Brief CV
Elena Yaichnikova, born in 1979, is a Moscow-based independent curator and critic. After studying history, literature and art history in Moscow, she participated in an international curatorial training program at the Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble, France. She worked as an arts editor for the Moscow-based magazine Black Square (2009-2010) and was responsible for the public talks and discussions program at the National Center of Contemporary Art in Moscow (2010-2011). Since 2006, she has co-curated (together with Nicolas Audureau) numerous exhibitions in Russia and France, including: Free Party: some examples of free artistic strategies (2006-2007) realized in two parts in Grenoble and Moscow, and RES PUBLICA (Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2010), which was part of the France-Russia Year 2010. She was in charge of Colocation/Living Together, a year-long program of exhibitions and public talks at the project gallery La Box in Bourges, France in (2007-2008). The exhibition 40 Lives of One Space (2009), within a special program of the 3rd Moscow Biennale, was awarded a prize by She is a regular contributor to arts journals in Russia and occasionally writes for international publications.
Curatorial Statement
I believe contemporary art is closely connected to the sphere of utopia in that it proposes we not only analyze the world around us, but are inspired to think about, elaborate and possibly test alternative and unrealized modes of living and thinking. As in a utopia, art can lead us to a cognitive change by allowing us to view something unreal as though it were possible. I am interested in the possibilities of art to influence the way we live, and in the role of the artists and curators as actors intervening within a specific context.
Projects realized (Selection)
RES PUBLICA, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2010: The exhibition made use of the collection at the National Center of Visual Arts of France (Centre national des arts plastiques, CNAP), presented works by artists who understand art as a space of thought and who reflect upon the surrounding social and political reality, as well as our relations to the world. The title refers to the Latin term „res publica,“ or „common business,“ or “people’s business,“ which in antiquity meant the highest value of social importance and is the basis for our contemporary concept of the state and, in a more narrow context, the notion of a republic. The exhibition offered an approach to art as „common business“ and presented a sort of public space where artists shared their views of the surrounding world and its structure, of man and society, of coexistence and shared life. 40 LIVES OF ONE SPACE, within the special program of the 3rd Moscow Biennale, 2009: The exhibition took place at the former chocolate factory “Red October” in Moscow. Within the gentrification process overtaking Moscow, as can be observed in other capitals of the capitalist world, the space of the former “Red October” chocolate factory dangles between a hallowed past and a future yet to be determined. At once it speaks for itself and for all other spaces that lie halfway between vanishing and renewal – each with a life and memory of its own. The works of seven artists featured (Lara Almarcegui, Ilya Budraitskis, Cyprien Gaillard, Aleksandra Galkina, Jiri Kovanda, David Ter-Oganyan, Arseny Zhilyaev) consider the life of spaces in a specific environment – the 158.9 square meters of the Confectionary Hall. Its hanging cables, chipped tiles, mountain of dust and industrial waste will allow its fragile shelf life to be brought to the fore: traces of sociopolitical history, a personal presence, or collective experience to be discovered. COLOCATION [Living Together], La Box gallery, Bourges, France, 2007-2008: The starting point for the program Colocation (Living Together) was a series of invitations to artists to create projects specifically for La Box. Each contribution was integrated into the gallery's space as well as the economic and social context of the city of Bourges, and raised various questions about the nature of artistic actions: the artist's civic and ethical responsibility, reassessment of issues according to context, and place of a specific research in art. Plus, ultimately, the need for coexistence based on the sharing of resources. The curatorial project was accompanied by a bilingual (French/English) publication Colocation with texts by Boris Groys, Hito Steyerl, Marina Grzinic, Viktor Misiano and Irit Rogoff and an archive of the realized artists' projects by David Ter-Oganyan & Ilya Budraitskis, Superflex, Nils Norman, Katerina Seda, Alexey Kallima, Lara Almarcegui.
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