Ural Industrial Biennial Announces New Structure and Curator of the 4th Edition

Ural Industrial Biennial

4th Ural Industrial Biennial
Professional Preview: 12 and 13 September 2017
Exhibition: 14 September to 12 November 2017

Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art is one of the largest international projects in contemporary art in the region. It has been organized and conducted every 2 years since 2010 by the National Centre of Contemporary Arts (NCCA) in Yekaterinburg and the Ural region.

In 2017, the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial will be held from 14 September to 12 November in Yekaterinburg and the cities of the Ural region.

Industrial peculiarity of the Urals was reflected powerfully in culture. For the time of the Biennial many symbols of industrialization era that left its mark on the city look – production sites, large factories and businesses facilities – are turned into exhibition halls and stages for theatric actions and performances. It’s not the first time when the unique constructivism architecture sites are actively used by the Biennial as major art spaces. In general, the project has no analogues in the world therefore the industrial Biennial has become an art brand of the Ural region.

The key theme of the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art is “The New Literacy” which is devoted to work and leisure activities in the near future. It anticipates the changes that will soon happen in the social, economic and cultural areas.

In order to select a curator for the main project of the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art the Advisory Council was formed this year. It consists of:

  • Sally Tallant – Director of Liverpool Biennial;
  • Bige Örer – Director of the Istanbul Biennial;
  • Joel Slayton – Executive Director of ZERO1 Biennial (2006, 2008, 2010);
  • Yara Bubnova – an independent curator, director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Sofia, Assistant Director of the National Gallery in Sofia (Sofia, Bulgaria), curator of the main project of the 2nd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art;
  • Biljana Ciric – an independent curator and co-curator of the main project of the 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art;
  • Li Zhenhua – an independent curator and co-curator of the main project of the 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art;
  • Christina Steinbrecher – director of Viennacontemporary;
  • Dmitry Bulatov – curator of the Baltic branch of the National Centre of Contemporary Arts (NCCA-ROSIZO).

As a result the Advisory Council came up with a short list consisting of two out of 12 submitted candidates for the curators of the Biennial Main Project. The final stage of selecting the curator of the Basic Project of the 4th Ural Industrial Biennial was made by Sergey Perov, CEO of ROSIZO, in cooperation with Alisa Prudnikova, the Biennial Commissioner.


Joan Ribas has been selected as the curator coming up with the following concept: “The image as a witness / Capitalistic choreography / Resisting word.” Joan Ribas is an assistant director and chief curator of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal. Previously, he worked as List Visual Arts Center curator at MIT (2009-2013) and Painting Center in New York (2007-2009).

Among his recent projects are group exhibitions “Under the clouds: from paranoia to digital majesty”, Serralves Museum (2015), “Holocene age”, MIT List Center for Visual Arts (2012), Kabul, Tehran, Jenin, MIT List Center for Visual Arts (2010 ), the FAX, Painting Center (2009) and the exhibition of works by Michael Kroeber, Helena Almeida, Otolith Group, Chris Marker, Amalia Pica, Joachim Koester, Akram Zaatari, Otto Pine, Frances Stark, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Rea Morton.

Joan Ribas became a four-time winner of the Prize of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) for the best exhibition (2008-11) and won the award for the best exhibition of Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation (2010). His articles are published in numerous catalogs and such printed editions as Artforum, Mousse, Afterall, The Exhibitionist, Artnews, Frieze and ArtReview. One of his recent books, “Holocene Age” (2015), was published by Sternberg Press. He is also often invited to give lectures in art institutions and organizations around the world. He was teaching at Yale University, School of Visual Arts (New York) and in the School of Design of Rhode Island (RISD).

In order to support the Ural artists, Ural Branch of NCCA in cooperation with the “Sinara” charitable foundation initiated a grant program. The main mission of this program is to help the development of local artistic practices, to develop international dialogue, to help the Ural artists participate in the main Biennial project.

The site of the main project will be selected by the curator during his visit in Yekaterinburg, 11-13 December 2016.

New Structure

The main project is an exhibition in Yekaterinburg, prepared by an international curator and reflecting the key theme of the Biennial.

Art Residencies Program is a tour exhibition around the city with paying visits to the Ural industrial enterprises, public spaces, where art objects including public art will be exhibited.

Biennial Intelligent Platform is the program of meetings, seminars, workshops, laboratories for professionals, students and the general public, including children and young people with scientific and educational purposes.

Biennial Performances platform is a series of performances created specifically for the Biennial for staging including staging in the factory shops.

Special projects are located in various not exhibited spaces and are connected with the key theme of the Biennial and industrial themes too. The “University Biennial” educational program is divided into three internal categories, among which there are:

  • a series of lectures, discussions, film screenings, guided tours;
  • kids program
  • art mediation program established for theoretical and practical preparation of young specialists (art historians, theoreticians of art, culturologists , philosophers, aesthetics specialists, sociologists of art), who will work as art mediators with Biennial visitors during the event.

Collateral program are the projects of Ural cultural institutions, selected by a special advisory council and prepared by the curatorial staff of institutions in accordance with the key theme of the Biennial.

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