CASH: IX Shiryaevo Biennale of Contemporary Art



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Back 2003: Food Information, organizers

Неля Коржова | Nelia Korzhova


Photocollage, fragment

I do not presume to assert…

Even if we no longer want anything, we will anyway feel empty… sooner or later…
/That sort of knowledge gives strength, inspiration will also come/
Hunger is our basic instinct; it reminds us of our being and brings us to act. But the big question is - how to experience this desire, how to squeeze between the balanced everyday nourishment and the forced extreme dearth.
It is not the question of diet, but real thirst.
/How wonderful is phonation of this word, there is something of genuine desire in it/
What do we want most of all? - To want!
/Failing which all industries will go to hell, for the world of consumption it is disastrous/
Want to take, imbibe, absorb, to be breathless with insatiability, engulf the whole world and get dissolved in it. Instead of looking as an outsider, how somebody is devouring something broiled on rancid oil, pushing those terrible pieces directly into the mouth with thick dirty-nailed fingers and smiling happily… Not exactly aesthetically beautiful, but desire prepossesses.

The question is - to what extent?

To what extent is a painter hungry? Or a man of art just declares his appetite? Why is he willing to compare his thirst with somebody else's one, with an alien one?
/And without fail, that man of art will full-feed everybody with seven hunks of bread and thereby satisfy his (her) own hunger.
I remember Andrei Stetsenko writing on selection of his poetry and giving the book to me: "Standing on church-porch, I nevertheless give a present…" Incidentally we indeed stood on a church-porch, on a far-away catholic church-porch in a French village - after the concert/
It happens to be an eternal propensity of oriental and western worlds, of all provinces. Desire to define each other's appetites…
/By the way, why is this contemporary artistic "Olympic" forum biannual, not 4-annual, as is the case in real sport? Probably, for fear of inability of holding out till the end of a 4-year period (resulting in loss of sponsors), in which case there will be nobody to answer the question: "What was the author driving at?"/
The offer is to come to Shiryaevo, look at what is being cognized there… and in what way…
And work out appetite in the fresh open air.
/The mind helpfully surfaces amicable or hostile attitude to curators by Jan Fabre with Ilya Kabakov in the video about flies. Gentlemen, fly to us, perhaps you will take dancing lessons here/

It was in the year 2003, when all assembled anew in order to have joint meals and say "Help yourself, please". And understand each other.

Everybody tried to squeeze oneself in one small cottage… rustic cottage; it belongs to nobody, neither to us nor to them; no one is responsible for its existence - neither before nor afterwards… That is why we are pleased to stay there amidst all those plain rustic implements. We are supplied with all we need… something to eat, and music, and night…

This house is really a peculiar place… It stands at the foot of a hill, close to a cemetery /quiet and small/; there is no orchard, no kitchen garden; there is a waste area instead where it is convenient to make a campfire or put a long table, cover it with a white tablecloth, watch it fluttering early in the morning recollecting delicious dishes and rummers of dusk…

It is a strange house; and like in a dream, like in space - all is falsehood and all is possible…

We take it on lease each time during the biannual gathering /in Russian pronunciation of the word is similar to "biennale"/, and in the year under consideration the house was for us a kind of the Central House of Artists, because we shared our meals in it and therefore we exchanged ideas there. Of all conveniences it had only light and water /very cold and tasty/. We had to construct a toilet using elements of an old elbow lining and tablecloth instead of the door. All the home improvements /taking photos inclusive/ took half day - the final touch was made by a wonderful sunset. The meal-time was very much sensible in a kind of cyclical way.

And we started our lodging…

As ever, this Shiryaevo-style biannual summer life /covering a dozen of village houses/ lasts two weeks. This is time of delivering art - big and small, delicate and brutal, merry time of hope, chatter and flirtation. Time of comprehension of your hillock, your piece of riverfront, your nature or your model.

Afterwards we will weave our common route of our art and will follow this route together with other onlookers.

The local small-scale pilgrimage occurs as a culmination of our stay in this location, where nomadic-style adaptation of the art focuses serves as a tribute paid to peoples who inhabited these territories in the old days.

How the comprehension of the 2003 topic "Meals: Between Europe and Asia" ended could be seen on August 16…

At 11 a .m. the boat with the audience arrived, and under the virgin - not yet merciless - sun we started our tour of artistic places; and the tour ended as late as at 9 p.m., and it still continued until next morning in scattered flashes of pal outings that showed different emotional experience.

11 a .m. - straight from the jetty one could watch the photo project by Yevgeny Ryabushko - "And Who is Eating?"

