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HSE Art and Design School Announces Competition Results, Explores the Art of Photography, and Opens New Exhibition

HSE Art and Design School Announces Competition Results, Explores the Art of Photography, and Opens New Exhibition

© Jiheng Yu

The HSE Art and Design School held three important events in the run-up to the New Year’s holidays: announcing the winners of the second season of the international HSE Creative Open competition, hosting the final lecture of the October–December open lecture season, and launching the Diploma22 graduation project exhibition at the HSE Art Gallery.

The Art and Design School held the HSE Creative Open competition for the second time. The competition serves as a shared platform for original ideas and effective solutions across all the creative industries. It gathers promising projects in the fields of design, fashion, modern art and media selected by leading practitioners and lecturers. The first season featured the categories of ‘Book’, ‘Animation’, ‘Genius of Place’, and ‘3D Character’.

In the second season, the categories were updated and expanded to five fields: ‘Living Interior’, ‘Commercial Interior’, ‘Packaging’, ‘Art Project’, and ‘Photography’. As noted by Alexander Alexeev, Chairman of the competition and head of ‘The Art of Advertising’ at the Art and Design School, the HSE Creative Open competition ‘has an ambition to become the main competition in the creative industries.’ Around 400 works were submitted for the second season. A shortlist was created for each category, after which the winners were selected.

Stepan Bugaev, curator of the ‘Living Interior’ competition category and of ‘Environment and Interior Design’ at the Art and Design School, noted that half of the works submitted to the competition were from students and graduates of the school, while the other half were submitted by those with no connection to it at all. He said that the main requirements for submissions were novelty and originality, as many designers are guilty of copying the work of others and producing work that feels overly familiar.

Alexander Dzhikia, curator of the ‘Commercial Interior’ category and head of ‘Environment and Interior Design’ at the Art and Design School, said that the school has developed a unique style over its ten-year history. This style is recognisable in a huge number of projects in various fields, including those featured in the competition. He highlighted that two of the winners in the ‘Commercial Interior’ category were students of the Art and Design School, which is a testament to the high quality of their training.

Evgeny Kashirin

Evgeny Kashirin, curator of the ‘Packaging’ category and lecturer of the Art and Design School, said that HSE Creative Open was ‘a bold and cool competition where young people can cut loose and cause mayhem.’ ‘The more the competition develops, the more participants there will be from other universities. Overall, we are satisfied. We spent a long time discussing the winners, there were highs and lows, and the finale was totally unpredictable,’ he said.

Leonid Bazhanov

Leonid Bazhanov, member of the jury for the ‘Art Project’ category and Academic Supervisor of the Bachelor’s in Contemporary Art at the school, said that the HSE Creative Open competition was no less important than the Sergey Kuryokhin Contemporary Art Award or the Kandinsky Prize in terms of drawing attention to a new audience. This audience comprises young artists who are only starting to practice their craft and are ‘ready to assert themselves, find their place in the world, and establish themselves in their creative ambitions.’ Alexandra Kuznetsova, jury member for the same category and Academic Supervisor of the Bachelor’s in Design, added that it was difficult to choose the best works submitted.

Pavel Samokhvalov

Pavel Samokhvalov, curator of the ‘Photography’ category and the subject of the same name at the Art and Design School, said that the creators of the works submitted to the competition ‘took different approaches, including metaphor and reportage.’ The scope of the competition was broad, which made it difficult to choose the best works. ‘We almost fought over it during our discussion,’ he said.

The competition’s partner in the category was the company FotoLab, which awarded the winners certificates for its services.

The top three winning submissions can be viewed here (in Russian). According to Alexander Alexeev, the third season of HSE Creative Open is scheduled to be announced in January 2023, with the results to follow in March.

After the award ceremony for the ‘Photography’ category, the final lecture in the October–December open lecture series of the HSE Art and Design School took place. The speaker was Olga Sviblova, curator of more than 500 projects in modern art and photography both in Russia and abroad, screenwriter of several documentaries on Russian art, and founder and director of the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow.

Olga Sviblova spoke about the stages of development of photography from the mid-19th century up to the present day, when it has become a widespread phenomenon in daily life and on social media. She highlighted the fact that photography is an art form made possible by technology. While the ‘photographic landing party’ sent by the British Queen Elizabeth to document the Crimean War in 1860 took up two cannon carts, Kodak cameras at the beginning of the 20th century could capture movement and today, anyone with a smartphone can take high-quality photographs—there is an overabundance of images stored in the cloud.

After the lecture, the HSE Art Gallery opened the Diploma22 exhibition of works by Art and Design School graduates. The exhibition, which will run until February 19, 2023, presents graduation projects by students of the bachelor’s programmes in ‘Contemporary Art’ and ‘Design and Contemporary Art’ from the 2022 academic year. Each piece is a separate statement that has been realised as a personal exhibition in famous spaces throughout Moscow (including the Fabrika Centre for Creative Industries, Winzavod, the Iragui gallery, the JART gallery, the Elektrozavod gallery, the GRAUND Solyanka gallery and workshop, the Khodynka gallery, the Gamma art cluster, and others).

These works demonstrate that their creators can enter the professional contemporary art environment and operate within it. The genres presented are diverse, ranging from installations, video art, photography, graphics and objects. Some of the projects are curated works, while the majority are the artists’ personal projects. The HSE Art Gallery showcases fragments of the projects, as their scale makes it impossible to host every project in full. The exhibition also features books created by students as part of their graduation projects.

Diana Machulina

‘When collecting the graduate projects together, we did not want to be limited to a simple digest, as the HSE Art and Design School is a community that creates internal connections, a spirit of mutual support, and a network of business contacts,’ explained Diana Machulina, curator of the exhibition and lecturer of the HSE Art and Design School. ‘These graduates faced difficult times, first living through the pandemic and the transition to online learning, then doing their graduation projects in 2022, in a different context from when their topics were confirmed in 2021. We would like to think that their artistic intuition paid off and that their statements remain relevant.’

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