Open Systems in Kazan


Garage’s project Open Systems. Self-Organized Art Initiatives in Russia. 2000–2017, continues with an exhibition at Smena Center of Contemporary Culture in Kazan.

Launched three years ago, Open Systems explores self-organized initiatives that have emerged in Russian art since 2000. Run by artists, these projects, ranging from apartment exhibitions to shows at abandoned factories, testify to the fact that art strives for independence and new forms of communication.

The main goals of Open Systems are to study and preserve the history of self-organized initiatives in Russian art, and to explore the pioneering artists’ views on institutions, the limitations of the art world, and mobility of contemporary museum and market structures.

From May 18 an Open Systems exhibition will be on at Smena Center of Contemporary Culture in Kazan. The archive section, containing materials on seventy-three self-organized initiatives from eighteen Russian cities, will be presented alongside new research looking at art initiatives from Kazan: Chernoye Ozero Gallery, Black & White Gallery, Smena Center of Contemporary Culture, and Alafuzov Factory.

Founded by Ilgizar Khasanov in 2007, Chernoye Ozero Gallery was conceived as a space that could foster contemporary art practises in Kazan and has since shown projects involving a variety of art forms.

Black & White Gallery, founded by artist and art historian Guzel Faizrakhmanova in a residential estate, brings together artists and photographers from a number of cities, creating new connections in Kazan’s artistic community.

Smena Center of Contemporary Culture was launched as a curatorial project that included organisation of exhibitions by young artists, a lecture space, and a bookshop. In the four years since its opening, the center has become one of the city’s main cultural hubs, engaging local experts in its research programs and finding new ways of exploring local histories through contemporary art. In 2017, Smena became a participant in Garage’s support program for cultural institutions in the regions.

Adhering to the principle of absolute freedom, Alafuzov Factory initiative is equally open to all: artists and spectators. Its activities include performances, festivals, concerts, and a proto museum of street art.

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