A Guide to the 2nd Garage Triennial & a view of Tomás Saraceno's Moving Atmospheres | GARAGE, September 2020




Over several days in early September, Garage opened the 2nd Garage Triennial and Tomás Saraceno's Moving Atmospheres to the public. The teams behind these two new projects reflect on the installation process and share their first impressions of the completed work.




Iaroslav Volovod, curator
With this breath-taking new piece that Tomás Saraceno created for Garage, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Garage Atrium Commissions—the program that invites artists to develop large-scale site-specific artworks on the ground floor of the Museum. Being visible from the outside, the Atrium Commissions projects often enter into a dialogue with the Museum building and Garage square in front of it. Moving Atmospheres is most remarkable in this respect. I am amazed at the synergy between Saraceno's artwork, a monumental partially mirrored sphere suspended in midair, and the new membranous Garage summer cinema pavilion constructed by sknh architectural studio from Yerevan, Armenia. Certain visual and constructive similarities give the nod to common art-historical sources of inspiration such as Frei Otto or Buckminster Fuller, and art, as usual, traverses geographical and temporal borders swimmingly. Or should I say "flyingly" as in this case with Tomás Saraceno?

Veremyeva Alesya, chief conservator
The installation of this experimental, sophisticated and fragile artwork—more a living creature than a mere object (it even reacts to the changes in air pressure)—was both thrilling and challenging on many levels. Due to the international traveling restrictions, neither the artist nor anyone from the studio was able to come to Moscow for the installation. Thus we were left with the detailed manual, online consultations, and huge responsibility on our hands. The installation took a week and featured work at height, experiment, and the installation team working barefoot while the details of the sphere were put together on the floor covered with protective material.


The new aerosolar sculpture Moving Atmospheres by the renowned Argentinian artist and aeroscene advocate Tomás Saraceno is on view from September 11, 2020 to February 14, 2021.





Anastasia Mityushina, curator
I keep thinking about the amazing creative energy that emerged in the making of the project. To put the exhibition together, we suggested that artists of the 1st Garage Triennial recommend the participants of the 2nd Triennial with no restrictions or requirements for their choice. We did not plan this initially, but apparently, this approach led to a truly open and creative system based on shared responsibility and mutual interest that became the source of this energy. The artists of the 1st Garage Triennial also had to oversee and participate in the working process of their successors. Thanks to this, we were able not only to nourish the existing relationships between the artists, but also create new ones; for example, some artists knew each other but never worked together before the Triennial.

Valentin Diaconov, curator
I've always dreamed of curating a show that would be as random and unpredictable as life. With this Triennial, it finally happened: like in life, we had only limited control of the outcome and had to adapt to many new people, lifestyles, and practices. A durational performance, if you will, instead of analytic choice. 


Katia Barinova, project coordinator
Another personal landmark of mine in the production of the Triennial was when I bought a bus! A real retro vehicle in running condition. I went at night to a furniture factory that I got it from, got the bus towed it to the Museum, and learned many automotive terms on the way. Once at Garage, the bus was torn apart, sawed in half in order to fit onto the lifting platform. Afterward, we hoisted the thing to the second floor and, at last, put it back together as if it always was there. We then turned it into a video installation Northern Hill to Southern Village by Yuri Vasiliev. The jokes about Garage becoming a garage are welcome now.


Anastasia Lesnikova, project coordinator
I vividly remember how we installed the artworks of Mitya Zabelin: Unfinished. Bridge and Unfinished. House of Young Technicians. His projects consist of very thin pieces of paper used for typewriters that had to be fixed directly onto the gallery wall, decorated with original Soviet tiles. This was quite a challenge! We decided to use magnets to fix the sheets to the wall, and several tests were required to decide which glue was safe to use, etc. It took two days of meticulous labor for the installers and Mitya to put together the piece. I loved working with him. It was both interesting and fulfilling.


Anastasia Golovanova, project coordinator
For Kirill Glushchenko's artwork Moscow Lights we needed to create a smaller copy of a cinema in the gallery space. He wanted to construct a replica of Barrikady Cinema—a legendary space and cultural platform in his hometown Kaliningrad which used to host screenings, concerts, and exhibitions. In the 2010s, the ownership of Barrikady was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, and the cinema was demolished. For the screening in this space, he filmed a mockumentary about Glushchenkoizdat—Kirill's small publishing house and longrunning artistic project. The mockumentary is filmed in the rare ratio 21x9 with a professional Soviet LOMO lens and breathes the atmosphere of late Soviet times.


