Ekaterina Cultural Foundation and Garage Center for Contemporary Culture present Reconstruction, interpreting Moscow art life from 1990-2000 and celebrating the decade that could be rightfully termed as the age of legitimization and propaganda of contemporary art in Russia.
This ground-breaking period in the history of the Russian art was marked by unmatched intensity. It encompassed the rise of Actionism and celebrated group exhibitions on non-commercial premises for the first time. It also witnessed the rapid emergence of a variety of galleries that were at once experimental spaces unveiling and promoting artistic strategies previously unseen in Moscow.
Short of governmental support during the last decade of the twentieth Century, contemporary art practice was uniquely fostered by private institutions that had been generated by the artistic milieu and depended on it. The creation of these new exhibition spaces was driven by the desire to showcase and popularize the major trends in the art of the 1990s. Peculiarly, art galleries opened in Moscow not in response to the market demand, but rather in spite of the lack of a market. It was the development of the art, not making a profit that propelled the rising scene.
Reconstruction is about the pursuit of art in the 1990s; the artistic triumphs and failures, creative finds and losses. These moments have become highly meaningful in the radically changed context of today’s Moscow art, which is no longer “before,” but “after” the market. Now, analysis of the past provides a different angle for interpretation of the present; it will help to address issues of self-identification and to emphasize the distinct features of the local art evolution. Some things need to be left behind, while others should be put into focus for further development.
The Reconstruction project consists of two parts. The first chapter, dedicated to the art of 1990-1995, will open on September 17, 2013, as part of the special program of the Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. The second chapter, covering the history of Moscow art in 1996-2000, will open on December 17, 2013. Both exhibitions include reconstructions of past projects realized both in now-defunct (First Gallery, L-Gallery, 1.0, School Gallery, and others) and survived galleries (Regina, XL Gallery, Krokin, and others).
Reconstruction will be accompanied by a three-volume catalogue. This will include texts by leading Russian art historians and chronicles of the decade’s artistic events, as well as rare documents and photographs from Garage’s research archive. Garage Education Center will host an extensive lecture program dedicated to the exhibition developed by Sasha Obukhova, curator of Garage Research, who will present a course of lectures on the art of the 1990s detailing Moscow art life year by year. Garage Education Center will also host guest lectures and conversations by acclaimed artists, curators, and gallery owners who were the leaders of the 1990s art scene.
Research material for Reconstruction including the catalogue, education, and screening programs are developed from the unique archive at Garage Center for Contemporary Culture. Since 2012, the Research Archive has been established to find, preserve, and promote Russian art.