The exhibition “48 hours Novosibirsk” at the Galerie im Saalbau shows works by five artists/artist collectives from Siberia. It is a guest contribution from the festival of the same name, a Goethe-Institut project funded by the German Foreign Office and a series of partners from Novosibirsk in partnership with the festival “48 hours Neukölln”. After the artists from Neukölln took part in the Novosibirsk festival, the ‘return match’ is now taking place.
“48 hours Novosibirsk” (48hNSK) is a decentralised and participative festival for contemporary artists which has taken place twice already with latterly more than three hundred artists at more than forty locations in Russia’s third largest city. The project offers the local Novosibirsk scene a platform and networking opportunities with stakeholders in Germany, to counter the marginalisation of contemporary art that is often vilified as being degenerate. Conceptually, the Siberian festival is a location-specific adaptation of the Berlin festival “48 Hours Neukölln”, which has been following a ‘bottom-up’ strategy routed in the independent scene for more than twenty years. Approaches of this kind are particularly relevant in Russia where artistic freedom has been curtailed for many years, particularly at the major institutions, and now hardly exists. Independently organised initiatives are the last precarious bastions for critical discourse and practices.
As a showcase of the Siberian festival, which last took place in 2021 and focused on the topic “survival bias”, the exhibition explores issues of survival. Works are shown that can only be partly presented in Russia to a limited extent or discretely in subcultural locations. Together, they portray a multifaceted image of repression and counter-pressure – snapshots from the time before the war, which throw light on its preconditions from today’s perspective.
It is feared that the festival ‘48 hours Novosibirsk’ was the last major event to take place for the foreseeable future in the independent scene that is now under existential threat. Exile projects such as this exhibition therefore become even more important – also as a reminder to the German public that there is another Russia, far away from the Kremlin.
Curated by Pyotr Zherebtsov and Per Brandt with support by Beatris Wakaresko.
(The Summer Mutations Lab, which produced one of the artistic positions in the exhibition, involved the following people: Tsaplya Olga Egorova, Nina Gasteva, Oxana Timofeeva and Dimitry Vilensky from the collective Chto Delat , as well as Angelina Burliuk, Sasha Antimonov, Nastya Ermish, Mitje Glavanakov, Misha Grishechkin, Nadya Maskina, Sergey Vasilyev and Alina Yusupova)