Ekaterina Golovatyuk, architect (studio Grace)
The exhibition project of the 2nd Garage Triennial is based on the curatorial concept, which rejects the top-down expert position in favor of identifying horizontal connections between artists, and promotes the idea of a spontaneous assembly of participants.

The exposed system of relations was graphically presented in the form of a map illustrating the emotional connections between artists through fictional geography. Invented regions and other geographic objects (The Archipelago of Mentors, The Scythe of Fellow Countrymen, The Island of Rivals, The Land of Comrades, and the Reserve of Love), superimposed on the plan of the Museum, united works that were very different in aesthetics and content.

In the Museum space, the regions are separated by "water" made of blocks of white foam. The white "sea" with openwork and delicate edges serves a double function. On the one hand, it delimits the zones of the exhibition, emphasizing the transition from one system of relations to another. On the other hand, it visually unifies the space with many heterogeneous installations into a single clear narrative.

The styrofoam was chosen for the "sea" and the exhibition devices because of its whiteness, lightness, and malleability, but also because it is an industrial material, associated with work-in-progress, testing, and protective cladding. Its texture conveys a sense of cheapness, incompleteness, and informality, remote from any idea of establishment, which is precisely what this Triennial tries to avoid.


The Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art is a regular project organized by Garage to provide representation and support for the local art scene. While the 1st Triennial in 2017 was based on research and focused on the overview of the state and tendencies of art in Russia, including then underrepresented non-central regions, the 2nd edition rejected the expertise-based approach and delegated the selection of participants to artists who participated in the inaugural Triennial in 2017. The 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art. A Beautiful Night for All the People is on view from September 11, 2020 to January 17, 2021.





With the remit and scope of museum practice changing rapidly in the twenty-first century, "The Museum as a Research Hub" special issue (Issue 03, summer 2021) interrogates the role of the museum as a research hub. Edited by The Garage Journal in consultation with Katya Inozemtseva (Garage Museum of Contemporary Art), the publication invites submissions that address the following concerns: How is research integrated into museums' future strategies? How do collaborations among researchers, artists, and curators work? What are the key applications of practice-based research? How does publishing contribute to the research culture within museums? Submissions that share and discuss best practice examples are also encouraged. Find more about the submission process and requirements on The Garage Journal website. The deadline for submissions is October 20, 2020.




The new class of the two-year MA Curatorial Practices in Contemporary Art program run by Garage and the Higher School of Economics started this September. Twelve students from different cities and countries, as well as various academic and professional fields—architecture, journalism, design, economics, cultural studies, and philosophy—have joined the program to be trained as curators and coordinators of exhibition projects. The extensive and varied background of the students is an important feature of this program, as it takes a broader view of the taught professions. This year, Iris Foundation, the founding body of Garage, provided financial support to 50% of newcomers: three of them received grants covering the full cost of the MA program, and the other three, half of the total program cost.




Garage has launched a Limited Editions series that feature artworks produced in a set number of copies, especially for the Museum, which can be purchased at Garage Bookshop. Russian and international contemporary artists, both up-and-coming and well-known, are invited to participate in the project. The Limited Editions series is not tied to the Museum's exhibition program and aims to offer young practitioners an opportunity to test the commercial format of a limited edition series. At the same time, established artists can use the program to produce work affordable for young collectors and art enthusiasts. The first participants of the program are the artists of the 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, Anton Kushaev and Zina Isupova. Part of the profit from the sale of the works will be transferred to Garage Endowment Fund.


CREDITS:Artist Alisa Gorshenina (alice hualice), 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2020. Photo: Anton Donikov © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Tomás Saraceno, Moving Atmospheres, installation view, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2020. Photo: Alexey Narodizkiy © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Yuri Vasiliev, Northern Hill to Southern Village, installation view, 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2020. Photo: Yuri Palmin © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Mitya Zabelin, Unfinished. Bridge and Unfinished. House of Young Technicians, installation view, 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2020. Photo: Ivan Erofeev © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Kirill Glushchenko, Moscow Lights, installation view, 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2020. Photo: Ivan Erofeev © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Anastasia Keineahnung, Plant Reporter, installation view, 2nd Garage Triennial of Russian Contemporary, Moscow, 2020. Photo: Ivan Erofeev, Yuri Palmin © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; MA Curatorial Practices in Contemporary Art, class of 2022. Photo by Svetlana Mishina; Zina Isupova, Books, 2020 (left); Anton Kushaev, from the series Letters Will Be Stars, 2020 (right). Courtesy of the artists



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