interiors and exteriors of the Center of Contemporary Art in Vilnius (the former Palace of Artistic Exhibitions) are accompanied by fragmentary narratives from the center’s employees. They speak about their experiences working in the building that was once tainted as part of the artistic system of one era, but now exists in a completely different political and ideological reality.

Amid the objects on display will be several works dedicated to rethinking the Modernist project through an analysis of the symbolic influence of architecture on the political and ideological climate of the past century. Austrian artist Andreas Fogarasi captures the transforming interiors of the work clubs of Budapest, which were originally designed to facilitate the leisure time of workers, but ended up not being necessary after the fall of the communist regime in Hungary.

In the installation by Filipa César, Porto, 1975, a residential complex, designed by the preeminent Portugese architect Álvaro Siza, is presented as a kind of monument to self-organization and the revolutionary movement.

Some of the central works in the exhibition are the sketches and videos of the French-Israeli artist Absalon, who created unique installations, inhabitable “living units”, which, according to the artist, could aid a person on the path to self-knowledge, including on the physical level.

In Andreas Bunte’s video, Erosion, we see buildings on the campus of Simon Fraser University, located on the outskirts of Vancouver. The structures are not presented as an architectural complex, as far as the traditions of photo and video footage of structures go. Rather, the artist acts like a geologist, or maybe even an anatomist, depicting the buildings as living organisms, existing in close cooperation with the natural landscape.

The exhibition will be presented in two acts. Midway through the exhibition period, a selection of the works included in the first part of the show will be swapped out, altering the tonality of the overall symbolic composition of the exhibition. Also within the framework of the exhibition will be two substantial film programs, consisting of documentary, artistic, and experimental films that demonstrate the wide repertoire of creative interpretations of architectural practice.

Picture: EROSION. Andreas Bunte. Erosion. 16mm film transferred to HD Video, colour, sound / 17:25 min / 2015. Courtesy of Artist

St. Joseph's Cathedral in Mogilev. Cross section.


On June 8, the ZARYA Center for Contemporary Art will open “Architecture: Doomed to Optimism,” an exhibition organized together with the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art. The show follows the history of Russian architecture of the 20th and 21st century, and will be on view through September 23. Admission is free of charge.

“While this is the first time Zarya has tackled the theme of Russian architecture, we approached the issue with special care. As we are located in Primorye, far from the historical, cultural and economic centers, when we look around our urban landscape, we can see that we’re not in Asia, where we are sited geographically, but rather in the classic Post-Soviet space where we reside mentally. There is always this conversation on politics and economics conducted through the architecture of cities and countries. We were interested in looking at architecture both as a social document, and as an incredibly important art form, to whose artifacts we have entrusted our everyday life,” explains Chief Curator of ZARYA Center for Contemporary Art, Alisa Bagdonaite.

The exhibition, “Architecture: Doomed to Optimism,” offers a kind of studio of the archetypal architect-as-hero, always striving to find the balance between an artistic ideal and pragmatics – a titan, condemned to the profession of prolonging the future. His resolution is dictated by an honest acceptance of the impossibility of ever embodying architecture itself “in the flesh”; it is always either taking on different interpretations in its realization or it remains an ephemeral idea in the mind of the artist. For this reason, the audience is invited to consider not the objects as they are, but rather the architect’s way of thinking. This presentation brings together works by some of the most renowned Russian practitioners, spanning multiple genres: painting, drawings, conceptual models and mock-ups, written manifestos, installations, working sketches, and much more.

The exhibition script is didactic in its own way, carefully laying out the history of Russian architecture from the 20th and 21st century. To throw off the balance, this history is then contrasted with a case study of the self-taught architect, aristocrat and diplomat, the Palladian Nikolay Lvov, who lived in the Age of Enlightenment. His old engravings and sketches allow the audience not only to bask in the graphic ideals of that era, but also to appreciate how Lvov considered the slender stalks of the columns as equivalent to the harmony of the heating systems, the construction of the stove on par with the house it heated.

Leveling out the didactic elements is the kaleidoscope of heroes whose work this exhibition showcases. Among them one finds Konstantin Melnikov and Alexander Brodsky, Evgeny Vasiliev and Leonid Pavlov, the collective behind the Moscow Palace of Pioneers and the architectural bureau Project Meganom, Alexander Rodchenko, Ilya Chashnik, and El Lissitzky. An important feature of the objects on display is that each serves as a tool for thinking about another work, which exists somewhere else in the vastness of Russia, whether only in the mind of its creator, or at some point realized in concrete form in a specific context, down to the last detail. These objects are joined by the analysis of the works of past architects by our current contemporaries (for example, the installation Communal Avant-Garde or the photo-project, Severnoe Chertanovo.) As a true pedagogical coup, a fragment from the wall of Konstantin Melnikov’s own home has been brought to ZARYA CCA. It offers a superb primer in its own construction, revealing the work with the material and value of its apertures, thus using the outer shell to uncover the inner essence of architecture.

