VENICE, “COSTRUCTED SITUATIONS”: AN INTERVIEW WITH CURATOR MASHA SERGEEVA
Heading the opening of the exhibition “Constructed Situations“, we interviewed curator Masha Sergeeva to tell us about this collective show developed in collaboration with the City of Moscow which did run November 21-26, 2019 at Istituto Santa Maria della Pietà, Venice.
Carla Ingrasciotta: “Constructed Situations” explores the process of human alienation from nature and addresses the question of our place in the global ecosystem. How do the artists respond to such a theme?
Masha Sergeeva: The artists participating in the project – Tanya Akhmetgalieva, Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov, Aljoscha, Margo Trushina, Kirill Garshin, Alexandra Paperno and Vadim de Grainville (Grigoryan) – question the nature of such a system as well as its evolution, theorising about the role of the human being throughout these processes. The artists create situations or model ecosystems without intervening in the outcome. They determine the conditions, create the environments, but do not regulate the results; they build worlds and observe their development.
C.I.: Could you tell us about the collaboration with the City of Moscow? How did you develop the exhibition together?
M.S.: The project was initiated by the department of foreign affairs of the City of Moscow and is co-produced by Concord Group. I could not thank enough Elena Rumyantseva, the project’s head producer, and Inna Kalenskaya, project’s architect – this exhibition would have been definitely not possible without them.
I think that it is of great importance to acknowledge the support that the City of Moscow gives to the contemporary arts – the arts are a communication platform, enabling the development of international relationships between Moscow and other cosmopolitan cities around the world. Especially today, for the first time in history, many significant issues can be solved only on a global scale, as opposed to on the local scale (at the level of governments or cities). Climate change is a great example of the latter. Art and culture is a strategic way to spotlight and discuss such causes, while also developing solutions. For this reason, I am happy that my city’s government is staying relevant by choosing to support causes that speak to the underlying issues in the world.
C.I.: How did you select the artists? Have you been collaborating with them since long time?
M.S.: I’ve been working with some of the artists and have been following the work of the others for a long time. All of the selected artists have a strong record exhibiting their work in leading institutions in Russia and abroad, while creating work relevant to the topic of the exhibition.
C.I.: The artists are representative of the Russian contemporary art scene. Could you tell us about your perspective of the art scene in Moscow and the art community over there?
M.S.: I think the Russian contemporary art scene is gaining its momentum right now. More and more projects and galleries are emerging in the country, and the number of strong international shows that Russian artists are participating in is growing. Moreover, the government is becoming increasingly interested in the field of contemporary arts. I think the biggest challenge for artists today is producing work that is relevant to the global discourse, while remaining authentic and connected to their heritage, tradition and roots – this authenticity is what makes their work unique. I think the context of artwork created in Moscow and Russia provides the perfect grounds for embodying this balance and maintaining the individuality of local artistry.
C.I.: What do you think about the presence of Russian Art in Venice? Let’s think to the Moscow based foundation VAC, which opened a branch in Venice in 2017 or the country National Participation at the Venice Biennale…
M.S.: I think it is a great way for artists to voice their thoughts and be heard at the level of an international arena. It is also important for the development of the local scene to be included in global conversation, so I am very supportive of the presence of Russian Contemporary Art and the previously mentioned projects.