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Creative geography Rio de Janeiro, magic city deep within the bay, populated by kind mulattoes, where the majority of citizens wear white pants. «The Golden Calf» by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov An idea of the city is not a city itself. Sense of self in the city is also different from the city. But, paradoxically, no city exists by itself. It lives and breathes through the energy of those who inhabit it; they shape its identity and magnetism, and one day it begins to impose back on them its character and its habits. A city is simultaneously abstract and tangible; it gives and takes, changes others and changes itself. And a city is almost always in motion; it is a source and participant in all kinds of processes. The notion of belonging to a certain place has different impact for different people. It’s hard to say whether the degree of this impact depends on their national background. To some extent “City as a Process” exhibition is trying to answer this question. Sixteen Russian and Brazilian artists in highly individual ways interpret a concept of megacity and their place in it, both as artists and as human beings. For some of them conceptualization of urban processes moves from the particular to the general, for others – vice versa. It shows in the techniques which the artists chose to express their statements. The pieces include photo series, art objects, collages, video, installations and drawings. Crude generalizations about the differences in mentalities are hardly relevant; however, it is possible to trace some tendencies. Most of the Brazilian participants express the concept of process through transience and slow dying of their creations: graphite city is gradually disintegrating under the vibrations of the enclosing space; an ideal city made from paper is destroyed by the audience; a moment in the city life, caught and captured by the post-it stickers installation, gradually crumbles into the “memory pixels”. For the Russian artists, a process is a phenomenon described through artistic projects. This determines serial, cyclic character of the photos, collages, drawings and art objects which instigate a process where not the works of art, but spectators become the main participants – scrutinizing, moving from one work to another and thinking. Despite the difference in interpretations of the concept of process, Russian and Brazilian artists ponder very similar subject matters. The origins and borders of big cities, the interaction between natural elemental forces and rational mind, the urban objects of memory and forgetfulness, the fragment and the whole in the city, monumentality and frailty, body in the urban environment, the place and the individual, private place within megacity, urban movement and transport as its symbol – these are but few themes behind these artists’ works. City is hard to grasp; this is why it will always challenge artists from each and every continent of the Earth. Daria Kostina

Goodbye at the corner I was raised in a neighborhood called Boiúna in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. Between the first year of my life and my twenty-second birthday I lived in a big house with my mother. When I was six, my middle brother died in a motorcycle accident. At the age of twelve, my grandmother left our home and, in the next year, my father separated and married again. My older brother never really lived with us but used to spend the weekends. We were a family of six persons and one day it became a home for two. Every time I visit my mom (since now I live in my own apartment), I remember of my family’s story. On my way to Boiúna, after getting two buses from the Centre or one train and one bus, I always have in mind how my old neighborhood is different. More than that, I notice how this place, that was once so familiar during my childhood, has become strange to me. The Centre that one day was distant is now the place where I have been living for two years already. My first house (now called “my mother’s house”) is visited once a month (when I’m able to do it). The bucolic aspect of one place gave space to the cosmopolitism of another. Cities have the same biological cycle of life. Places are constructed, splitted, renamed and destroyed in the same way that my family members have changed, grown up or even died. It is strange to arrive in Boiúna and see that the colors of the buses have changed or that an old employee of our local market doesn’t work there anymore. These discontinuities demonstrate the ephemeral nature of public and private spaces. Cities are then composed by invisible processes; if a man never steps in the same river twice, a street or a façade is never apprehended with the same understanding for a second time. Even immersed in a world of smartphones, GPS and quickly updated maps, some words written in 1969 by Italian art historian Giulio Carlo Argan about a comparison between the city and Jackson Pollock’s painting are still inspiring. If we could translate visually our individual experience in the urban space we would obtain “some kind of immense map, formed by lines and colorful dots, signs inextricable matted, of apparently arbitraries tracings, interrupts, restarts and, after strange laps, returns to the point from where they left”. To return to the starting point. After kissing and saying goodbye, I walk out of my mother’s house towards the street. After a one minute walk I reach a corner. I stop, look back at her and wave my right hand saying goodbye. I can remember myself doing that from my earliest conscience of the past. I turn left and then the house disappears. I walk towards somewhere. Uncertainty describes this banal walk. It may as well be the last time I may see her face alive. The city can physically separate us but it won’t be able to destroy our love. This exhibition is about turned corners and walked streets, to feel distant and to feel close to History, urbanism or, why not, mythology. We can try to represent spaces through painting, deconstruct them with puzzles, graphite or pieces of paper. Abandoned places can be remembered through photography, monuments can be invented and trees are the basis of wool lines that create fictional maps. Contemporary art give us many possibilities to approach the “city as a process” in Russia or in Brazil. Spaces affect us and we create an existential relation with art. Despite our cultural, architectural and urban singularities, we will always have one thing in common: the goodbye at the corner, this image that is immeasurable, has no register and, apart from our different geographic names, makes us all humans.

