Tired People: A New Exhibition at HSE ART GALLERY
From October 8 to November 14, 2021, the HSE ART GALLERY is hosting an annual exhibition of works by students and teachers at the HSE Art and Design School. Curated by Alexandra Kuznetsova, Yulia Yusma, and Diana Machulina, the exhibition’s theme is fatigue, which has become a way of life for people. The artists offer viewers a multidisciplinary study of the current state of humanity and society. The HSE News Service visited the exhibition to learn more about the artists.
A tired person, a modern person… In their works, the exposition participants are trying to figure out how people’s condition resonates with reality, why we tire and what we get tired of. More than 140 students and teachers from the HSE Art and Design School present clothing for work and leisure from fashion, performances and video art, installations and photography, posters and paintings created in 2020.
A group of students from HSE University in St. Petersburg presented the installation ‘Grandad Vasily’, which is dedicated to the older generation. ‘We were thinking about old age, about the lifeline and the collective image of a person, thinking about what surrounds him in general and what remains with him,’ says Mirra Orshanskaya, a second-year student in the Communication Design programme. ‘We recreated the fate of a person who has preserved some things over a long life, which are already creating him.’
Mirra says that when the art object was exhibited at HSE University in St. Petersburg, it also had a soundtrack: recorded (sometimes secretly) stories of relatives. However, in the HSE ART GALLERY, the installation is exhibited without sound and in a different composition: ‘During the dismantling “Grandad Vasily” fell, and it seemed metaphorical, as he was reborn in some way. He’s been partially re-created: he is a tired man who put himself together.’
Varya Kabanova, one of the ‘Grandad’ creators, acknowledges that they spent several weeks looking for objects for the installation: the girls collected boxes in Pyaterochka and Diksy stores, asked for things from relatives and their teacher, and found items in landfills, garbage cans, and flea markets. ‘We carefully selected what could suit the installation. It is important that it gathers into a whole picture and really conveys how a person lives,’ says Varya, drawing attention to the fact that the project enables us to think once again of how we value our loved ones.
We would like to highlight once again how important it is to be attentive to the elderly, to preserve our memory of them, to take care of their belongings
The installation ‘Bury me in mushroom spores’, created using a technique involving high-quality printing on non-woven materials, is the thesis project of Evgenia Erofeeva, a graduate of the master's programme in Illustration and Printed Graphics. The author admits that she has been visually fascinated with mushrooms since childhood. Over time, the topic of spores interested her from an ecological perspective.
‘I am a big fan of spores, and in particular the idea of an eco-friendly burial without using non-degradable materials,’ says Evgenia. ‘I was inspired by several research projects related to helping a deceased person decompose in the ground with the help of fungal spores without harming the environment. There is a sense of decadence in this transformation from a person into spores.’ She adds that the feeling of fatigue, lack of support and feeling oneself in abstraction is like a mushroom spore that has no centre.
In addition to unusual installations, guests also watched several performances. One of them, resembling a walk with an egg on a spoon, was created by Elizaveta Shar, a second-year students in the Design and Contemporary Art programme.
‘My performance is called "The Way of Life", an allusion to a competition in which children carry some round objects, including eggs, on spoons: they run around completely focused on them,’ explains the artist.
I projected this children's competition on our daily life, in which we sometimes focus so much on our disturbing thoughts and obsessive unwanted ideas that we don't notice anything around us
Four other students in the Art and Design School participated in the performance. The author of ‘The Way of Life’ warned them that they can finish the performance only by dropping the egg; otherwise, the performance must continue until the end of the event.
You can visit the annual exhibition of works by students and teachers of HSE Art and Design School from October 8 to November 14, 2021, at the HSE ART GALLERY. In addition, the exposition features an educational component called ‘Congress of the Tired People’.
