The day of metallurgy was marked by new openings and records: Satka production site of Magnezit Group has become a part of a big program of the 6th Urals Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art. The grant opening of mural “Reclamation” on the buildings of high-temperature shaft furnace and mirror installation “The rock garden” in Berezovsky quarry was held within the first Biennial route to art-residence’s towns on July 17.

Participants in the route to art-residence in Satka were managers, curators and program coordinators and also guides of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art. The guests made an extraordinary journey: in one day it was possible to visit not only the museum and Magnezit Cultural Center, the exhibition “Rock Samples”, Art-Satka, to admire street art and other sights of the town, but also to visit an active plant and to witness unique events.


The acquaintance of the guests with the Magnezit Group began with sociocultural projects supported by the company in the city and then directly in the plant. Impressed by the scale and beauty of the industrial panorama opened from the viewing platform “Russky Magnezit” guests became acquainted with the unique manufacture of the complex of melted powders “Avangard”. Needless to say about emotions. Literally, every step of the way accompanied by excitement were photographed and videotaped. The peak of admiration was on “exclusive”, the moment of break-up of the periclase block with a breaker boy, as well as the opportunity to photograph with the first received here periclases (block with a talking inscription “Congratulations!” did not need comments) and to hold the finished product in hands. “It’s an incredible miracle! Oh, my God, it’s diamonds! It’s brilliant! It’s amazing!”, a stream of epithets and cues that seemed unstoppable.

One of the main events of the day before holiday took place on the viewing platform of the complex of tight sintered powders “Record”. By embodying industrial achievements and records, it also became an art record holder. Mural created by the artist Andrey Olenev on the buildings of the shaft furnace is the largest in Satka (4,600 square m) and one of the largest in Russia. It is also the first work that was inaugurated in the presence of Magnezit workers and guests of the Satka Art-residence.

"The Biennial routes to art-residence’s towns that we are launching this year take place before the official opening of the Biennial (this year it will take place on October 2). As you can recall, the theme of the 6th Biennial is “Time to Embrace and Time to Refrain from Embracing” and today the whole day feels the embrace of the beautiful town of Satka, the hug of the factory. For more than 10 years, the Urals Industrial Biennial has been experimenting with different scenarios of the interaction of art and production, and we see in it a huge energy, an incredible number of possibilities to connect this amazing, giant scale of industrial production and unique artistic optics", noted Alice Prudnikova, Biennial commissar.

During the work in the residence Andrey visited quarries, production subdivisions, interacted with the Magnezit Group workers and created a collective image of the worker in the painting. Plot center of mural is the hands that protect the plant shoots. The viewer does not see the human face because the character does not fit in the painting frame. Olenev always uses this technique in his works. Character impersonality says that responsibility for the plant does not lie with a specific individual. It is common.

"It’s very exciting to open our first art object created in the art-residence. I am glad that it happened in Satka because exactly this town, Magnezit Group and the Sobranie Fund are partners with whom the Biennial cooperates for many years", said Vladimir Seleznev, manager of the Ural Industrial Biennial Art-Residence at the opening of the mural. "Andrei has created the mural on ecological theme, since we have learned and have seen what modernization goes on Magnezit how the enterprise relates to ecology. There is a program “Million trees”, and it is, precisely, a big responsibility of the enterprise to the town, to nature. In addition to that, there are pieces of magnesite with warm windows cut into them, which is the warmth of the shaft furnaces, the warmth of your work, the warmth that you share with the town". 

On this “warm note” linking Magnezit and the town, art and labor, artist and spectator, the managers of the Biennial noted the importance of creating works of art on active plants, which contributes to the fact that “employees of enterprises increasingly become adepts not only of their profession, but also of contemporary art”.


On the same day, the presentation of the large-scale mirror exposition in the Berezovsky quarry “The Rock Garden” took place. This is a special project of the 6th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art created by painter Vasiliy Konov-Gredin.

"This is the largest work ever created at the Biennial", noted Alice Prudnikova. "We dreamed about creating something exactly in this quarry and are happy that by the 120th anniversary of Magnezit everything has come together, and Vasily has created such an amazing project!"

The project is surprising from the first steps. “Do you see the two mirrors in front of you?”, Vasily started the excursion with question. Despite attempts by the audience to see the second mirror, they saw it only with a hint from the author. A huge circular surface (the diameter of each mirror is 120 cm) literally dissolved, as it reflected almost the same relief and soil in which it was installed. And as the viewer moved through the installation, he made more and more discoveries and got more and more incredible experiences: a waterfall surrounded by mirrors, the sound of falling water and the movement of constantly changing reflections, majestic stone ledges, the result of long years of mining and a gradually growing lake at the bottom of the quarry. And also, the effects that give light, color, shades, “game” and mood of the whole environment and nature itself... It must be seen!

You can visit the art objects joining the routes of the 6th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art (https://uralbiennial.ru/) or contact the Magnezit Museum: +7 (35161) 9-46-84.


The Urals Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art is one of the largest international projects in the field of contemporary art in the regions of the Russian Federation. More than 300 artists from 52 countries participated in the event.

Permanent residential quarters of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art works in Satka for more than five years. And it is not for the first time that Magnezit becomes a place where the biennial participants express their ideas. This time, industry and art are united by industrial architecture. This year’s Art-Residences program takes place in Asbest, Nizhny Tagil, Polevskoy, Sysert and Chernoistochinsk in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, Kyshtym, Satka, Chelyabinsk and Sokol in the Chelyabinsk Oblast.

Source: Magnezitovets. Photo by Vasily Maksimov.