The 6th Urals Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art announced the curators of the main project, art-residencies, and public program.

The program of the main project will be developed by Chala Ileke and Adnan Yildiz, heading the Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden, and the architect, Assaf Kimmel. The topic of the Biennale 2021 was already announced in May. It is a transformed quotation from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes: “Time to Embrace and Time to Refrain from Embracing”. Touch, the right to touch, body boundaries and standards of interpersonal communication – these concerns undergoing a particularly rapid transformation under new global conditions will be the subjects of reflection. As Alisa Prudnikova, Biennale commissar, shared in spring, the topic had not been originally connected to self-isolation because of the coronavirus, it had been already discussed in January, but after the pandemic, quarantine and psychological problems caused by it, we had decided not to change it, despite of the risk of blaming for “hype”.

The curatorial concept will be inspired by the works of Juhani Pallasmaa, a Finnish architect: “Eyes and Skin: Architecture and Feelings” and “Thinking Hand: Architecture and Existential Wisdom of Being”. According to the press release, curators will experiment with new forms of engagement and explore touch, intimacy and human interaction: “By celebrating the 100th anniversary of Zamyatin’s masterpiece “We” (1921) through Kazimir Malevich’s “Planites” (man-made planets), the curators explore the themes of inhabitation, squatting, hitchhiking, hijacking, transformation and creation of spaces to understand what harm, destruction, isolation, entropy and uncertainty can bring”.

The curatorial team has already worked with large and complex projects. Chala Ileke curated several Berlin Autumn Salons, Maxim Gorky Theater (Berlin) and various gallery exhibitions in Germany. Adnan Yıldız was an artistic director of Kunstlerhaus in Stuttgart from 2011 to 2014, a director of Art Space in New Zealand from 2015 to 2017. He also curated Dialogues program at London Art Fair in 2017–2018. Assaf Kimmel works in Substance & Inhalt. He has architectural projects for Balenciaga fashion house, Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt and Rem Koolhaas’ OMA bureau in New York.

The public program of the Biennale will combine professional and educational directions, curated by Valentina Anufrieva, Dmitry Bezuglov and Daria Malikova. The curator of the art-residencies program will be Vladimir Seleznev.

The Biennale announces an open call for the participation in portfolio review with the curators of the main project from December 8, 2020 to January 15, 2021. Russian artists and authors can apply regardless of their place of residence. Portfolio review of the projects selected by the curators will take place in January. It will start online, then it is planned to be continued offline in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, depending on the epidemiological situation.

The previous 5th Urals Industrial Biennale, which topic was “Immortality”, was held in Yekaterinburg in 2019. Shaoyi Wen was the curator of the main project, as well as of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Her main project “Breaking the Boundaries of Immortality: Toward the Multitudes of the Future” was located at the Urals Optical and Mechanical Plant, being part of the Rostec state corporation. In February 2020, the project was awarded The Art Newspaper Russia Award as “Exhibition of the Year”.

The Urals Industrial Biennale of Contemporary Art is one of the largest international projects in Russia in this field. It is organized by NCCA as a part of the Pushkin National Museum of Fine Arts in Yekaterinburg and the Urals region since 2010.

Sofia Bagdasarova. Source: The Art Newspaper Russia