The Shiryaevo Biennale was organized in 1999 by the artists Nelya and Roman Korzhovs, who at the time managed the Samara Regional Public Charity Foundation «The Center for Contemporary Art», with active contribution from
Being a purely experimental project at the beginning, these days internationally the Shiryaevo Biennale is the best known contemporary art event in the Samara Region. The main goal of the whole project has been to bring into contact contemporary art practices and traditional
One of the important parts of the Biennale structure is the International Creative Laboratory which is held for two weeks as a contemporary art experiment within a traditional Russian village. Of special significance here is the fact that the artists live in the locals' houses, thus they get immersed in a local cultural situation. It helps to create an independent and ideal space for an artistic statement. Every artist has an opportunity «to start from scratch» without any pressure from past experience, existing personal image and art market technologies. Every time the Biennale participants become a collective of
The central event of the Biennale is the Nomadic Show. It is a symbiosis of two concepts: the European one — «show», and the Asian one — «nomadic». The event takes place for only one day during 7–8 hours and involves the artworks of all the Biennale participants. Every artist or group have special time for a presentation. «The Horde» of spectators moves along the proposed route together with the artists, discovering step by step new art oases and gathering more and more participants on the way. The space for the art presentations includes the whole village and its surroundings: the Volga River, mountains, caves, lakeside, rustic houses, streets, school, community center, quay etc. The route goes from the lowest point upwards: it starts from the quay and ends in the mountains.
Paradoxically, the experimental spirit of the Shiryaevo Biennale became a tradition. A viable formula of «experiment — tradition — experiment» was fashioned through the years. The ideologic basis for the experiment was a research of «cultural stereotypes» on the border of a chosen geopolitical framework — «between Europe and Asia», which in fact is a customary stock phrase and a cliché in politics, culture, economics etc.
The list of the Shiryaevo Biennales:
1999 — «Province: between Europe and Asia»
2001 — «Tangibility: between Europe and Asia»
2003 — «Food: between Europe and Asia»
2005 — «Love: between Europe and Asia»
2007 — «Home: between Europe and Asia»
2009 — «America: between Europe and Asia»
2011 — «Strangers: between Europe and Asia»
2013 — «Screen: between Europe and Asia»
2016 — «CASH»
The Biennale special program, including exhibitions, seminars, workshops and other events, takes place at various venues of Samara. It transmits concepts and ideas created by the Biennale into the city, naturally developing a very special mode of existence of Samara as a city situated on the left riverbank of the Volga, but getting its strength and inspiration from the right one, namely from the Zhiguli Nature Reserve.
In 2016 the Shiryaevo Biennale of Contemporary Art has expanded «between Europe and Asia» framework to the global context and changed the date of the events from an
List of artists who have participated in the Biennale from 1999 to 2016:
Today as never before the subject of CASH is of great interest in situations of virtual payments where we have to live on credit. This new reality is getting absolutely characteristic through the system of credits intensifying everybody’s direct dependency on continuously rising inflation and endless crises.
Everybody desperately needs money savings as a guarantee of safety and freedom, but if formerly the credit was based on mutual confidence and a money lender ran the risk, now the situation is exactly opposite: a borrower is the first to run the risk. An obvious substitution of notions occurred. The word «credit» comes» from Latin «credere» meaning «to trust». In particular, «solidarity» was the initial basis for credit relationship.
The art of previous thirty years reacted on this mutation by accentuated refusal of tangible embodiment of a piece of art that is less and less expressed through a
The conflict between economical and axiological issues has become more acute. Globalism doesn’t allow any authenticity to exist as it is; it grinds down an individual wish into a network product of collective wishes. This sensitive issue affects an author’s authenticity, artistic initiatives and institutions. Even a museum traditionally associated with an artwork autonomy has ceased to be a place of guaranteed safety. The terrorist act in Palmyra revealed a new horrible reality — the storage of art treasures was in the explosion epicenter.
At the same time one can’t fail to notice that the contemporary art system uses artistic events to achieve economical and political purposes. In this respect the stature of a «live» artist becomes that very «cash». Being an object and a subject of the research and composition of new art values, artist discloses «here and now» basic principles of the
Talking about life on credit it’s impossible to avoid the subject of the collective debt underlying in the field of collective unconscious. Artist is ready to make this subject visible through a naive and generous action of donator. Probably, «naivety» (understood as a creator’s authenticity unequal to himself/herself) is that very «cash» forming the basis of national culture. «Naivety» can be considered as a platform of openness and solidarity that helps to live and not to survive under the conditions of constant fighting. And where despair collides with the otherness artist is ready to take this responsibility. Dominika Skutnik and Marek Frankowski (Poland) in their project «Diamonds for a Mountain: Necklace» redefine the concept of a material value — they will insert diamonds into a surface of the Zhiguli Mountains around Shiryaevo village, giving a conceptual generous gift to Mother Nature. Playing with aesthetics and traditions of Land Art of the 60s, the artists examine the subject of a direct value of an art object in terms of money, a cultural value of an artwork or its Utopian and altruistic nature, thus principal impossibility of converting an artwork into a subject of CASH.
Anton Rakov and Yulia Ratieva (Samara group called «Radesign») present kinematic project «Larifuga — a project of nomadic workshop». The artists work with such essential ideas as place and time, representing them in one moving object where a spectator can act as a movement moderator.
«Jawbreaker» is a work by an
Solidarity is a basis for a creative research of a
In the performance «Antiworlds», based on Andrey Voznesensky’s poem, Adam Rose and April Pollard — the artists from the USA, calling themselves Antibody Corporation — explore the concept of «physical currency» as an idea of «corporal exchange» using local landscape as a symbol of «overall body of the Earth». The artists raise a set of questions: What will be the form of this exchange? Will it be carried out in generally accepted framework of
In the project «Shiryaevo Currency» by Olga Kiselyova (France) a reality of currency unit is mixed up with its virtual value and modern strategies are mixed up with traditional technologies. What is happening with ethical values when economical values are crashing? It should be noted that in
Nelya Korzhova, curator of the Main Project of IX Shiryaevo Biennal