EXHIBITION in Arkhangelsk

Exhibition poster

A vegetable bed in the gallery.
Audience were planting radishes and watering them during the exhibition.

Our fist summer in the project ended up with the exhibition “Дача – это тело” in the
Museum of Artistic Exploration of the Arctic and held by the Center for Social Innovations: CSI Arkhangelsk.
It started on August,20th and due to the increasing interest of audience were several times prolonged up to October,2nd.

Audio installation in a well ring “sounds of the man-powered ferry that goes to Varjakka Island.
A dacha’s number of Dmirii Melnikov.

That was a story of us coming up with the idea of organizing an exhibition.
Since our project is focused on community-based research we couldn’t plan or expect what kind of art we may create and what may become a result of this journey.
Thus, starting with anything that inspires us every time we stay in Kalinushki we tried various things: organizing our dacha’s space, digging the soil, planting bushes and veggies for the first time in our lives, meeting our neighbors, dancing by fences/well rings/constructions, taking pictures of dachas and interviewing villagers.
And all these along with our theoretical and philosophical discussions about the terms “community-based” and “site-specific art” which can hardly be literally translated in Russian.

From the very first summer we could feel the scale of our potential research.
And in a way being immersed in the processing you may lose your focus and keep switching from one surface to another without going deeper into the subject.
So we decided to set some kind of a deadline: an event to present our work-in-progress by the end of Summer 2021.

While walking around Kalinuska (reminder: there are 1139 dachas in total) we payed attention to the plates with number of every dacha house on it. There is such an amazing viraity of them! And definitely each of them itself is a piece of art: one is hand painted, another is printed, the third one is curved from a wood etc. It was curious to know the story behind each of the plate: how old is it, who made it, why a certain material was chosen..
More than 50 of the number plates were given by villagers to our exhibition and they became a core of it! When we installed them in a white-box gallery each of them became such a strong object. Audience could imagine what king of building this dacha could have, what kind of people would live there, what to they like to do on dacha, what are they planting there?
It was also an exciting process of collecting these plates! Who would say yes or no to our idea and who would remove one’s plate to bring it to the gallery. A lot of communicating with people and introducing of our project and us as artists and same villagers. We hope that next two summers in the project will inspire local community to interact with us more and to be more engaged in a creative process so that we could actually feel the vibes of true “community-based art”!

Besides the number’ plates our exhibition included:
– site-specific dance videos by Elena Gutkina
– audio installation “well-portal to Varjakka” with the sounds of the man-powered ferry that goes to Varjakka Island by John Collingswood
– dance videos by Tanja Roman: “Directions”, “Solo at the house basement”, “Cultivating Energy (Women of Varjakka)” – qigong
– zine “Kalinushka’s numbers” by Elena Gutkina
– newspaper with artist’s interviews by Elena (Lola) Vlasenko
and much more.

Videos by Tanja Raman

The exhibition was opened with dance-performance by Dmitrii Melnikov and Susanna Voiushina accompanied by audio interview where they discuss corporal consciousness during gardening.

Our collective exhibition raised a lot of interest among the audience, both younger and older generations and the head of the Museums Union of Arkhangelsk.

Here you can find a link to local news article about the exhibition:

Various Dacha number plates.

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