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Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents Voth

VoTH is a project of cultural exchange between Russia and the Netherlands, initiated by Dutch curators Marjan Teeuwen and Ine Lamers (Marjan Teeuwen / KW_14 is responsible for the organization of the exhibitions and the catalogue). The core of this exhibition is an endeavour of 8 Russian and 8 Dutch contemporary artists to analyze and reflect upon some aspects of today’s Russian society, culture, and history. All artists have created new work for this project.

Dutch participants: Daya Cahen, Aliona van der Horst, Natasja Kensmil, Paul Kooiker, Ine Lamers, Paulien Oltheten, Marjan Teeuwen, Jasmijn Visser.

Russian participants: Viktor Alimpiev, Alexandra Demenkova, Ksenia Galyaeva, Arkady Nasonov, PROVMYZA, Andrei Roiter, Roman Volgin, Filmprogram Chto Delat?. Guest Artist in Moscow: Marina Chernikova.

Holland and Russia have long and fruitful historic ties, yet collaboration and exchange in the field of contemporary art have not been developed intensely. Having a sincere interest in Russian art and culture, curators of VoTH want to discover whether contemporary art can act as a binding force. The long-term aim of this travelling exhibition is to realize artistic and cultural exchange on the highest possible level.

While manifestations of creative positions and views on art of the exhibition’s participants may differ considerably, a common feature is that they all explore existential and cultural questions concerning Russia. VoTH concept is based on the statement that a transfer into a different culture (in this case, Russian culture) goes beyond a simple incorporation of visual elements or clichéd quotations. Exhibits on display are multifaceted and unpredictable, they display ambiguity and individual vision of each artist. Both these factors — the variety of creative positions as well as the current social and economic relationship between Holland and Russia — place the exhibition within the contemporary international context.

Art thrives particularly well in a dialogue between outsider and insider, where the polarities of distance and proximity alternate. From a distant viewpoint, outsiders oversee the whole and have an innovative perspective on it; insiders have a personal sensitivity and may penetrate into the very core, the heart of the matter. This dual position, which is embodied in the practice of a travelling artist, is best for an autonomous and reflective creative gesture. Continually engaging themselves in motion, artists create works that reflect Russia
in the broadest sense.

Obviously, the starting points are very different for Russian and Dutch participants of the exhibition. Russian artists, who grew up and were educated in the USSR or in the new Russia, can be called insiders. All of them have distanced themselves from their home country — temporarily or permanently, to study or realize projects abroad. During their travels, they were disconnected from familiar surroundings and could see Russia from outside, if only for a time.

Dutch participants of the exhibition balance these dual positions in another way. They are foreigners in Russia, though they try to get as close as possible to the subject of their investigation. With both Russian and Dutch artists, these precarious oscillations between proximity and distance create the right attitude towards essential issues of the human being.

Route of VoTH exhibition:

Krasnoyarsk Museum Center (August 20 — September 23, 2010)
Hermitage-Kazan Center (October 3 — 17, 2010)
Ekaterinburg branch of the National Center for Contemporary Art (October 28 — November 21, 2010)
Moscow Museum of Modern Art (December 17, 2010 — January 23, 2011)
Yaroslavl Art Museum (February 18 — March 27, 2011)
Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch (May 28 — August 21, 2011)

VoTH exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that contains introductory articles about the participants and some critical essays. Contributors to the publication art: Sjeng Scheijen (art historian, writer and former cultural attaché of the Dutch Embassy in Moscow), Ksenia Fedorova (curator of the National Center for Contemporary Art in Ekaterinburg), Bas Heijne (Dutch writer and columnist), Sergey Kovalevsky (curator of Krasnoyarsk Museum Center), and Elly Stegeman (curator of Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch).

VoTH project has been realized with the support of Fonds BKVB Amsterdam, Wilhelmina Jansen Fonds (Haren, the Netherlands), Embassy of the Netherlands in Moscow, DSM/DNP, BKKC, Stichting Strokroos, and the local authorities of ’s-Hertogenbosch.

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