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Invisible Monsters and Experimental Film: 5th Moscow Biennale Artists Announced

The Aquilizans’ 2008 work, “Project Another Country: Address” is made of items from140 balikbayan boxes which locals had been donating to the pair. Drawing Room Gallery

In June, the 5th Moscow Biennale’s theme, “More Light,” was announced for the first time. On Tuesday, more than 70 contemporary artists and groups whose work will materialize under the bright beams were finally listed.

The project will inhabit the Manege Central Exhibition Hall from Sept. 20 to Oct. 20 and is attracting the 72 artists and art groups from as many as 40 different countries. Some 13 of them are Russian, and about 30 works will be created specifically with Manege in mind. Most are being shown in Russia for the first time, according to the official announcement.

Among those included in the list are architect and sculptor Alexander Brodsky, renowned “Art or Death” artist Valery Koshlyakov, British experimental film-maker Alia Syed and Hungarian-French architect Yona Friedman.

Friedman himself will be presenting an enormous 15 meter by 15 meter structure made of paper and cardboard, an apparently natural follow-up to his “utopian architecture” and mobile architecture ideas behind his earlier work.

A similarly gigantic project will be displayed by Palestinian-born Mona Hatoum, who currently resides in Britain. Her work is described as “a huge spider web strung on a thread of crystal ball constellations,” with the intention being to evoke the sense of an invisible monster. Also in the running will be Indonesian artist Dzhumaadi, who will present a paper entitled “The Woman who Married a Mountain,” which weaves fictional stories with folk legends.

One pairing of foreign artists is creating an installation very specific to Russia. Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan immigrated from the Philippines to Australia, and base their works on studies of peoples’ day-to-day lives. While the end result still remains mysterious, the Biennale Organizing Committee has officially invited anyone who “wishes to participate in the creative process” to relinquish any spare skis or sleds they happen to have lying around.

While the physical presence of light is an underlying theme, “More Light”  refers to “enlightened dialogue,” meaningful activities and finding new ways to mutual understanding through “organization by the artist and the viewer,” Curator Catherine de Seger said in June. The international nature of the event provides a strong setting for the theme.

“The concept of space and time, nowadays, it does not mean that we identify ourselves in a particular ‘here and now.’ In the era of globalization, the perception of time is no longer determined by geography. This is replaced by the ‘global chronotope,’” she stated, according to the organization.

This year’s Biennale of Contemporary Art will cost about 90 million rubles, which is some 2.3 million euros. Initially established by the Ministry of Culture in 2003, it was first held in 2005, and since then it has continued to take place every other year.

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