A Joyful Archipelago. Exhibition of young Russian female artists

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© Olga Grotova
A Joyful Archipelago. Exhibition of young Russian female artists
Curated by: Olga Grotova

1 Andrews Road
London E8 4QL
United Kingdom
April 12th, 2012 - April 28th, 2012
Opening: April 12th, 2012 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Guest Projects mixed-media, east london, Russian, emerging artists, storytelling, History, archive installation, political art, activism, freedom of speech video-art, performance, sculpture


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Closed administrative-territorial formations or “closed cities” begun forming in USSR from 1940s onwards as bases for military, industrial or scientific facilities. Those cities had no names, were not shown on maps and access to them was not allowed without proper authorisation. 

A Joyful Archipelago is an exhibition showing works of ten Russian-born female artists, living in London and New York. Each of these artists has already made a name on their own through winning numerous awards and participating in various group and solo shows, however for this exhibition they sought to come together as a collective with a goal to produce their reflection on the events in Russia today. This exhibition comes at a very interesting point in the Russian history and is the first show of new female Russian art of that scale in the UK. 

A starting point for the exhibition is a semi-fictional account of a closed town N. The unique feature of N was the fact that from the very beginning a ban of all mass media communications has been implied in the town, building a wall of communicational isolation around it. The isolation made the residents of N focus on their private self-contained life, where other means of communications have been invented for internal use only. The information in the town began taking on a different form as it possessed a very different speed and density. 

The exhibition is an investigation of the role of community activities in an individual-centred society. The artists will explore life in places with authoritarian regime, world’s history of formation of opposition and governments’ control of mass media. The artists were asked to produce new individual works for the exhibition: each of these works forms a building block for the whole structure. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, which will feature each of the artists’ project and will include writings by a new generation of Russian writers and poets.

The participating artists are: Yelena Popova, Taus Makhacheva, Maria Gruzdeva, Daria Irincheeva,
Natalia Skobeeva, Ariadne Arendt, Elena Gavrisch, Maria Kapajeva, Tatiana Baskakova and Olga Grotova.

The exhibition and the catalogue publication are kindly supported by:

Outset Contemporary Art Fund

The exhibition space is kindly provided by Yinka Shonibare, MBE and his studio as part of Guest Projects initiative:

Guest Projects