Raphael Fonseca

Daniela Seixas “Sand city” (2012)

[during the opening day of the exhibition, the graphite was accidently destroyed by a cleaner that works in the university] [the artist decided to write a poem and put it at the window] [in the following days, one unknown viewer completed her first writing]

“with a blow here one was a plumb city, in the end we are the ones that fall apart, dismantle in ruins�

"we are still in serenity in future and past days with ashes on our heads we are still just in quietness�

Iris Helena “Monuments” (2011/2012)

Felippe Moraes “Division” (2012)

[during the exhibition viewers changed the organization of the logs]

Irina Danilova “City drawings” (2009/2012)

Ivan Chemakin “From Finaval to the North” (2012)

Oleg Elovoy & Dmitry Kunilov “Resettlement of artist” (2001)

Mayana Redin “Biographic tours” (2012)

Oleg Elovoy & Dmitry Kunilov “Resettlement of artist” (2001)

Iris Helena “Public notes” (2012)

Mariana Katona Leal “Urban pores” (2012)

Margarita Khalturina “Minotaurs� (2012)

Luísa Nóbrega “Eject/rewind” (2012)

"nothing else remains, nothing but indiscernible noises, the city has erased my memory. I want to swallow it back, the future collapses in my clumsy hands, like an old fashioned machine. I am the opposite of midas: everything I touch becomes bruised and old. I cannot sleep because of the sounds of the alarms in my ears. plain death appears, obscene, in a large outdoor of unbelievably bad taste. there is no forgiveness for my lack of grace. I am so vulnerable when I drive a car, so dangerous when I enter the subway, the doors open right before my eyes, and I run to catch the first train. It seemed it was not yet too late, but of course it was. someone presses vigorously my right upper arm, I cannot understand their language, they finally let me go. I don't know where to. I have spatial dislexia, my words taste like metal, always too heavy, a stone crusher in a sleeping city, I am always sorry. I wish you could save me"

Iris Helena “Monuments” (2011/2012)

Ivan Chemakin “About Piter on paper” (2012)

Renato Pera “Window Sampaio Moreira (to Max Ernst)” (2011) “Adornment Sampaio Moreira (to Max Ernst)” (2011) “Window Sampaio Moreira (to Max Ernst)” (2011)

[in the first days of the exhibition, the puzzle was almost completed by an unknown viewer]


Sergey Rozhin “When we pay the fare” (2012)

Luísa Nóbrega “The Jacob’s ladder – study number 1” (2012)

Iris Helena “Monuments” (2011/2012)

Fyodor Telkov “Sleeping area” [photography projection] (2011-2012)

Vladimir Seleznyov “Unknown monuments� (2012)

Ivan Grilo “Almost/landscape” (2012)

Daniela Seixas “Sand city” (2012)

[after some days of exhibition, since the city of graphite was almost all destroyed, the administration of the university decided to clean the whole work from the piano]

Margarita Khalturina “Minotaur� (2012)

From “Biennale every day (part 2)” Text by David Beet

I’ve decided to take a walk. Strolling down the university I’ve found a pretty cool exhibition at the Art history faculty. Yes, you’ve heard me right. A pretty cool exhibition. It’s rare for Yekaterinburg and for the faculty in particular. I saw a gigantic photo made of post-it stickers and I felt relieved as my heart melted with joy. It was a Russian Brazilian collaboration “City as a process”.

