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HSE Art and Design School Hosts Stand at Young Contemporary Art Fair

HSE Art and Design School Hosts Stand at Young Contemporary Art Fair

© Daniil Prokofyev

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.

From photography and painting to performance art, video, and installations, students and graduates of the Art and Design School presented a wide range of creative works at the fair for visitors to view and buy.

blazar is Russia’s first young contemporary art fair. An offshoot of the Cosmoscow international contemporary art fair, it showcases independent artists at the beginning of their creative journeys. The 2021 fair featured input from 25 galleries, 12 educational institutions, and 50 independent artists.

This year’s fair marked the first appearance of a dedicated stand for works by students and graduates of HSE University’s Art and Design School.

2020 graduate of the Contemporary Art track Polina Shilkinite presented her Wonderland series at this year’s blazar. She created the series during the lockdown in March 2020. ‘I worked with the subjective feeling of a closed space: it is about loneliness and perception changed by experience,’ she explains. ‘I was inspired by the metaphor from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” where a potion causes the space to expand and contract like a living organism.’

During lockdown, Polina found inspiration in everyday things: familiar patterns in tiles, reflections in mirrors, and light coming through her window from a neighbouring building.

The HSE graduate said that she was happy to take part in blazar thanks to its great atmosphere: ‘I’ve discovered a lot of new and interesting artists. It’s cool that an event like this invites students to take part. You get to see a really wide range of young talent.’

Polina plans to continue her pursuits in modern art in a shared space with several other graduates of Vladimir Dubosarskiy’s Contemporary Art programme. ‘It’s important to us to keep working together like we did in the HSE studios,’ she explains. ‘I’m currently working on several new series of paintings and digital works in the form of collages of found photos and graphics.’

Fourth-year Fashion Photography student Andrey Valmus is the creator of a series called ‘Slowing Down to Flowers’ devoted to overconsumption in the modern world and the preference given to material things over those less tangible. ‘Creative projects like these—whether in photography, art or music—should raise various modern issues and tell others about them,’ he says. ‘I don’t make judgements through my photography. I consider ideas and hope that my work prompts others to do the same.’

The blazar fair is Andrey’s first exhibition: ‘I spent almost all of the first day here. I saw a lot of interesting works and met some new people. I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the exhibition and the sincere, well-intentioned interest in works by young creators.’

Andrey Valmus
© Mitya Lyalin

Design and Contemporary Art graduate Alexandra Walz also presented photographs at the blazar fair. She showcased works from her ‘Y, Z, K’ project, in which each object in the photos represents a universal human experience.

Master’s student Katerina Egorova also examined the properties of photography. Her project entitled ‘tri kati v forme grushi’ (Three Pear-Shaped Katyas) is a detailed self-portrait. She created the work by photographing her body from as many different angles as possible, then transferring the images onto cloth and making a figure out of them.

Katerina Egorova
© Daniil Prokofyev / HSE University

Some students and graduates of the Art and Design School took part in the fair as independent artists. Fourth-year Artist and Curator student Anastasia Livadnova gave an art performance, and Contemporary Art student Alena Astakova presented videos called ‘Stranniki’ (Wanderers). As part of the OSSS group, Design and Contemporary Art student Yasha Maksimenko presented a series of apocalyptic objects made from recycled materials for the Educational Institutions and Independent Artistic Organizations section of the artpogost.art stand. Also featured at the fair was the project ‘Totalnoye sootvetstviye’ (Full Compliance) by Communication Design graduate Anna Sapunova, which is presented at the HSE ONLINE GALLERY. Finally, Photography graduate Zulya Alieva and master’s student Katerina Egorova, who gave a performance, participated as independent artists.

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