America : between Europe and Asia

VI Shiryaevo Biennale of Contemporary Art

Shiryaevo Biennale «between Europe and Asia» - is the biggest and most authentic event of contemporary art in Samara region.

Shiryaevo Biennale has been held every August of every odd-numbered year since 1999, in the traditional Russian village Shiryaevo, located on the bank of the River Volga.

Each Biennale is devoted to the relevant topic of the year in the contemporary situation «Between Europe and Asia ».

1999 Province: between Europe and Asia
2001 Tangibility: between Europe and Asia
2003 Food: between Europe and Asia
2005 Love: between Europe and Asia
2007 Home: between Europe and Asia
2009 America : between Europe and Asia

Artists and trustees (mentors) from Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia and Armenia take part in the Biennale. The catalogs were published in 1999, 2001, 2003, 2007, CD - in 2005.

Within the topic of the year 2009 it is supposed to examine the phenomenon of America, in the context of mental and cultural policies of Europe and Asia, verbal and non-verbal methods of exploration of the «new world», technologies of acquisition and resistance in the changing world.

The important part of the Biennale is the international art laboratory, which is carried out as an experiment of contemporary art in the traditional Russian village for two weeks. The peculiarity of this stage lies in the «Accommodation» of the Artists in the houses of local people. The possibility of «immersion» into the local cultural situation is regarded as a method of creating absolute or «ideal» environment for artistic expression. The main idea of this experiment is to give the artist a chance to «start working from scratch», without feeling the pressure of the gained image and art-market technologies.

Each time, the participants become a team of associates, working on the creation of individual and co-projects, using the «local» materials and facilities, as well as establishing a common route of presentation - «Nomadic show».

Shiryaevo Biennale offers not only an alternative to the traditional functioning of art in the concept of the «white cube» of space museum, but also a strategy of independence from the «power vertical».

«Nomadic show» is a fusion of two concepts: European - «show» and Asian - «nomadic», wandering life for the exploration of the new «territories». «Nomadic Show» is the central event of the Biennale. It takes place for only one day during 8 - 9 hours, and involves the work of all artists of the Biennale. Each participant and every creative team have a personal time for the presentation. A lot of visitors come from Samara on board the ship to see the event with their own eyes. The crowd of viewers is moving on the scheduled route together with the sponsors, trustees, mass media and local people, exploring the new centers of art and engaging in the procession new participants.

The space for the demonstration of the pieces of art is the whole of the village with surrounding landscape: The Volga River, mountains, day-drifts (tunnels in the mountains), the bank of a lake, village houses, streets, a school, a recreation centre, a quay… The ascensional route is chosen – beginning from the quay and finishing in the mountains.

Shiryaevo village is attractive for a wide audience, for it is one of the most beautiful places of the Samara bend. It can be compared to the phenomena of Venice Biennale, when natural and historical beauty attracts as well as non-natural beauty (art, in other words ). Active production of limestone was conducted in the village (which was found in the 17 th century) during the last 200 years. Due to this reason its mountains are trenched with day drifts, united with natural tunnels, characteristic of this place. It's very interesting for the tourists and is used authentically by the artists.

The easiest way to get to Shiryaevo is by water transport and this peculiarity is used by the marshallers of the event as a special type of happening – the prologue and the epilogue of the «Nomadic Show».

Famous artists – Repin (there is a house museum of Repin ), Vasiliev worked there. In soviet times it was a popular plein air place.

In this aspect Biennale is interesting as an implementation of contemporary art into existing situation in the village with its century-old tradition of realistic school of painting.

Shiryaevo was first mentioned in the historical documents in 1643-1645. the description of the surroundings of Zhiguli village can be found in the notes of a Dutch painter and traveler Cornelius de Bruin, who saw this place in May 1703. There are lines in his book: „At 9 o'clock turning to the right we noticed a valley among high mountains in the south-east and then a village in 20 versts from Samara. Our people went there for provisions, and the river there was very broad. “

Parallel projects of Biennale (exhibitions, master classes, etc.) were held on the exhibitional ground of Samara as the activities taking place in Shiryaevo can not accept all comers. It allowed to extend the structure of Biennale with vivid artistic events and meet the interests of the audience better.

In 2009, the Biennale Organizing Committee decided to conduct master classes under the program PFGTSSI «Green city» in Nizhniy Novgorod.

The chairman of
organising committee of biennale
Anna Gor
The commissioner of biennale
Roman Korzhov

The curator of biennale
Nelja Korzhova


The curator of group / Stuttgart
Hanns-Michael Rupprechter

The curator of group / France
Marlene Perronet

The curator of group / Moscow
Alexander Panov

The curator of video program
Antonio Geusa

The curator of the exhibition of young artists «Capture»
Vladimir Logutov

The co-ordinator of International and PR activities
Alexei Prokaev

The public relations co-ordinator in Nizhny Novgorod
Olga Tatosyan

The public relations co-ordinator in Moscow
Nata Morozova

Juliya Lvova