Russia’s National Center for Contemporary Art honors its own with the Innovation Prize

Installation view of Kutlag Ataman, Küba, 2004. Ural Biennale, Ekaterinburg, 2012.

Installation view of Kutlag Ataman, Küba, 2004. Ural Biennial, Ekaterinburg, 2012.

While the recent death of street artist Pasha 183 has made headlines, this week the Russian art world saw a quieter international reception for two awards ceremonies, split between its two cultural capitals (Your time is coming, Ekaterinburg…) The first was the St Petersburg-based Kuryokhin Prize, which was awarded in honor of Pop Mekhanika composer Sergey Kuryokhin (You can find a primer here, but his most beloved quotes include the assertion that “Lenin was a Mushroom,” and “I want to be Mozart and Michael Jackson at the same time.”)

Victor Alimpiev, still from Vot, 2012

Victor Alimpiev, still from Vot, 2012

As the Kuryokhin Prize tends to recognize the kind of creativity not always featured in the Moscow market, some of the laureates are not as familiar to an international audience. For instance, the top award went to composer Vladimir Rannev‘s opera “Two Acts” and Best Work of Art went to St Petersburg duo Elena Gubanova and Ivan Govorkov, who have recently moved from large-scale abstract paintings to technology-driven total installations. Meanwhile, the award for media went to Victor Alimpiev, whose name should ring more than a few bells, even before he was announced as part of Massimiliano Gioni’s upcoming exhibition at Venice.

Plusch Process of Passing

Installation view of Ivan Plusch, Process of Passing, 2012. Part of the Ural Biennial.

The second award ceremony took place today in Moscow. The Innovation Prize is state-funded by the National Center for Contemporary Art (yes, the organization that pulled off bringing the Ural Biennale to Siberian mines, but has been struggling to build its tower in Moscow.) We provided a run-down on the shortlist in February (which, as we’re not the first to point out, contains a disturbingly high percentage of NCCA-funded projects, including more than a few from the Ural Biennial [Editor’s Note: For those who missed the biennial the first time around, you can read a first-hand account here.] Not that these nominations weren’t deserved, just maybe a bit problematic to only award one’s self.)

Regardless, we are happy to congratulate Ural Biennial curator Iara Boubnova, for her win for Best Curatorial Project, particularly as, as we mentioned earlier, normally a project like this would be shuffled into the “Regional” category. That award, we should add, went to Ilya Dolgov‘s project in Voronezh, a southwestern city that rarely makes it on the map, art-world-wise.

Other honorees included Elena Petrovskaya, who won for Theory, Criticism and Art History for her recent collection of essays examining intersections of art and “society,” in its various constructions; Ivan Plusch – featured in Baibakov Art Projects’ inaugural exhibition, “invasion : evasion” – was honored for his superb installation, The Process of Passing, part of a side-project of the Ural Biennial; and the PROVMYZA Group, who took the top prize for Work of the Year for their staging of the opera Mirage.

Congratulations to all the laureates and nominees!

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4 Responses to Russia’s National Center for Contemporary Art honors its own with the Innovation Prize

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