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Moscow Biennal of Contemporary Art

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Free spaces

 
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Agency ArtRu
23 september 2011 — 22 october 2011

Curator: Maaike Leyn

Artists:

  • Vika Begalska
  • Debby Huysmans
  • Dmitry Kawarga
  • Maaike Leyn
  • Annouk Thys

In Western Europe we try to encapsulate reality. Everything needs to be placed into a kind of case. Around each car we draw a line, for each bicycle we have a rack. Each square meter has its own function: we distinct places where people live, industrial areas, agricultural areas, forests. There are no free places or places without destina¬tion. We believe encasing helps to control reality. The method used in exact sciences, we apply in human life. We give labels, designations, ratings. Unfortunately instead of controlling, we destroy complexity. Reality is much more interesting and beauty is chaotic.

In our society everything is extremely ordered and regulated. It partly has to do with the density of people liv¬ing on a place which is too small. In Russia there is plenty of place and as a consequence it gives a feeling of freedom. In Russia parks are what western people call forests, forests are what western people call woods, and Russian woods what western people call infinity. Russians don’t put cars between lines, they put their cars where there is place to park. Traveling to Russia is escaping out of the cage and a confrontation with the uncontrolled. Russia is full of physical free spaces and those spaces translate themselves also into men¬tal space. In Russia nobody will try to make a separate rule for the exception of the exception, for this one square meter which is different from the others and because of that out of control. Russia is too big to incorporate each detail and because of that there is bigger need to accept that it’s impossible to encapsulate everything. Russia is better trained to accept the fate of life.

A way to escape from this secure save case which is surrounding us is art. The artists involved in the exhibi¬tion accept and incorporate natural chaos in their work. It's important things happen out of your own control, they are the most interesting: they create an opening to the complex life outside the artwork. So it's im¬portant to accept what happens as a present. It's like giving birth to a child. You can not predict how this child will be, you have to accept it the way it is, but meanwhile its senseless to give it complete freedom, you have to try to make a good person out of this small person. In art you also have to try to find this balance between what happened and how you react on it. There are no rules because each situation is different and asks for a new solution.

If you use a bulldozer to ruin an old building, and construct a new one from zero, completely under control, you get a superficial, shallowness new building. A construction without soul. You make clean without accepting the past, you ruin richness, creates barriers. If you renovate (not over-renovate a building) you accept its past and you give the past its freedom. You make an opening to the past but also to the future, to the indefinable, to the open space without limits. And that's what art about, it's about taking part into eternity and complexity. It's a game to become free.

Maaike Leyn







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