The Moscow Museum of Modern Art together with the «Free Workshops» MMOMA School of Contemporary Art present an annual MMOMA School exhibition «Workshops`17» which this year is entitled «Over There, Where No One Dreams: from Sacred Geography to Non-Place». The exhibition will show works of the school alumni alongside those of young artists from all over Russia.
Established in 2001 the «Workshop» project has instantly drawn the attention of the professional community. For the period since the school was founded the «Workshop» annual exhibition has transformed into a platform for development of contemporary art, which, to a large extent, helps shape the cultural landscape in Russia.
Throughout these years MMOMA has continuously sought to bring to light new talents, maintain the interest of young people in theoretical and practical aspects of contemporary art, and contribute to promoting the latest artistic trends in Russia. Traditionally exhibition participants are selected on the basis of an open call with submissions welcomed from both young artists who have already garnered a reputation in the art world and yesterday’s students for whom the participation in the «Workshop» exhibition is a first and important step in their artistic career allowing them to forge professional connections and get acquainted with colleagues and, most importantly, the viewer. Bringing to light the potential of young Russian artists, the annual «Workshop» exhibitions have provided an impetus for setting up the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art — an event held once every two years to present in Moscow emerging artists and curators from all over the world.
This year taking as a reference point Mark Auge’s seminal publication «Non Lieux» the curatorial team of the «Workshop» project invites viewers to reflect on the geography of their everyday life and their relations with it. Making use of a variety of media the artists in the exhibition explore the surrounding environment through the notion of «non-place». This notion was introduced by Mark Auge to describe depersonalized places, in which people’s presence is temporary, such as supermarkets, airports, and transport hubs. By analyzing these transient spaces through the events that have taken place in them, traces left there by people and finally people’s feelings for and experiences of these places, the artists touch upon a variety of themes.
The exhibition in MMOMA includes works by more than one hundred artists produced in various media such as audio and video installation, painting, photography and objet trouvé. Along with the spatial theme, one of the main selection criteria was the works’ relevance to contemporary social issues. Most pieces were created in 2016-2017 and some of them specially for the exhibition. Along with a festival of sound-artists and composers which will be held during the show, this year’s novel features include the collaboration with students of the Philosophy Department at the Moscow State University on the development of an education program to accompany the exhibition.
«Over There, Where No One Dreams: from Sacred Geography to Non-Place» presents a certain view on contemporary society by young artists as interpreted through space. The project is also the final trial for this year’s graduates of the MMOMA School. It is for the first time in the history of the «Workshop» exhibition series that graduates of the MMOMA School are taking part in the preparation of the exhibition.
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) was founded in 1999. It is the first state museum in Russia to focus exclusively on 20th and 21st century art. Today the five venues of the museum located in the historical city center play an important role in shaping the Moscow artistic scene. The museum’s collection traces the major milestones of the development of avant-garde art with a special focus on the Russian strand of this movement. The museum’s major priorities include promoting emerging artists, developing its education and publishing programs, as well as programs for people with disabilities.
The «Free Workshops» School of Contemporary Art was set up by the Moscow Museum of Modern Art in 1999 to support curators and young artists embarking on a career in contemporary art. In the school’s program a special focus is made on working with new media and introducing students to the latest artistic currents. Through the organization of students’ group and solo exhibitions the school together with the museum offers support to artists in their career paths and helps shape the contemporary art scene in Russia.