Historical Note

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 Hanns-Michael Rupprechter and the Shtuttgart Union of Artists (Shtuttgarter Kunstverein e. V.) from Germany as well as a group of artists from Kazakhstan headed by Rustam Khalfin.

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 down-to-earth lifestyle in the archaic Volga-river village. Throughout the years the Biennale has hosted artists and curators from Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Denmark, USA, the Netherlands, Singapore and Norway.

Photo by Marie-Hélène Dubreuil

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 like-minded people working on both individual and collaborative projects and using primarily local materials and opportunities. A culminating artwork presentation in the form of the Nomadic Show comes as a result of collective work in the framework of the Laboratory. The Shiryaevo Biennale offers an alternative to the traditional «white cube» art paradigm and provides a strategy for artists to be independent from top-down structure of art.

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 odd-numbered year to an even-numbered year.

List of artists who have participated in the Biennale from 1999 to 2016:

Ulli Berg, Hanns-Michael Rupprechter, Andreas Baer, Jürgen Kierspel, Régis Pinault, Marlène Perronet, Rustam Khalfin, Sergey Maslov, Georgy Tryakin-Bukharov, Zauresh Madanova, Galim Madanov, Nelya Korzhova, Roman Korzhov, Oksana Stogova, Francisco Infante, Nonna Goryunova, Angela Arsinkey, Vanessa Henn, Viktor Vorobyov, Vito Pace, German Vinogradov, «Tutti-Frutti» group, Evgeny Ryabushko, Elena Vorobyova, Yerbossyn Meldibekov, Jonas Valatkevicius, Martin Rogers, Nata Morozova, Vladimir Logutov, Andrey Syailev, Kira Subbotin, Natalia Syzgantseva, Nikita Volchenkov, Anna Orekhova, Ilya Polyakov, Natalia Yelmanova, Sergey Krivchikov, Alexey Zaitsev, Stephan Köperl, Sylvia Winkler, Ellen Rein, Natalia Fomicheva, Alexander Ovchinnikov, Elena Morozova, Peter Haury, Elke Hammelstein, Iris Hellriegel, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Vazgen Rahlavuni-Tadevosyan, Gerd Wiedmaier, Viktoria Lomasko, Diana Machulina, Diego Sarramon, Natalia Samkova, Anna Orekhova, Alexander Korneev, Alexey Kallima, Arpine Tokmajyan, Sergey Balandin, Artyom Ivashkin, Ignat Daniltsev, Vitaly Stadnikov, Oleg Lyuboslavsky, Svetlana Subbotina, Joe Lee, Yulia Zhdanova, Rüdiger Schestag, Yury Albert, Anne Brochet, Bertrand Vallet, Gero Goetze, Marie-Helene Dubreil, Romain Gibert, Mari Kartau, Alexey Kostroma, Gerd Mezger, Sabine Pfisterer, Emmanuel Rodoreda, Krishna Subramania, Mare Tralla, Anfim Hanykov, Matthias Holland-Moritz, Alexander Shikowski, Jochen Schlöder, «Tsvetophor» group, «Escape» program, Georg Zaiss, Anna Korzhova, Andrey Kuzkin, Emilie Pischedda and Valentin Souquet, Haim Sokol, Manfred Unterweger, Wolfgang Spaeth, Greta Weibull and Klas Eriksson, Ingela Ihrman, Kalle Brolin and Kristina Müntzing, Elena Dendiberya and Anatoly Gaiduk, Janno Bergmann, Andrus Joonas, Martina Geiger-Gerlach, Kathrin Zohn, Barbara Karsch-Chaïeb, Rosa Rücker, Ivan Lungin, Pia Maria Martin, Susanna Messerschmidt, Astrid Nylander, Calle Holck, Johanna Karlin, Swetlana Heger, Katrin Hornek, Martial Verdier, Gabriel Feracci, Martin Lewden, Sybille Neeve, Ciro Vitale, Alexander Zaitsev, Mikhail Lezin, Ivanhoe, Vladimir Arkhipov, Serious Collision Investigation Unit Coalition (Felix Gmelin, Alan Armstrong, Joakim Forsgren, Mikael Goralski, Amanda Hårsmar, Ronak Moshtaghi, Kjersti Austdal), Paulo Paes, Radesign group (Anton Rakov, Yulia Ratieva), Darya Emelyanova, Dmitry Kadyntsev, GKP group (Vitaly Cherepanov, Anna Mineeva), Dominika Skutnik, Marek Frankowski, Antybody Corporation (Adam Rose, April Pollard), Eryka Dellenbach, Merzedes Sturm-Lie, André Talborn, Alexey Trubetskov, Olga Kiselyova, Alisa Nikolaeva, Nicolas Courgeon, S’ilTePlait group (Bernard Touzet, Théophile Péju, Pierre-Loup Pivoin, Raphaël Saillard), Club Fortuna (Julia Rublov, Sarah Sternat, Kurdwin Ayub, Xenia Lesnievski, Nana Mandl), Maarten Heijkamp, Thomas C. Chung, U/n Multitude group (Nikita Spiridonov, Elena Zubtsova, Ilya Fomin), Yunrubin group (Joanne Pang Rui Yun, Jonas Rubin), Mariya Kruchkova, Ilya Samorukov.


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 subject-matter and more and more uses communication functions. Visuality is slipping away, it tends to become a pure process, something that cannot be touched. This strategy is focused on a search of new visual codes and formats of a dialog. Rejecting approved and time-tested forms of visual appeal it is searching for possibility to show something utmost.

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 state-market-society relations.

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 Austrian-German group Club Fortuna (Kurdwin Ayub, Xenia Lesniewski, Julia Rublow, Sarah Sternat and Nana Mandl) playing with the image of teeth as a symbol of happiness, vitality and wealth as well as an «interface» between fear of loss and temporality. The idea of the project according to the authors is «to get inside the mouth cavity in order to feel the taste of Russia».

Solidarity is a basis for a creative research of a Swedish-Norwegian group Serious Collision Investigation Unit Coalition (Felix Gmelin, Alan Armstrong, Joakim Forsgren, Mikael Goralski, Amanda Hårsmar, Ronak Moshtagi and Kjersti Austdal). Serious Collision Investigation Unit is an artists' coalition working on location and producing works collectively, alone and on demand of other artists. In all these 7 artists present the works of 27 artists in order to grasp all the dimensions of the Biennale subject.

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 wage-work institution where potential wage-worker’s capacity is offered for sale? Or will it be in a more straightforward and rude form of slavery? Is it possible to convert a dance as money equivalent into an intermediary of «corporal exchange»?

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 post-industrial times money as such presents a fictitious category without a material equivalent, thus being an abstract value. We can observe a period of evident money mutation. At the same time money is a unique unifying phenomenon and for this reason any society has got an opportunity to issue its own money.

Nelya Korzhova, curator of the Main Project of IX Shiryaevo Biennal

Roman Korzhov
Nelya Korzhova
Andrey Senatorov
coordinator, translator
Konstantin Zacepin
PR-manager, coordinator of special programs
Anna Korzhova
Elena Bogatyreva
Anastasija Albokrinova
Petr Gridin