Everything was made very nice. On the newly painted piano was a city model made of black graphite that was ruined by the hand of one indiscriminate but diligent woman-cleaner. Also there were houses made of piles of notepapers, funny juxtaposed photos of Yekaterinburg city monuments and even instructions what to do with a log. It was cheap but full of life, simple but witty. I even smiled for a few times. It was a victory.


September 25 , 2012.

Brazilian artist Luisa conducted a performance in subway Text by Anastasia Sukhova

Gallery of the Center for Contemporary Culture presents for Biennial works of Russian and Brazilian artists at the exhibition "City as a process." No works are alike. The theme is city as you see it, what you feel when you are walking along the streets, living in an ‘anthill’, listening to the car signals in a traffic jam. These questions are answered by Russian and Brazilian artists. Margarita Khalturina’s "Minotaurs" is considered as one of the most impressive work: she presents herself as a Minotaur, immured in a maze of streets: wool is the body, tubes are the horns of the Minotaur. “Wool is pretty tough material, but it can be nice to someone, while others can feel discomfort. The same with people in the city: someone aren’t oppressed by it, while others are depressed by it”, says exhibition curator Daria Kostina. One of the parts of "City as a process” was a performance "Adject, rewind" by Brazilian artist Louisa Nobrega. She spent the whole day in Yekaterinburg subway with old tape recorder making records of train noises, people’s talk and station announcements. During her performance she sat motionless in a chair for an hour, her head was thrown back while she was slowly "eating" the tape with subway noises. No, she didn’t swallow it, but she chewed it, slowly unrolling the cassette tape. “It was strange and a bit scary”, says Daria Kostina, “but it happened. That’s how the city looks to Louise – containing the idea that not only the city affects a person, but that a person has a greater impact on the city”.


September 28 , 2012.

From “According to the schedule and the city” Text by Sergey Guskov

Upon returning to the city center, we found ourselves at Russian-Brazilian exhibition in the building of the Ural Federal University. Its curators Daria Kostina and Raphael Fonseca arranged a decent, but not a breakthrough exposition. However for educational institutions such an exhibition is always a breakthrough because even in the most progressive ones the administrative and bureaucratic apparatus creates many obstacles for the implementation of such projects. Therefore curators deserve only good words since they chose this difficult way. Among the works I would like to highlight there are two interesting ones. First of them is stacks of sheets, which one can take (Ivan Grilo from Brazil, "Almost / Landscape"). The project, à la Felix Gonzalez-Torres was supplemented by architectural views painted on one side, which disappears while sheets are taken. This trick is clear in general, but in the city full of monuments and historical places (almost every house in the center of Yekaterinburg has memorial plate), installation looked really ambiguous. Not just as a conversation about the feasible demolishing of monuments (precedents exist), but also as a talk about this cultural memory which can be treated in different ways. It can be not just idolizes and worshiped, not just be consumed (most obvious reading of this artwork), but it also can be thrown away with willingness in some circumstances. Today when fighters for "millennial traditions" crawled out from every spider nest, this is doubly topical. Brazilian artist Iris Helena printed on stickers (important stuff for office culture) street view, which opens when the observer is at a crossroad. Absolutely everyday sketches of "non-places", which these passages are (according to the artist), acquires features of disintegrating world, increasing transience due to chosen medium. th

September 29 , 2012.

City as a process  

Photographic documentation of the exhibition CITY AS A PROCESS realized in the URAL FEDERAL UNIVERSITY, in EKATERINBURG, RUSSIA. Curated by...

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