I OFTEN FEEL THAT PEOPLE COME TO ME TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED AS THEY WOULD GO TO A DOCTOR OR A FORTUNE TELLER - TO FIND OUT HOW THEY ARE. RICHARD AVEDON
Exhibitions
7 October - 16 December

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.

10 October - 13 January 2019

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).