Though a corpse, even a carcass: the Ninth Biennale of Contemporary Art was opened after all



Unexpected news. On December 8, journalists were invited to the opening of the Ninth Biennale. Yes, yes, the very exhibition that should have opened a month agobut was closed for various vague reasons and with the assistance of the Tretyakov Gallery.

The opening took place in an unusual way. Artists and journalists sat opposite each other at a long table, and the head of the Biennale, Yulia Muzykantskaya, leafed through the pictures on the site, commenting on each one.

After dismantling the exhibition in the New Tretyakov Gallery, the Biennale team made a creative decision to open the exhibition work posted in a virtual format.

One of the works of Anastasia Deineka.  Photo:

One of the works of Anastasia Deineka. Photo:

It is clear that many pictures and videos leave much to be desired, but this is not the case when they find fault.

– Managed to take it off at the last moment. On the evening of November 3rd, the Tretyakov Gallery announced to us that everything, from tomorrow they would not let us into the site, but we managed to orient ourselves and shoot the exposition on iPhones in 20 minutes, – says the press secretary Ksenia Korobeynikova.

Due to the fact that the Biennale was not allowed to open, the director Yulia Muzykantskaya I was afraid that she would not be able to report for attracted budgetary funds and even scared in panic interviews: “I am threatened with an article for misuse of budget funds”.

The club flew past, but did not touch. At the opening, Muzykantskaya exhaled: the Ministry of Culture went forward and accepted a report on the funds spent. Although, to be honest, during the three weeks that the mounted exposition stood in a sealed state, the team had the hope that someone from the top management would come to look at the exhibition and give the go-ahead: “What do you mean, everything is fine here.”

Someone says that there would be no happiness, but misfortune helped. The Biennale received publicity, the names of the artists sounded widely. Painter Egor Plotnikov even compared this exhibition with the famous “Bulldozer”, when in 1974 an independent exhibition of avant-garde art in the USSR was dispersed with the help of watering machines, police and bulldozers.

However, the faces of the artists gathered at the opening were rather sour.

– Whatever you say, but the sediment is left. They made artists extreme, – stated Marina Belova. Together with the artist Alexey Politov they were the first to be dealt with. It was their wooden little men in the style of petroglyphs that at first were called works of an inadequate level.

“To be honest, I was shocked,” continues Marina. – What such improper level. We are 65 years old, we have been doing petroglyphs for a long time. Yes, and our work – in the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery!

– Yes, we quickly realized that it was not because of our work, – Alexei Politov enters into the conversation. – Just looking for something to complain about. But the most offensive of all is that we were judged by something taken out of context …

It is comforting that at least some idea of ​​​​the installation of Politov and Belova can now be obtained in its entirety. on the site in the Thanks section.

– We wanted to thank the ancient people for the fact that they stood at the origins of drawing and did the same on their stone canvases as modern artists, – say Alexey and Marina.

On the site you can see other touching works. Among them – portraits of Donetsk residents from Anastasia Deineka; installation “Memory” by Sergei Bugaev, dedicated destroyed memorials to soldiers-liberators and, of course, the famous “Hope” by Tatyana Badanina: series of white shirts with mothers’ prayers sewn into their pockets

"Hope" Tatyana Badanina.  Photo:

“Hope” by Tatyana Badanina. Photo:

I can’t say which job I like more. All beautiful and all our artists are equally important to me. But honestly, when I saw the mounted installation “Hope” by Tatyana Badanina, my breath was taken away. This is such an accurate visualization of the prayers and hopes of every woman for a loved one, – says Yulia Muzykantskaya.

By the way, according to the head of the Biennale, it is quite possible that the exhibition will see its physical embodiment next year. The journalists were also assured that the events that had taken place would not affect the tenth anniversary Biennale of Arts, preparations for which would begin in a few months.


27 artists took part in the 9th Biennale. The exhibition is called “Shorthand of Feelings”. Being in the halls, the viewer would have to go from “Tension” through “Respect”, “Nostalgia”, “Surprise”, “Infinity”, “Faith”, “Hope”, “Calm”, historical “Memory”, “Awe” , “Gratitude”, “Bitterness of the Unfulfilled”, “Love” and “Complicity” to the “Light”. Now this route can be repeated on the site. All genres of contemporary art are represented, from classical painting and public art to the most complex sound and light installations.

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