Discussion "Between Participants and Witnesses"


From 22 January 2015

Discussion "Between Participants and Witnesses"Discussion "Between Participants and Witnesses"




Moderators: Gleb Napreenko and Yulia Aksenova

Participants: Nikita Kadan, Lada Nakonechnaya, Nicolai Ridnyi
Saturday, January 22, 7.30 – 9.00 pm
Garage Education Center
Free admission


Earlier in 2014, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art invited artists Nikita Kadan, Lada Nakonechnaya, Nicolai Ridnyi to take part in the exhibition “Between participants and eyewitnesses”. Unfortunately, the opening of the exhibition coincided with a major complication in the relations between Ukraine and Russia and by mutual agreement, the show was postponed until January 2015. The political crisis has since deepened between the two nations, escalating into serious conflicts. The situation has naturally proved difficult to address through the format of an art exhibition and the artists have subsequently withdrawn from participating. Recognizing the need to continue the dialogue, the artists and Garage have decided to organize a public discussion instead in hope that such a platform can prove more adequate for an engaged conversation around some pressing issues this situation has highlighted. The discussion will focus around the following key questions:

  • Can an artistic act impact public opinion?
  • How the new political reality influences artistic production?
  • Can art resist “wrong” contexts for its interpretation/ assimilation?
  • Is boycott an effective method or on the contrary, a counterproductive refusal to make a statement?
  • How to act under the present circumstances of a so-called “new Cold War”? In the situation when the official media and political propaganda machine is dividing people, can art become a platform for a common discussion?
  • Governmental structure, private institutions, personal relations: who is friend and who is the enemy of the artists in these new political circumstances?

Gleb Napreenko is an art critic and art historian. He was born and lives in Moscow. He writes for the Moscow Art Magazine (Khudozhestvenny Journal), ArtChronika, and DI Magazine (Dialog Iskusstv) and edits the art sections on popular online publications openspace.ru and colta.ru.

Yulia Aksenova studied History of Art and Curating Contemporary Art at the Russian State University of the Humanities (1998 – 2002) and attended the Programme of New Art Strategy for Artists and Art Critics at the Soros Center for Contemporary Art (2000 – 2002). She later attended the International Curatorial Training Program de Appel in Amsterdam in 2007. Aksenova has held curatorial positions at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Center of Art and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. 


1.Mykola Ridniy
Fortress, 2013-2014
Courtesy of the artist

2.Nikita Kadan
Procedure room
Print on plate, 2009-2010
Courtesy of the artist

3.Lada Nakonechna
Appropriated phrases (aus: Brecht, Bertolt: "The good person of
Sezuan: parable play"), 2012
Installation with 5 projections, pencil drawing on the wall
Size variable
Photo: Uwe Walter, Berlin
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin