News from Garage | August 2021




In September we will be opening the next exhibition season. The program includes the first Russian exhibition by Thomas Demand, with contributions from filmmaker and writer Alexander Kluge and architects SANAA, and an international group exhibition entitled Spirit Labor: Duration, Difficulty, and Affect, which explores the segment of contemporary art that is dedicated to investigating and challenging the durational dimension of its agents, from the body of the artist to the act of making and viewing art. Stay tuned for the report on the opening in our next newsletter.

Until then, for the traditional holiday month of August we have put together (as we did last year) a reading list connected to our upcoming and recent projects.




Until August 15, Garage is showing the first solo presentation in Russia of Qatari-American artist, writer, and filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria. It features the video installations Mothership (2017) and Beast Type Song (2019). As a writer, Al-Maria is known for her memoir The Girl Who Fell to Earth (2012). In 2019, she published a volume of collected essays. Titled Sad Sack, it derives from Ursula K. Le Guin’s “carrier bag theory of fiction,” and brings together more than a decade of the artist’s writings. When the book was published, Tank magazine published two excerpts: “Bright Echo” and “Dear Britney (Axis Mundi),” the latter a love letter to Britney Spears, something more poignant now than ever given recent news of the star’s plight.




The forthcoming exhibition by Thomas Demand includes a contribution from the prominent German filmmaker and writer Alexander Kluge. He has collaborated with Demand on a number of projects, including the renowned exhibition The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied, which was organized by Fondazione Prada and took place in Venice in 2017. He has also commented extensively on the artist’s practice. In his in-depth interview with curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, published in e-flux in 2017, Kluge has the following to say about Demand’s work:

“Sometimes only visual art can be seen. The images of Thomas Demand, for example, have a tremendous pull on me. Precisely because nobody can be seen at work. They portray an almost dust-free other nature. And so you imagine the “impure” of reality. An entirely new, self-sufficient form of aura, which isn’t based on autonomy but, on the contrary, on absorption into the other nature. From whose parallel reality we see reality.”

To coincide with the exhibition, Alexander Kluge’s recent book Russland Container will be published in Russian by Garage.




In July Strelka Mag published an article about the project by artists Alyona Shapovalova and Alisa Smorodina for the exhibition Assuming Distance: Speculations, Fakes, and Predictions in the Age of the Coronacene. The project Testing the Ability to Deanthropocentralize. Insect involved a test of deanthropocentralization that was available at particular times and allowed visitors to try out the role of an insect. The test mimicked the structure of language tests like TOEFL or IELTS and thus the artists ironically reproduced the work of tools of migration and bureaucratic control. The article includes a commentary on the work, installation shots, and excerpts from the test materials.




On September 24 and 25, the Museum will hold the 8th Garage International Conference Utopias of (Non)Knowledge: The Museum as a Research Hub. Organized by Sasha Obukhova, curator of Garage Archive Collection, in collaboration with the team of The Garage Journal: Studies in Art, Museums & Culture (Katerina Suverina, Vlad Strukov, and Andrei Zavadski), it refers to a modernist model of a “knowledge utopia,” as described by Jacques Rancière, where all citizens are equal and therefore equally involved in practices of (not) knowing. The conference materials will form part of the upcoming third issue of The Garage Journal, which is titled The Museum as a Research Hub.

As part of the conference curator and cultural historian Dr. Clémentine Deliss, the author of numerous publications on museology and the colonial condition, and of the poetic Manifesto For The Rights Of Access To Colonial Collections Sequestered In Western Europe, will be in conversation with The Garage Journal editor-in-chief Vlad Strukov and will present the Russian translation of her recent book The Metabolic Museum. In this book she offers an intriguing mix of autobiographically-informed novel and conceptual thesis on contemporary art and anthropology, addressing the current controversy around the state of European ethnographic museums. You can read a comprehensive review of the book by Hyperallergic.





The Garage Journal issue 05 "Seeking Sanctuary" is accepting proposals for submissions until September 15, 2021. Edited by The Garage Journal in consultation with Garage curator Iaroslav Volovod issue 05 will focus on finding new ways for postcolonial theory to engage with the world, reflecting on the insights and limitations of the discipline, prioritizing the discussion of the relationship between “the global” and “the intimate” rather than exclusively between “the center” and “the periphery.” You can find out more about the issue and the submission process here.




Until September 30, Garage is accepting applications for the 2021/2022 grant program in support of emerging artists working in the field of contemporary art. The program is open to artists and creative collectives with Russian citizenship, aged 18 to 35 years, and working in the field of contemporary art, regardless of medium and genre. You can find out more about the application process here. The winners will be announced on the Museum’s website on November 10, 2021.

Launched in 2012, the grant program is a key element of the Museum's commitment to fostering and supporting the local art scene. The goal of the program is to provide emerging artists from across Russia with an opportunity to develop their professional skills, expand the scope of their research interests, and become part of the contemporary art process.




For the fourth year running, Garage is working in a strategic partnership with the Moscow International Experimental Film Festival (MIEFF). For the period August 11–17, Garage Screen summer cinema will host the 6th edition of MIEFF. We will show all of the films featured in the festival’s international competition and works on 16mm film by American avant-garde filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky. The closing ceremony on August 16 will also take place at Garage Screen. It will be followed by the Russian premiere of Nova by Chinese artist Cao Fei. The winning films will be screened at Garage Screen on August 17.

The title of the 2021 festival, One Thousand and One Ways to Find Home, reflects both the internal transformation that MIEFF— an autonomous nonprofit organization with horizontal management — has recently undergone and the large-scale challenges that humanity has faced over the past eighteen months. It poses the question: “Can we still easily call the planet, the state or even our own body home?”


CREDITS: Cao Fei, Nova, 2019. Courtesy of the artist, Vitamin Creative Space, and Sprüth Magers; Sophia Al-Maria, Beast Type Song, installation view, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2021. Photo: Ivan Erofeev © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Sad Sack by Sophia Al-Maria, book cover; Thomas Demand. Illustration for the cover of Russland Kontainer by Alexander Kluge, 2004. Courtesy of the artist; Alyona Shapovalova and Alisa Smorodina. Testing the Ability to Deanthropocentralize. Insect, installation view at Assuming Distance: Speculations, Fakes, and Predictions in the Age of the Coronacene, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2021. Photo: Anna Temerina © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Clémentine Deliss. The Metabolic Museum, book cover; Clémentine Deliss. Photo: David Galstyan. Courtesy of Clémentine Deliss; Rasheed Araeen. A Retrospective, installation view, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, 2019. Photo: Alexey Narodizkiy © Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Twin group. Still from Oblivion of the Drone, 2021. Courtesy of the artists; Nathaniel Dorsky, Apricity, 2019. Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York.



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