Artist if the Year: Valery Chtak
“Exhibition of Identical Paintings” project
The project of the Artist of the Year Valery Chtak included more than 20 paintings in the artist's recognizable style, reflecting his ironic reaction to the often heard criticism that he constantly does the same thing. “You say I make pictures that are all the same? Okay then, here’s an exhibition of identical paintings,” argues the artist. Chtak’s artistic language is distinguished by a desire for simplicity and minimalism. Most often, his characters are depicted in a simplified manner, and the space in which they act is practically absent: their silhouettes seem to be pinned to the plane of the picture, divided into rectangular cells. His compositions contain attributes of the artist's personal freedom, such as references to skater and musical subcultures, as well as stylistically rhyming with street art (while Chtak himself emphasizes that he has nothing to do with it). Among the constant figures of his iconography are birds, cats, the cityscape, and, of course, text. Combining the semiotic verbal and visual planes of the language, the artist translates the text into the category of image, pattern, or ornament.
Institution of the Year: STATION art platform (Kostroma)
“Several Ways to Start a Conversation” choreographic performance
The STATION art platform, noted for its interdisciplinary activities, combines contemporary dance, theater, cinema, music, and fine arts. It was founded in 2009 by Evgeny Kulagin and Ivan Estegneev. In recent years, one of the key areas of the platform has been the residency program, which gives Russian choreographers the opportunity to carry out their research and artistic practice on the stage. As part of the fair, one of the permanent residents of the platform, Tarik Burnash (Ohne Zucker Project) presented a choreographic performance called “Several Ways to Start a Conversation”.
Museum of the Year: State Hermitage
The School of Arts and Cultural Heritage — together with European University
At the fair, the State Hermitage, together with the European University at St. Petersburg, presented the School of Arts and Cultural Heritage. This innovative educational program combines knowledge of art history, museum work, and curation with modern technologies. The school was established in 2022 on the basis of the Faculty of Arts. Master’s programs “Word and Image: Literature among other Arts” and “Languages of Art in Culture: Problems of Interaction”, postgraduate studies “Theory and History of Culture, Art” are currently running, and admission has been announced for the annual program of additional professional education “Modern Museum”, which starts on October 14 (applications are open until September 30, 2022). The booth will include a presentation of the project with glass windows, light boxes, videos, and interactive panels, allowing the viewers to immerse in research cases conducted by experts in artificial intelligence, machine learning, bioinformatics, and paleogenetics, as well as museum specialists and art history practitioners. The results of the work of the two institutions will be available in book format.
“… — and away, and near — // it was up to us. And what will happen after” exhibition
Collector’s Eye is an annual special project of Cosmoscow devoted to private collections. The exhibition stand of the project is an important part of the noncommercial program of the fair, and this year it hosted the exhibition “… — and away, and near — // it was up to us. And what will happen after” (a quote from Joseph Brodsky’s poem). The exhibition presented selected works from the collections of Sergey Limonov and Denis Khimilyayne, acquired by them after February 24. The project highlighted not only the artistic value of the works, but also the social significance of the practice of collecting as a form of support for the art system in its individual and institutional dimensions. The exhibition featured works by Yuri Albert, Rinat Voligamsi, Ivan Gorshkov, Varvara Grankova, Alexander Gronsky, Polina Kanis, Pyotr Kiryusha, Andrey Kuzkin, Vadim Mikhailov, Boris Sveshnikov, Vadim Sidur, Khaim Sokol and Olga Tatarintseva.
Lyudmila Baronina and Evgeny Granilshchikov “Pompeya”
A crisis is a delayed or extended catastrophe. The “Pompeya” project reflects the artists’ thoughts on how the body reflects the catastrophic density of time. The project consists of detailed personal histories presented through the fixation of bodily states. It is a search for almost sculptural plasticity, which becomes a description of the death of modernity that we knew only yesterday.
Cosmoscow Kids by Algorithm
“Where is the Artist?”
Each year, the best teachers and artists take part in the Cosmoscow Kids program, allowing the children to get acquainted with contemporary art in a playful manner. This year’s program includes educational and creative activities created in collaboration with Artist of the Year Valery Chtak and Algorithm International School. The program, titled “Where is the artist?”, will help children get to know contemporary art better by dissecting, repeating, and rethinking the work of the artist Valery Chtak according to his own instructions. Kids will also be able to attend architectural and ceramic workshops.
Cosmoscow Talks
On the Price and Value of Art
During large-scale upheavals, the issue of value orientations, which serve as the basis for our interaction with the outside world, is especially urgent. It is no coincidence that the word “value” is extremely in demand today in political and sociocultural journalism and rhetoric. It also acts as a trigger for the Cosmoscow Talks program, which proposes to consider it in terms of the issues of value and price, which are the most important for art. The activities of the program look at prominent phenomena and trends in public life and the arts (NFT art, new educational approaches, inclusion, and so on) to find out how they redefine the concepts of price and value and form complex relationships between them. They also show that these trends bring their own value systems to our understanding of art, which are not reducible to the traditional art model but enrich it with new knowledge and relevant ideas, the diversity of which makes the cultural landscape interesting and meaningful.