19 April (12:00) - 17 September (22:00)


Curator: Tatiana Kudryavtseva

On April 19, the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art unveils its latest exhibition, «Materialization», which features fifty objects from twentythree young Russian designers and studios. In addition to introducing a wider publicto Russia product design, theshow seeks to weave the Far East region into the fabric of the co untry’s professional co mmunity, offering designers a platform for research into the local resources and traditional techniques of the region. The exhibition will be on view through September 17, 2017.

The objects presented within this exhibition are crafted from the most widely-used materials in contemporary Russian practice: wood, metal, stone and ceramics. Exhibition curator Tatiana Kudryavtseva proposes looking at this choice of materials as more than just the consequence of the limitations faced by the industry in Russia. In laying out the history of how these materials have been used to embody creative concepts, the exhibition touches on themes of the ecology of one’s immediate environment, mindful consumption, the ethical use of resources, and the revival of traditional techniques and local crafts.

Dedicated to Russia artists working within the mold of «designer-entrepreneurs», the exhibition explores the blending of two distinct approaches to design: design as the manufacturing of serial objects, and design as the practice of producing handcrafted goods. Knowledge of the specific properties of the materials and the ability to uncover their potential are critical aspects in transforming a concept into a quality product with its own unique look and feel. At the same time, the modern take on traditional techniques (like, for instance, working with birchbark or dairy-glaze ceramics) invests concepts with a functional purpose. This show gathers together smaller-scale furniture pieces, lighting fixtures, accessories and tableware, with the overall exhibition design developed by St Petersburg-based architects, Rhizome.

Wood, metal, stone and ceramics are four fundamental materials used by contemporary Russian product designers. In many ways their popularity is only logical: unlike hightech materials, they are easily accessible and designers in Russian know how to work with them. Over the past five to seven years, Russia has witnessed the rise of a series of notable young artists, who are not only actively participating in professional events on an international level, but — perhaps more importantly — whose works exist not only as concepts, but as actual realized objects. Given that a modern industry oriented towards the production of designer objects still has yet to take hold in Russia, the successful «materialization» of design concepts requires designers to develop the skills of an organizer and entrepreneur all in one. Objects are manufactured with the help of special studios, capable of producing limited-edition series of quality items. Several designers have even launched their own production.

At the same time, the use of traditional materials falls in line with one of the most predominant world trends in contemporary design. For those in search of «lost values» — life in moderation, harmonious coexistence with one’s environment, ecological mindfulness — the natural materials offer a counterbalance to the ubiquity of contemporary technology, which is ephemeral in nature. The recent swell of ecological consciousness incentivizes the use of materials derived from renewable resources and produced without generating harmful waste. These objects bear the stamp of personal labor, eliciting a stronger sense of ownership, which means they are also less likely to be thrown out, taking a meaningful step in the direction of mindful consumption. Within this appeal to «materiality» and mastery, particular interest is paid to the study of traditional craft. Contemporary design breathes new life into these practices, while simultaneously enriching its own expressive vocabulary, as well as our everyday material culture, reasserting local identity against the backdrop of the homogeneity of our ever-growing globalism.

Participating Designers: Olesya Ananyeva (Krasnoyarsk), Ekaterina Vagurina (St Petersburg/Moscow), Lesha Galkin (St Petersburg), Delo (St Petersburg), Anna Druzhinina (FёdorToy) (St Petersburg), Vladimir Ivanov (Kemerovo/St Petersburg), Alexander Kanygin (St Petersburg), Tanya Klimenko (Rostov-on-Don/Moscow/Pilsen), Katerina Kopytina (Moscow), Anastasiya Koshcheeva (Krasnoyarsk/Berlin), Maxim Maximov (St Petersburg), Denis Milovanov (Moscow), Yaroslav Misonzhnikov (St Petersburg), Lera Moiseeva (Moscow/New York), Nikolay Nikitin (Moscow), Darya Pavlova (St Petersburg), Ekaterina Semenova (St Petersburg/Amsterdam), Nadya Semchishina (Moscow), Maksim Shcherbakov (St Petersburg), Concrete Jungle (Vladivostok), PlayPly (Moscow), Rhizome (St Petersburg), and 52Factory (St Petersburg).

Exhibition design: Rhizome

“Materialization,” which introduces the public to contemporary works of design, will open alongside another exhibition, “Soviet Design, 1950-1980”. Assembled by the Moscow Museum of Design, this exhibition explores various aspects of the life of the Soviet citizen, as reflected in the objects of material culture. As part of the parallel program, CCA Zarya and the Far Eastern Federal University will host an international research conference dedicated to contemporary product design and the development of the discipline in Russia. The conference will be held on the campus of the FEFU, from April 18–25, 2017.

19 April (12:00) - 17 September (22:00)


On April 19, 2017, the Zarya Center for Contemporary Art will open “Soviet Design, 1950–1980.” Assembled by the Moscow Design Museum, this unparalleled project has already toured Moscow and Rotterdam, and will be on view in Vladivostok through September 17, 2017.

“Soviet Design, 1950–1980” is the result of four years spent by the colleagues of the Moscow Design Museum, parsing through the archives of Soviet designers to carefully select objects that most vividly and articulately represent the history and achievements of Russian design. Research into our material culture, the exhibition boasts more than 500 objects in total, ranging from furniture, textiles, household appliances, dishes, toys, posters, and unique archival materials.

The different sections of the exhibition each explore a specific aspect of the material culture of the Soviet citizen: the world of childhood and leisure, sports and public events, recreation and hobbies, domestic life, education, science and industrial production. The exhibition will include objects, examples of graphic and industrial design, original sketches and models from both the collection of the Moscow Design Museum and private collections, as well as unique prototypes presented by designers and their families.

Soviet designers attempted to produce objects that were timeless, long-lasting and of high-quality. The state’s assortment policy and the principles of modular design allowed them to create universal models, which could be adapted to different social and cultural conditions. This sensible, “ecological” approach became the calling card of the Soviet system of design.

As a special feature, the exhibition offers video-interviews with leading designers from the Soviet period, including Yuri Soloviev, Valeri Akopov, Vladimir Runge, Igor Zaitsev, Svetlana Mirzoyan, and Alexander Yermolayev. The show will also screen the fascinating documentary film, Design in the USSR, which was produced as a way to promote Soviet design outside the country.

In 2012, “Soviet Design, 1950–1980” first opened in Moscow’s Manege. In 2015, the exhibition traveled to Kunsthal Rotterdam, where it was met with tremendous success. After its tour in Vladivostok, the show will continue on the Art & Design Museum Atomium, in Brussels, Belgium, where it will open in 2018.

As part of the parallel program for the exhibitions “Soviet Design, 1950–1980” and “Materialization”, CCA Zarya and the Far Eastern Federal University will host an international research conference dedicated to contemporary product design and the development of the discipline in Russia. The conference will be held on the campus of the FEFU, from April 18-22, 2017.