Closing night: Tuesday 18th March 6.30 – 8.30
Wednesday 23rd April 6.30 – 9.00pm
Video-screening and panel discussion, moderated by Catherine Hemelryk.
In today’s world nationality is a controversial theme. By staging the Walls Exhibition, Pushkin House has embraced the sensitive question of national identity in our globalised age, examining its own remit to promote Russian culture. What is ‘Russian culture’? Should the aim be to protect it? To serve the community? To fight commodification and political manipulation? Or to help Russian culture integrate globally?
Two films will be screened to mark the closing night of the exhibition: 'Irka' by Flavia Müller Medeiros and 'Caryatide' by Elena Kovylina. Each film focuses on different aspects of cultural identity and nationality. Müller Medeiros’s film reveals the trauma of Eastern Europeans who cross the Western border in search of work and new opportunities.
Kovylina's film is metaphorical, combining veins of both irony and optimism, drawing on a number of national clichés - “Great Russia”, “Strong Russian Women” and “Hellenistic traditions inherited by Russian culture”, among others – to explore the state of Russian culture in the post-colonial age.
The films and the exhibition examine the compatibility of national and cultural identity in the era of technology and globalisation. Should we link artistic identity with nationality? Does it influence an artist's practice? Can art in Russia today be categorised as part of the international art world or is it situated within its own set of traditions? Why do we still ask that question? By doing this, do we participate in the process of commodification of nationality? At the same time we understand that our cultural memory, based on the books, films and art we knew as children – is different for each nationality and influences our artistic language. Does this build invisible walls between us?
These questions will be debated by the artists of the exhibition and its curator. The discussion is moderated by artistic director of NN Contemporary Catherine Hemelryk.
The Walls Exhibition runs from 18th March – 25th April 2014, Monday – Saturday 2.00 – 6.00pm.