April 3, 2014. Stella Kesaeva, the commissioner of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, announced the appointment of the Russian Pavilion curator at the 56th Biennale. The role will be taken by the independent curator, scholar and critic, Margarita Tupitsyn.
Explaining her choice, Stella Kesaeva said: “In 2015 the Russian Pavilion will show a project by Irina Nakhova, who is an important figure in the history of contemporary Russian art. This will be the first time that a female artist has represented our country at the Venice Biennale with a solo project. The decision to invite Margarita Tupitsyn as curator was taken jointly by Irina Nakhova and myself, shortly after our first discussion of the project. We know Margarita Tupitsyn as the curator, who first organized exhibitions by artists of the Moscow Conceptualist circle outside Russia. Her scholarly and creative activity has been focused on research into Russian art and raising the profile of Russian art in the West. In this sense, we share the same goals. So I am looking forward keenly to the new project by Irina Nakhova, curated by Margarita Tupitsyn. I am confident that it will be an important page in the history of Russian art.”
Starting work on the Russian Pavilion project, Margarita Tupitsyn said: “I am grateful to Stella Kesaeva for inviting me to curate the Russian Pavilion in Venice. I cannot think of a better acknowledgement of my life-time dedication to dissemination of Russian art in the West. I am particularly pleased to collaborate with Irina Nakhova whose work I have admired since mid-1970s and actively exhibited during Perestroika. Like the milieu of the Russian avant-garde, the Moscow Conceptual School is replete with female artists of intellectual vigor and artistic originality. Nakhova’s oeuvre, which has spanned three decades, and encountered diverse political and social climates, has demonstrated an inexhaustible potential for formal innovation and discursive framings. These are manifested in bold shifts of media and the productive collisions between classical and contemporary, high and low, refined and primitive, private and public. In the early 1980s, Nakhova was instrumental in expanding the local discourses of late modernist painting into conceptual and installation practices. The emptiness of her seminal project “Rooms” responded to the void of an institutional support.”
The Venice Biennale will be held from May 9 to November 22, 2015. Okwui Enwezor has been appointed artistic director of the Biennale in 2015. The Russian pavilion was built in 1913 by the architect Alexei Shchusev, who subsequently designed the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow. It stands on the main avenue in the Biennale Gardens, and is one of the oldest buildings there.