The Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art will be held from 19 September-20 October 2013 at Manege in Moscow. The Curator will be Catherine de Zegher. The Commissioner and Artistic Director of the Biennale is Joseph Backstein.
The Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and Moscow Government.
Catherine de Zegher who was recently appointed the Curator of the Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art was the Artistic Co-Director of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2012), Guest Curator in the Department of Drawings at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Visiting Curator at Tapies Foundation in Barcelona. In previous years, de Zegher held positions as Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Drawing Center in New York (1999-2006) and was Director of Exhibitions and Publications at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.
Commenting on her plans for the upcoming biennale, Catherine de Zegher emphasized: “I believe we have to get away from the conventional thematic approach of biennales, and let the currency of ideas materialize in the working together with artists, how they act in an increasingly interdependent world, and how they think with us and the audiences. Let’s be inspired and innovative! I would like to promote a new seeing, with deep, intense attention for the ‘small’ actuality of the present condition, not projecting a hoped-for-present in a future elsewhere, but being in a lived social reality, with art that moves us. As I have always done, I will work with artists from around the globe, with here a focus on artists from and around Russia. The exhibition project will be intercultural and intergenerational. There must be both a sense of timeliness and a sense of the continuities accruing to the event over time-the sense that artists and audiences are engaged in making the present and history in ways that great art does. When time is activated in this way, what emerges is a space-time as ‘here and now’ addressing socio-political issues in the present and introducing new necessary thought patterns through manifold art practices.”
The main project will be shown in the central exhibition hall of Manege. Today, Manege is one of the most prestigious venues in Moscow. Its building was initially constructed in 1817 by Spanish engineer Agustín de Betancourt. The Manege is an architecturally unique building and is situated next to the Kremlin in the centre of Moscow. In 2005 the building underwent major reconstruction and is now equipped with the most modern exhibition facilities.
History of the Moscow Biennale and its Venues
The First Moscow Biennale took place in January-February, 2005. It demonstrated the openness of Russia to the world’s artistic tendencies. The international curatorial team (Josepn Backstein, Daniel Birnbaum, Iara Boubnova, Nicolas Bourriaud, Rosa Martinez and Hans-Ulrich Obrist) presented the first exhibition in Russia of such an international scale and reputation worldwide. The main exhibition, Dialectics of Hope, included works of 45 artists and was demonstrated in the building of the former Museum of Lenin.
The Second Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007) was also presented by another international group of curators (Josepn Backstein, Daniel Birnbaum, Iara Boubnova, Nicolas Bourriaud, Fulya Erdemci, Gunnar B. Kvaran, Rosa Martinez and Hans-Ulrich Obrist). The main venues were the Federation Tower (Moscow-City) and the space of TSUM Art Foundation.
The Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009) was curated by Jean-Hubert Martin. The main exhibition, Against Exclusion, in the Centre for Contemporary Culture Garage included 78 artists.
The curator of the Fourth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art was Peter Weibel. The main project titled, Rewriting Worlds, included works of 65 artists and 16 artistic groups from 33 countries. It took place at Centre for Design ARTPLAY and at the space of TSUM Art Foundation.