'Cream of the cream' of Kazan Biennale of Printed Graphics to replenish the funds of State Museum of Fine Arts of Tatarstan

Khazine gallery presents the best works of printed graphics from around the world

'Cream of the cream' of Kazan Biennale of Printed Graphics to replenish the funds of State Museum of Fine Arts of Tatarstan
Photo: Maksim Platonov

On September 30, the 6th Kazan International Biennale of Printed Graphics 'Horseman' opened at the Khazine National Art Gallery. This year, the motto is the exclamation “Это я! That’s me! C'est moi!” in different languages, because the event is dedicated to the Year of Native Languages and National Unity in Tatarstan.

100 best works will remain in Kazan

Kazan Biennale has been held since 2011. This year, in addition to Russia, 188 artists from 25 countries are taking part in it, seven states joined the competition — exhibition for the first time — Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, South Africa. By Russian participants, as the organisers say, one can study the geography of our country.

The main value of the biennale, according to Rosalia Nurgaleeva, the director of the State Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Tatarstan, is to receive works of artists from different countries in the funds. Moreover, in Kazan there is only a “rundown”, we can say, the graphic “cream of the cream” of the world:

“As a rule, we have 100 authors left on one work. By the way, this does not mean that one work is one painting, it can be triptychs or whole series united by a single meaning. The Biennale is the only project that leaves such tangible traces in Kazan. It gives us the opportunity to collect the thoughts and aspirations of not only artists from neighbouring countries, but from all over the world. Why are there many students at the exhibition? They see firsthand how their graphic colleagues work. For example, in China it is a thin plastic, grace. We see the world not only on the Internet, but “live”. The Biennale will last until December 1, there will be master classes, round table discussions, communication, discussions. It is very important for young artists to know what is being done outside of Kazan, the republic, the country.”

Main value of the biennale, according to Rosalia Nurgaleeva, is to receive works of artists from different countries in the funds

From puppets to airplanes

Rosalia Nurgaleeva says that, expressing their “I”, artists around the world are very worried about the future. This unites them — an optimistic view, but with minor notes. They express themselves in different ways — through portraits, silhouettes, even landscapes, a puppet world and a personal “I” through dresses. In fact, this is a departure from the cruel reality into the world of childhood, where it was safe and joyful. However, such a deep immersion in oneself is also a way to know and experience the “unbearable lightness of being”. Next to the cute “puppets and dresses” we see both open skulls, and faces covered with respirators, and state-of-the-art equipment ... There are no prohibitions for self-expression at the exhibition.

Today, printed graphics have somewhat changed their original purpose — from replicating unique works of painting and graphics, it has turned into a workshop for artistic experiments. At the same time, it uses more and more techniques: engraving and woodcut, etching and lithography, linocut and aquatint, and much more. All this splendor — as many as 212 works — and is now presented in several halls of Khazine.

It is noteworthy that under the terms of the biennale, the winner of last year can arrange his own personal exhibition. However, the winner of 2019 is the teacher of the Kazan Art School, Vera Karaseva, refused a personal opening day to give way to the contestants of this year. But even with this in mind, all the participants could not find place.

Today, printed graphics have somewhat changed their original purpose — from replicating unique works of painting and graphics, it has turned into a workshop for artistic experiments

“Schoolers” will have printing presses and workshops

Another undoubted value of the biennale is the opportunity for Tatarstan youth to touch the global trends in the field of modern printed graphics. It is the students of the Kazan Art School named after. Nikolay Feshin gathered a few hours before the opening of the exhibition for a round table to discuss problems in this area with professionals. According to eyewitnesses, the debates there were heated. They talked about that now we really need spaces — workshops where young artists would have the opportunity to print and experiment... Not every young person can afford to buy a printing press, for example.

“After the renovation of the Karl Marx building is completed, young artists of Kazan will have such an opportunity, since there will be a place, equipment, and, although not very large, but good exhibition areas," Olga Gilmutdinova, the director of the school, told Realnoe Vremya. “It should be noted that the biennale is becoming more diverse and richer every year from the point of view of the presented techniques and artistic points of view. The principle of selection of works is very democratic, young artists, if desired and provided they create a worthy work, even as students have the opportunity to exhibit along with the masters. I like that in most of the works there is the same technical professional skill, which in modern art very often goes by the wayside. In my opinion, it is also interesting that each biennale has its own theme, and it is very interesting to observe how artists reveal it — in different ways, from different points of view and angles, finding new plots and semantic connections. It is very useful for young artists and students to see this.”

The exhibition is open until 7 December.

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Anna Tarletskaya. Photo: Maksim Platonov
Tatarstan