11.02.2015 – 08.03.2015
WINZAVOD Contemporary Art Center, Moscow
Department of Research Arts is Russia's first inter-disciplinary project bringing together artists, photographers, geographers, anthropologists, architects and urbanists. The project's aim is to study the modern anthropological and geographical processes taking place in Russia using modern artistic practices.
Department of Research Arts project began in September of 2013 with a group exhibition dedicated to the Republic of Udmurtia, part of the Russian Federation. This was followed by a project by Igor Starkov and Daria Andreeva about the village of Kaleval in Karelia (January, 2014) and a group project studying the Moscow region (June, 2014), the territory of the former principality of Muscovy.
In 2015, the Department of Research Arts project received grant support from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
Triumph Gallery and the WINZAVOD Contemporary Art Center now present new exhibitions of the Department of Research Arts project that focus on two neighboring republics in the Volga region — Mari El and Chuvashia. Despite their geographical proximity and the cultural links that have been established between them, the peoples residing in these two areas are very different – ethnically, the Mari are part of the Finno-Ugric group, while the Chuvash are part of the Turkic group, tracing their ancestry back to the Ancient Bulgars. The Mari continue to practice their traditional pagan beliefs, while the Chuvash have been Christianized to a greater extent. The exhibition presents a documentation of the modern life of the Mari and the Chuvash, attempting to define the identity and specific character of the way of life of these peoples in the present day.
The architecture of the exhibition takes as its starting point the fact that the regions neighbor geographically, presenting the Volga River as a key landscaping barrier that defines the interaction between the Mari and the Chuvash. The exhibition will include photographic and video works by artists who have studied Mari El and Chuvashia in 2010–2014, Chuvash and Mari objects of daily life from private collections, artifacts of contemporary city culture, photographs from family archives and the expeditionary photographic journals of Dmitry Doronin (a member of staff at the Institute of Ethnography and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences).
A round table and an excursion featuring leading urbanists, sociologists, anthropologists and photographic artists participating in the project will be held during the exhibition.