(The track went along the mound slope. On one side of the road there were photos nailed to poles /making one think of crucifixes/, on the other side the river furiously showed blue under white clouds. As I recall, exactly this road portion is always notable for strong wind, and Volga strikes as unruly. For Yevgeny's works it is an apt environment, there is some disturbance in them, though also flexibility and humor. Well, it was not without reason that the local priest on seeing them got agitated and commanded to remove them. The author no doubt entered into polemics, - "Free art… in a free country and things…" But in a couple of hours the photos disappeared. It looked as if unknown art lovers lifted them. Before that nothing had been disappearing though/.

11.30 a .m. - we reached the Volga bank, the wind dropped, it breathed of something beach-type; quite near the water a telephone rang, the cable went directly into sand - the title was "Unbounded Communication" /sound project by Vladimir Logutov/; all rushed to talk, it turned out that on the other end of the line somebody was wolf-style hungry. Then we climbed the hillside and drank milk from gloves tied to the tree /Andrei Siaylev - "Milk Shores"/

For a while the party walked on asphalt keeping in mind Kira Subbotin's interpretation of the "Time to Eat"… About three hours spent in the village school; everybody is eager to exhibit: not much to look at, the building captivates by "grand Soviet style", electric outlets, big floor space and coolness, the latter is especially valuable given the high ambient temperature.

The meal was served in the canteen "Breakfast in the Army" by Anya Orekhova, in the gym exercises were did together with the "Art poliss" group, then we "Returned to Edem" together with Alexei Zaytsev… and all - in resonant corridors moving from floor to floor…

Vito Pace showed the result of a two-year work development of the project "World Bureau": website, video, photo, book "World Bureau". This project made specially for Shiryaevo can be currently enjoyed at: www

After tumbling out of the school the crowd came across the installation by Stefan Koeperl and Silvia Winkler - "STOP". At the bus stop the guys hanged a glass box with a bunch of sausages, a vodka bottle, and a sign "As a theme of the Third Shiryaevo biennale is "Food" - artists Sylvia Winkler and Stephan Koeperl do not eat some meat and do not drink alcoholic drinks"… Interesting…

Although in my opinion "Give New Food to Something" is more expressive, in its own way it is a European version of the Russian "Standing on church-porch, I nevertheless give a present…"

A herd of black bulls was moving to the bus stop… and we also left soon…

The walk lasted a while, all got a bad sunburn, couple of times stopped near art-rustic houses, entered them, watched "Pictures of Food" /in the style of the "fLuxus" group/ by Hans-Michael Ruppreht und Helen Rain, then played the folk Swiss game "Cow Lotto". It was pretty hot, but the stakes were made, and everybody was waiting to know - what square will be hit by the cow's droppings …

Went farther ahead into the meadow, into a depression between hills at right angle to the river. In the glorious ruins of the derelict factory Fomitchyova, Orekhova and Ovtchinnikov erected an "Unknown McDonald's Memorial". Found seats, somebody was reciting poetry, enormous sheafs of hay fixed in waves in no way could be associated with public catering, but it was marvelous, the sun softened, the shadows became longer, end of summer could be felt…

By 6 p.m. we reached the lake, where young Samara talents were exhibiting their works, they are known to follow their own development track - that time they confused lakes /of 2 lakes they selected the wrong one/. But when we got to them /no matter how tired and scratched all over they were/ they were lavish - allowed us joining Masha's "Meal", listen to Lena Morozova's story about the dinosaurs, as for Zhilin, he was skillfully "Making Pencil Drawings - Price RUR 1". All food was free, and only conscientious Fomitchyova was swapping her "Poor Art" for food...

Afterwards we climbed the hills: on the huge steps of smoothly "cut" white stones we came across luxuriant /as a Dutch still-life/ installation by Nata Morozova bearing s strange name "My Friend Dislikes Fish".

We reached the tunnels by night. When after an endless day, sun- and wind-burnt, we entered the cold darkness of wide caves we got the impression that the elapsed time was not just one day, and to crown it all the season was a different one. /As usual, in our nice motherland the season changed for a different one quite unexpectedly, and nobody was ready for this, it was piercing cold, it looked like snowing, while all were wearing shorts./ Miracle was necessary to survive.

We - together with Roman - proposed "The Art of Warm Relations" with candles and scalding communion of home-brew offered by too beautiful /as in "Malholland Drive"/ woman;"Art poliss" - of the interactive "Sacrieatial Lamb".

But there was no quieting for Garik Vinogradov, after all he developed a "Catacomb Church of Modern Art", thus demonstrating once again sweetness of forbidden fruit, or at least delight of dreams of it.


Afterwards… /Afterwards was the afterwards-soup./
Afterwards all sat on the slope. And Alexander Panov, a well-known Mr. Cleanliness wearing a white well-ironed shirt, was tearing by hand pickled fish left behind by the "friend who disliked it" and generously gave big pieces to everybody…

nelia korzhova