Artists “liberate” Moscow advertising billboard

LONDON. Collector Daria Zhukova, the driving force behind the GCCC—Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture—has funded its first off-site project Moscow on the Move. The show features a series of video works by leading international artists, screened publicly 24 hours a day until 22 December.

Curated by the co-director of London's Serpentine Gallery, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, the GCCC has hired a large-scale advertising video billboard, located in central Moscow, to exhibit the films. Fischli and Weiss, Pippilotti Rist and Doug Aitken are among 17 artists involved. The project will also be the Russian premiere for AES&F’s politicised film The Last Riot, which received widespread attention during its screening in the 2007 Venice Biennale.

While many of the other films included also have a political theme, this was not the main criteria for them being chosen. Hans-Ulrich Obrist explains: “We did not want this to be a thematic exhibition that illustrated only one idea.” Politics may not be the impetus for the project but Obrist, and seemingly the artists involved, were aware of the impact showing these films in public would have.

“The political dimension, however loose, of these films has a very different connotation when shown publicly as opposed to in an institution,” says Obrist. “All the artists were incredibly excited to be involved and no-one approached turned the project down.”

On a logistical level the films were chosen from artists who had made works that did not have to be shown with sound. Other aesthetic considerations were also made, because, for example, the work would be screened during both the day and the night. Doug Aitken’s contribution is only screened when snow falls in the city.

Obrist’s idea behind the project concerns the re-appropriation of commercialised space by artists; the aim is that the works are seen freely by the public. “The beauty of this project is that the main cost is the liberation of the billboard from its commercial use. These films can be seen by people in traffic jams, from boats on the river, by those that make a specific visit and by the anonymous man in the street. It is very much ‘art for all’,” Obrist says.

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