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On My Way, an exhibition on view at Ca’ Foscari Zattere, the “cultural flow zone” of the city of Venice, runs parallel to the Venice Biennale. It is featuring 11 works by 14 contemporary Russian artists and one by an Italian artist from Venice. The exhibition is affiliated with Cyland Media Lab and Cyberfest, two initiatives by Anna Frants, a New York-based artist and curator who endeavoured to forge collaboration between artists and technology specialists in Russian, taking as its model the legendary 1960s cooperative Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). As such, it features several new media installations that involve elaborate technology.
Despite its focus on the new media, On My Way also includes traditional media – namely five paintings from the Arefiev circle, a nonconformist group of Leningrad artists active in the 1950s to 80s. In fact, the exhibition’s title is taken from a painting by the group’s leader, Alexander Arefiev, which shows him nonchalantly walking to get a beer on a sunny day in the architecturally stunning Leningrad. The paintings are included to trace a connection between an older and a younger generation of artists, because most of the participants of On My Way come from St Petersburg. The curators and the artists found a kindred spirit in the flâneur attitude expressed in Arefiev’s painting, defiant of the powers-that-be and asserting the right of an artist to create freely, regardless of the political climate. The exhibition is visually stimulating, as many new media installations are interactive or overlap thematically with traditional works. Thorough wall texts and a catalogue offer detailed information about the conceptual organisation of the exhibition and each artist’s explanation of the work on display.
On My Way
Peter Belyi, Ludmila Belova, Alexandra Dementieva, Elena Gubanova & Ivan Govorkov, Victoria Ilyushkina & Maya Popova, Anna Frants, Marina Koldobskaya, Vitaly Pushnitsky, Alexander Terebenin, Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai and Mariateresa Sartori
Ca’ Foscari Zattere Cultural Flow Zone
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Zattere, Dorsoduro 1392, Venice
7 May – 5 July 2015
Interviews by NATASHA KURCHANOVA
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY