Garage 1st International Conference. Performance Art: Ethics in Action


From 12 December 2013 to 14 December 2013


Garage 1st International Conference. Performance Art: Ethics in ActionGarage 1st International Conference. Performance Art: Ethics in Action


To mark the centenary of performance art in Russia and to explore the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics in the development of performance today, Garage presents its first international conference, "Performance Art: Ethics in Action."

This December is the centenary of the seminal Cubo-Futurist performance Victory Over the Sun created by Kazimir Malevich, Alexei Kruchenych, and Mikhail Matyushin, which premiered in St. Petersburg in 1913. The performance caused quite a stir, since it broke with tradition in a number of ways, from the unconventional subject matter celebrating man's technological potential and innovative anti-realist costumes in shocking colors, to the chaotic music and nonsensical lyrics. Today, this ground-breaking piece can be considered the first avant-garde performance in Russia. 

“If performance art becomes commonplace in a society over time, it will be impossible for it to stir an ethical or political reaction.” – Anatoly Osmolovsky

In the century that has followed, artists have continuously defied and challenged not only pre-established artistic traditions, but also social and moral conventions. By pushing the boundaries time after time, often creating situations where art and life converge, they pose questions that go beyond aesthetics, introducing an ethical dimension to the artistic experience. 

To mark the centenary of performance art in Russia and to explore the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics in the development of performance today, Garage presents its first international conference, "Performance Art: Ethics in Action." The conference is also the first on this topic in Russia. 

“I cannot imagine talking about ethics without discussing two particular things: one, authority, and the second, belief.” – Nástio Mosquito

Tracing the evolution of Russian performance art in relation to parallel developments around the world, the conference focuses on the radical experiments from the early 20th century avant-garde to the present day that have brought art beyond aesthetics into real-world situations. The two days are divided into thematic sessions, including a session on the Russian experience and a session introducing international parallels or divergences. 

Each of the sessions explores the complex relationship between ethics and aesthetics in the development of performance today through questions including:

  • Why did certain forms of artistic actions historically emerge in Russia?
  • How do these examples resonate with the current situation in a more global context, and what lessons can be learned?
  • How does an artistic action become a personal ethical experience, and how can this experience be shared with an audience?    
  • What are the tendencies in performance art today?
  • What are the economic, social, and political conditions by which they are predefined, and where will they take us?

Organized by: Yulia Aksenova and Snejana Krasteva in collaboration with Sasha Obukhova, Kate Fowle and Anastasia Mityushina

Architects: Ekaterina Golovatyuk, Nicola Russi (Laboratorio Permanente)

Program of live performances organized in partnership with Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, Moscow.

With the support of Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.



Yulia Aksenova, curator, Garage, Moscow; Ludmila Bredihina, curator and critic, Moscow; Simon Critchley, Hans Jonas Professor, The New School for Social Research, New York; Yulia Liderman, cultural studies scholar, Moscow; Song Dong, artist, Beijing; Lina Džuverović, curator and co-founder of Electra, London and Zagreb; RoseLee Goldberg, curator and founding director of Performa, New York; Ana Janevski, associate curator, Department of Media and Performance, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Jurij Krpan, curator, Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana; Laura Lima, artist, Rio de Janeiro; Magda Lipska, curator, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Victor Misiano, curator and editor-in-chief, Moscow Art Magazine, Moscow; Nástio Mosquito, artist, Luanda; Sasha Obukhova, art historian and head of Research Department, Garage, Moscow; Anatoly Osmolovsky, artist, Moscow; Tanja Ostojic, artist, Berlin; Elena Petrovskaya, philosopher and writer, Moscow; Stas Shuripa, artist and teacher, Moscow; Maria Tsantsanoglu, director, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki. 

Learn more about speakers


Thursday 12 December 2013


Book Launch: Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present, by RoseLee Goldberg

Friday December 13


The Insight of Ethics

Curators, art critics, philosophers, and artists reflect on the ways in which an ethical philosophy can be part of the aesthetic experience and vice versa.

Moderator: Kate Fowle, Garage Chief Curator


Opening remarks by Head of Garage Archive Sasha Obukhova and Garage curator Yulia Aksenova


Keynote presentation: Simon Critchley, Ethics of Commitment, Artistic Performance and Political Resistance


Elena Petrovskaya, Surgery on the Social Body


Nástio Mosquito, Me is Ethic



Politics Interrupted: Between Confrontation and Consensus

Participants share their views and experiences of seminal moments in the history of Russian performance art and discuss them in relation to the conference's theme, as well as their resonance today.

Moderator: Anastasia Mityushina, Head of Garage Education


Case Study 1: Maria Tsantsanoglou, Art Made from Life: On the origins of performance art in Russia in the early 20th century


Case Study 2: Stas Shuripa


Case Study 3: Sasha Obukhova, Alexander Brener: The Dull Violet Hammer


Case Study 4: Victor Misiano in conversation with Anatoly Osmolovsky


Case Study 5: Ljudmila Bredihina, The Issue of Gender in Russian Performance Art from 1990 to 2010


Panel discussion and Q&A, moderated by Victor Misiano



Program of Live Performances
Nástio Mosquito, Olga Kroytor and Ksenia Sorokina

Saturday December 14


Sharing in Common

Speakers present their practices and perspectives on ethics, as well as discussing performance as a way to share common experiences.

Moderator: Snejana Krasteva, Garage curator10.30-10.50 Tanja Ostojić, Misplaced Women? and Naked Life


Laura Lima, Ornamental Philosophy; Architecture; and I Never Rehearse


Song Dong, Life-Changing Performance Art


Madga Lipska, Human Comes First: Performance art in Poland in the light of Oskar Hansen's theory of Open Form


Ana Janevski in conversation with Magda Lipska, Laura Lima, Tanja Ostojić, Song Dong and Nástio Mosquito



The Potentiality of the Real

Looking at performance as the most immediate form of expressing changes in society as well as contemporary art, this session explores trends in performance today, the economic, social and political conditions by which they are predefined, and where they will take us.

Moderator: Yulia Aksenova, Garage curator


RoseLee Goldberg, We Owned Downtown


Ana Janevski, This is not a game: On performance, dance and live arts within the institutional framework


Jurij Krpan, Kapelica Gallery: Gallery for Contemporary Investigative Art


Lina Džuverović, The Archive as a Political Act


Yulia Liderman in conversation with Lina Džuverović, Ana Janevski, RoseLee Goldberg and Jurij Krpan


Panel discussion with all participants and Q&A, moderated by Kate Fowle, Garage Chief Curator

19.30  Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center

Closing Program of Live Performances. Art groups Provmyza and Edelweiss


how to take part

Entrance is free, booking required.


Here we’ve put together materials to help you get ready for a visit to the Museum or to take a deep-dive into the themes of current exhibitions and programs at Garage.