National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) Presents New Gravity / Interesting Thing

The National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) presents New Gravity / Interesting Thing on view 7 December 2010 – 23 January 2011.

The exhibition New Gravity/Interesting Thing includes video and performance works that address, in diverse ways, gender and sexuality as central elements of broader social issues. In bringing together artists from Russia and Sweden, the exhibition seeks to expand the dialogue on contemporary art as the site of social critique.

Understanding how gender cuts across other key dimensions of identity has been a declared objective of radical feminist thinking since 1989-90. In reality of course, such an objective—posited against the threat of misrecognising a false homogeneity of women’s (and men’s) experiences—was already embedded in second-wave feminism. At the end of the Cold War and as a new, totalising world order was emerging, the need to reflect on the co-articulation of gender became pressing. It was becoming obvious that the emerging world order would require new strategies, new positions from which to speak and act against it.

Twenty years on, we may as well ask: what narratives do contemporary artists imagine in order to address the undiminished complexity of social relations—relations where gender is invariably found to play a constitutive, and yet always contextualised, role? The curatorial aim underpinning New Gravity/Interesting Thing has been to mount a show where such narratives could be juxtaposed and invited to interact, bringing forth contradictions, gaps, unclarities, overlaps, affinities.

On this occasion, emphasis was placed not on a work’s declared commitment to progressive politics but on its ability to practice differently, to put forward an engaging view. This was deemed more important than each piece providing, and operating from, a fully formed political position. There was also the intention to bring together works that somehow commented on each other through the different discourses that they engage. In other words, beyond offering a plurality of viewpoints, our aim has been to mobilise each work through another work as a starting point and a stimulus in the encounter between art and the public. 

The public seminar and the screening program organised as parts of this project also serve to mediate the encounter between the two cultures – Russian and Swedish. As misleading as it would be to see these cultures as monolithic and unified, it would also require an ideologically dubious form of amnesia to disregard their historically diverse trajectories. Accompanied by a bilingual catalogue (Russian and English), the exhibition sets out to examine some of the positions that are today available to the artist as an oppositional subject/agent, able to invent forms that re-negotiate art as a critical and aesthetic project.

Artists: Tobias Bernstrup, Kajsa Dahlberg, Ewa Einhorn/Terese Mörnvik, Elena Klimova, The Knife, Pavel Kostomarov/Antoine Cattin, Elena Kovylina, Annika Larsson, Klara Liden, Marcus Lindeen, Vladimir Seleznev

Curated by: Karina Karaeva and Jesper Nordahl

The exhibition opening will feature a performance by Tobias Bernstrup

Public seminar 7 December 2010, 7 pm

Participants: Keti Chukhrov, Kajsa Dahlberg, Pavel Kostomarov, Elena Kovylina, Marcus Lindeen, Nadya Plungyan, Sinziana Ravini

Moderators: Karina Karaeva and Jesper Nordahl

Image: Klara Liden, “Paralyzed,” 2003. Video, 3.06 min

The National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA)
13, Zoologicheskaya Street

Moscow, 123242, Russia

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