The fourth edition of the Moscow Biennale kicked off yesterday and runs through October 30. This year, the event, titled "Rewriting Worlds," has focused on new media in art. Computer-assisted media installations and sound art dominate, though the traditional domains of painting and sculpture still make the cut. Peter Weibel, who heads the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, is curating the event and said in a statement that "the history of art should follow the artist, and artists all over the world are working with new media today."
The Biennale has a strong international roster, including many artists who are exhibiting in Russia for the first time. This year sees 64 artists and 16 groups of artists from 33 countries participating. Among the international artists featured are Kader Attia, Chen Chieh-jen, EVOL, Claire Fontaine, Susan Hiller, Rebecca Horn, Manabu Ikeda, Elmgreen & Dragset, Shilpa Gupta, Isaac Julien, Armin Linke, Fabian Marcaccio, Neo Rauch, Rosangela Renno, Timo Toots, and Guido Van der Werve. Just last month, it was confirmed that Ai Weiwei's 2005 video "Beijing: The Second Ring," which documents traffic on the 33 bridges along Beijing's Second Ring Road, will be shown, though the artist will not be attending.
Russian participants include the Blue Soup and Electroboutique groups as well as artists Nadezhda Anfalova, Valery Chtak, Alina Gutkina, Olga Kiseleva, Taisiya Korotkova, Yelena Yelagina, and Igor Makarevich. The Biennale takes place in two locations: the ARTPLAY Design Center and the TsUM Art Foundation. And the event's wave will be felt well outside of Moscow itself: Special projects related to the show are also planned for Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kiev, and London, with a total of about 90 exhibitions in more than 50 venues.
Alongside the Biennale, 40 Russian artists are competing for the Kandinsky Prize in a show at Moscow's Central House of Artists. The prize, established in 2007 by collector and ArtChronika magazine publisher Shalva Breus, is intended to encourage new talent and artistic experimentation. Russian artists "are trying to catch up with the West and we are copying European artists but we are definitely still falling behind," Breus told Reuters, adding that there has been a steady decline in Soviet symbolism and an increase in abstraction. The prize committee will select winners in three categories: "project of the year," "best young artist," and "media-art project of the year."