‘Any serious exhibition coincides with an educational programme by necessity, so that the audience not only see works of art, but also becomes deeply immersed in the context that inspired the creators of these works,’ says Alexandra Staruseva-Persheeva, curator of the congress and Associate Professor in the Art and Design School. ‘We also do it, because it’s a large-scale serious exhibition, kind of a milestone for both students and teachers of the Art and Design School.’
The congress opened on October 3 and will run until November 1. A series of events are being held as part of the congress, including lectures for researchers and educational events for students. There are also creative events, such as art text readings, performances, meditative practices, meetings with artists, art historians and curators engaged in interpreting the problems of people living in modern society.
Still-Life Puzzles and Scenes from the Family Archive: HSE Art and Design School Takes Part in Cosmoscow
The Cosmoscow International Contemporary Art Fair was held in September in the Central Manege. Six graduates and a student of the HSE Art and Design School presented their works at the event. Yulia Yusma, Director of HSE ART GALLERY supervised the projects.
Visitors to the blazar art fair—the first major art event of autumn 2021—had the chance to visit the HSE Art and Design School stand to see works by Aleksandra Walz, Katerina Egorova, Polina Shilkinite, and Andrey Valmus. Another six HSE students and graduates took part as independent artists in the fair, which ran from September 8–12.
The Russian Museum of Ethnography and the HSE Art and Design School St. Petersburg will present an exhibition of works by the school’s students. The HSE OPEN DAYS: Poster, Sign, Book exhibition will run at the museum from September 15–26.
On April 26, on the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, an interactive exhibition was held in the atrium of the Pokrovka complex. Students learned about the history of nuclear power in Russia and how nuclear power works today. In addition, visitors were able to measure the radiation level of their smartphones (spoiler alert: non-life-threatening) and even try their hand at building a nuclear power plant.
On March 16, the HSE Madelstam Centre together with Vladimir Dal State Literature Museum opened a museum dedicated to poet Osip Mandelstam and his wife Nadezhda. Below, HSE News Service talks about the exposition ‘Mandelstam Street: Osip and Nadezhda’.
For Alexey Ryumin, curator of HSE Art and Design School’s track in Animation and Illustration, his current exhibition, which is on display at the HSE ART GALLERY, is his largest and most personal. In the exhibition, the artist presents more than a hundred 3D-printed objects: architectural pieces (frames, doorways, windows, webbing) and their inhabitants—emoji cats, horses, couriers, angels, and nesting dolls. Read on to learn about the concept of the exposition, the nesting dolls, and the Slavic hut.
Noah’s Ark below decks, a utopia about the happy coexistence of all life forms, the universe of tinder-dating — HSE ART GALLERY’s new exposition has turned the gallery into a sound theatre, a mix of fictional and real worlds, where visitors are transported by sound. The unique sound exhibition ‘Sonic Fiction: Designing Sonic Spaces’ was created by students of HSE Art and Design School (of the ‘Sound Art and Sound Design’ Programme and others) as well as famous Russian and foreign artists. The artists and curators told the news service about the concept of the exposition, their work, and sound and neural networks.
On November 10th,HSE ART GALLERY opened an exhibition showcasing pieces by second-year students of the Master’s programme in ‘Contemporary Art’ under the supervision of famous Russian artist, Vladimir Dubossarsky. A special feature of the exhibition is its sound design: all the images are accompanied by compositions of sound artists, most of whom are also students of the HSEArt and Design School. They focused on the theme of forced relationships, the impact of the pandemic on the creative process, and the mixing of art forms.
The works are dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus and VKHUTEMAS—the two main art schools of the 20th century that formed the cradle of the European and Russian avant-garde and world design. The posters, which will be on display at the HSE ART GALLERY until November 1, were designed by nominated artists of the Biennale.
The NOW exhibition, featuring works by alumni of the Design and Contemporary Art profile, will continue its run at the HSE ART GALLERY for one more weekend before it ends on October 11. HSE News Service spoke with the featured artists about how they answered the question ‘Who are we right now?’ and what they would like to convey to viewers with their work.