For Reference:

The curator of this exhibition, Maria Fadeeva, is a journalist, architectural critic, researcher, curator, and instructor of Professional Communications at the Moscow Architecture School. In 2004, she graduated from the Moscow Architecture Institute. During the four years of her studies, she worked as an architect. Since 2003, she has written for various publications on architecture, design, and urban development. She is one of the authors of the travel guide, Novaya Moskva 4 (“New Moscow 4”) and a co-author of the educational initiative Svoboda Dostupa (“Freedom of Access”), as well as a member of the team for ARKhIWOOD. Additionally, she is a member of the Center for the Avant-Garde on Shabolovka and has developed multiple tour programs dedicated to the architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries.

19-20 МАЯ / 12:00–02:00 / БОЛЬШОЙ ЗАЛ

Ночь — это темное время суток и отличное время для кино, а ночь в музее замечательно подходит для показа видеоарта. Руководствуясь этими размышлениями, мы впервые за более чем три года работы арт-резиденции «Заря» показываем групповую выставку резидентских видеоработ, созданных приглашенными нами во Владивосток художниками. В выставку вошли не только произведения медиа-арта, но и документация перформансов.


На экспозиции, которая будет доступна зрителям чуть больше суток, можно впервые в полном объеме увидеть работы Елены Ковылиной, Оли Кройтор, Натальи Першиной-Якиманской (Глюкли), Максима Шера, Анастасии Потемкиной, Константина Аджера, Суджин Ли (Южная Корея), Дмитрия Булныгина, Александра Курмаза (Украина).

Масштабная мультимедийная инсталляция расположится в большом выставочном зале Центра современного искусства «Заря» и будет работать с 12:00 19 мая по 02:00 20 мая. Работы, вошедшие в инсталляцию, представляют многообразие художественных методов, используемых художниками, включивших свой исследовательский опыт в Приморье в основу художественных проектов, реализованных за время резиденции.

Инсталляция Натальи Глюкли Першиной-Якиманской «Музей утопических одежд» показывается владивостокскому зрителю повторно — посетители могли её видеть на выставке «ЕЁ» в 2015 году. Инсталляция включает в себя документы об истории фабрики «Заря», такие как старые фотоальбомы или созданные бывшими сотрудницами «Зари» платья, так и попытки задокументировать нематериальные, эфемерные ценности: истории, рассказанные для этих женщин новыми сотрудницами «Зари», теперь уже не фабрики, а одноименного Центра современного искусства. Это история о дружбе и обмене символическими подарками как знаке преемственности поколений и поиске идентичности места через прикосновение к памяти людей.

Попытка зафиксировать и сохранить эфемерное, неизменяемое и неосязаемое предпринимается в работе «Время, которое существует» — видеодокументации акции одного из первых резидентов «Зари» художницы Оли Кройтор, известной своими стоическими перформансами. Идею сайт-специфичности Кройтор транслирует буквально, переживая пребывание в месте и времени и фиксирование свой опыт физически, усиливая свой опыт копанием траншеи на сопке Холодильник.

Проект «Це Заря» пионера русского перформанса Елены Ковылиной обращён к цикличности отечественной истории, в которой правители, «цезари» совершают по кругу одни и те же ошибки. Ложный замкнутый круг Ковылина символически «чертит» вокруг острова Русский, форпоста русской колонизации на Дальнем Востоке. Несмотря на красочную видеоисторию, сопровождаемую симфонией Шнитке, перед зрителем — экстремальный силовой перформанс, в течение которого Ковылина, высаживаясь на берег, несёт на себе тяжелый колышек с посланием «цезарям», который вбивает в землю на самой высокой точке острова.

Стоит выделить работу Максима Шера «Горизонт», сделанную в одном из немногих мест Владивостока, откуда виден горизонт. Это оммаж Эрику Булатову и его «Горизонту» (1971–1972) — одному из программных произведений русского искусства эпохи брежневского застоя, которое Шер анимирует на владивостокской набережной, к важным вехам социальной истории, формирующим локальную идентичность.

Все перечисленные и многие другие работы, которые предстоит увидеть на выставке, предлагают зрителю путешествие, в котором Приморье становится объектом исследования, а видео — формой художественной фиксации. Предметный же ряд предложенных произведений очень широк, от локальных исследований до кристальных художественных нарративов, которые могли быть проявлены где угодно или где угодно в России, но возникли именно здесь, во Владивостоке.