19 September

The first Ural industrial biennial was groping for its identity. The second one – made Ural a center of international art-community attention. The third one – made constructivism the main brand of the region. The fourth made it a step further – mastered a journey in time.

127 participants from 23 countries, 59 routes of “Artist-in-Residence” program to 27 regions, more than 100 hours of educational program events, 2 months of non-stop work  - numbers of the fourth biennial can't help but impress. It seems like these days the whole Ural lives in a contemporary art atmosphere. Could one have imagined this scale ten years ago?

This year the building of the Ural Instrument Making plant (17, Gorky street) has become the main biennial venue. It is in the very center of the city, at the embankment of Iset river and next to Sverdlovsk Region governor’s house. It is here where the main project is stationed – “New literacy” exposition. It occupies almost half of the plant’s space – 6500 square meters.

The topic of this year is “New literacy” and it is dedicated to labor and leisure of tomorrow’s and anticipates changes which are about to happen in social, economic and cultural spheres of our life.

All the exposition consists of peculiar dialogues and cross-talks. At the entrance you can see the Lumiere brothers’ film about workers who exit factories after their working day, then goes installation of art-group from Tagil – the word “Работа” (work) is tailored of different wooden objects. Fyodor Telkov’s classroom with sincere opinions of pupils about their teachers, classmates and life in general are engraved on their school desks. Here you can see a film of Finnish artist Pilvi Takala which tells about her one-month project during which she was supposed to go to office like an ordinary office employee but had no computer, papers or other attribute and was just sitting and thinking about her thesis work, but from her colleagues’ perspective she was “doing nothing”.

“Artist-in-Residence” program which occupies another wind of the plant, this year is dedicated to research of the Ural ambience. Ural was perceived by artists through all the sensory organs and divided in separate components: smells, colors, pigments, minerals, crystals. Sound designer Foresteppe combined sounds of plants and nature, distributed them into separate sound tracks and now the exhibition visitor can combine them as he/she pleases, thus creating personal sound landscape of our region. Also there are exhibited paintings made with a pencil the black lead inside of which was extracted in the Urals. The paintings depict industrial life with a pinch of surrealism.

Rudy Deceliere is a Swiss artist who created one of the most impressive installations. The artist found small copper waves at copper anode plant in Kyshtym and hanging them on metal strings, created kind of a sea of copper. With any slight movement they produce a hardly audible buzzing which resembles whispers of industrialism. “Everyone hears here something different. For me it’s a game element, - explains  Rudy. – I always work with copper, I know how to extract sound of it and I am interested in all aspects of this material, wonder how it can resonate”.

A visit to biennial has always been a real adventure. Never knows what waits you in the next room, never guess what message you will see in this or that installation. This time it is an involving trip not only in space, but in time: from the plant’s past – through digital present – to the shores of unpredictable future. Don’t believe the clock hanging in the parlor: the time goes by and besides, in all directions at once.