New East Digital Archive

Fifth Moscow Biennale opens today

Fifth Moscow Biennale opens today
Photograph: Bernt Rostad under a CC licence

19 September 2013

The Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art opens this evening at the Manezh in the centre of the city. In addition to the main project in the Manezh, the biennale comprises more than 40 contemporary art exhibitions, sales and auctions across the city’s galleries and museums, as well as in spaces new to contemporary art. This year, the biennale extends outside of Moscow with spin-off initiatives around the country in cities like Yekaterinburg and Murmansk.

The main project, entitled More Light, is curated by Catherine de Zegher, who was previously responsible for the 2012 Biennale of Sydney and the Australian pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale. Belgian-born de Zegher, who is the first woman to curate the Moscow Biennale, is known for her interest in feminism and the nature of globalisation. The main project features over 70 artists from Russia and around the world including Simryn Gill (Australia), Song Dong (China), Julie Mehretu (Ethiopia/US) and Alia Syed (UK). Other highlights around Moscow include US conceptualist John Baldessari at the Garage Centre for Contemporary and artists’ homage to an icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean.

For the first time the biennale, which is sponsored by Beeline, Alfa Bank and Access Industries, will be held in a city-owned exhibition space in the centre of the city — the large neo-classical Manezh, a former 19th-century riding school. Previous editions were held in a former Lenin Museum and in an unbuilt skyscraper. The biennale was founded in 2003 by curator Joseph Backstein, who remains its commissioner.

More Light is open to the public at the Manezh from 20 September to 20 October.

The Calvert Journal will be running a special feature on the Moscow Biennale, including reports, interviews, galleries and video material from the main project and others, updated daily.