Curator Katrin Becker about her concept for III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2012.

Kathrin Becker. Photo courtesy Moscow International Biennial of Young Art

III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2012

Under A Tinsel Sun

July 11 – August 10, 2012

Curator: Katrin Becker

The III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2012, as its forerunners, focuses on a young generation of artists aged up to 35 years. Titled Under A Tinsel Sun and laid out as a multimedia project, it portrays the heterogeneity of subjects, languages and styles, which are so urgent in this generation, and at the same time looks into the content-related positioning of these artists born between the mid-1970s and the mid-1980s, as well as into the conditions for their development in terms of content. Under A Tinsel Sun assumes that, despite the cultural, economic and social differences that may exist between the participants from different countries, there is a common factor in the impossibility of locating oneself by belonging to certain peer groups (whether in the ideological or in the artistic sense).

Cultural science often refers to this as an “almost desperate isolation” (Wolfgang Kaschuba), as the final state of a development in the field of art that had already begun in the mid-1970s, manifesting itself in the end of the historical avant-gardes and in their reassessment as part of a dominant canon. The collapse of ideologies at the end of the 1980s and the dawning of the post-ideological age both play a role within this mesh, as much as the end of the narrative of youth culture representing the universal culture of renewal, induced by the merciless commercial exploitation of the subcultures in the mid-1990s, which in turn coincides with the onset of commercial availability of the World Wide Web in 1994.

In this decisionistic ground state with its infinite possibilities of free decision and development and, as a consequence, with the absence of a “we”, the self-positioning of the (artistic) individual becomes the pressing imperative of the present, especially when being aware of the increasing medialization of the world, the loss of one’s own body and the indistinguishability of what is “real” and what is “fake”. The long established alleged bipolarity between reality and virtuality gives way to the consciousness that also “reality” as such is constructed, subjective and fragmented.

This realization becomes the drive for the artists’ self-positioning and for their production of works that no longer describe the phenomena surrounding them as “objective”, but that aspire to catalyze a multidimensional and alternative perception of the world. Poetic shifts, emotionality, subjective appropriation are the tools, which the artists of this generation operate with, intending to faciliate new ways of seeing.

With this being the focus, Under A Tinsel Sun. The III Moscow International Biennale for Young Art 2012 explores the works of the young generation of artists and presents drawing, painting, photography, video, performance, mixed media, installation and sound art. The exhibition project promotes the critical examination of the conditions for artistic production today. It is accompanied by an extensive publication (in English and Russian, with numerous illustrations, essays and short texts about the participating artists).

Kathrin Becker is a Berlin based curator and writer who currently works as the head of the Video-Forum of the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.).