Artists News Russian Federation

Russia’s Kandinsky Prize split between two artists

Grisha Bruskin and the AES+F collective share the award for best project of the year

A still from AES+F's Allegoria Sacra

Russia’s €40,000 Kandinsky Prize for project of the year was divided for the first time between two finalists: Grisha Bruskin for his Kafkaesque H-Hour sculpture and the AES+F collective for Allegoria Sacra, the final installment of an epic video trilogy covering Heaven, Hell and Purgatory in the modern world, inspired by the painting of the same name by the Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini.

Pussy Riot, the feminist punk collective that had three members jailed for an unsanctioned performance at Christ the Savior Cathedral earlier this year, was among hundreds of nominees in the prize’s early stages, but did not make the list of finalists.

Bruskin’s installation of disturbing, toy-like sculptures addresses the many manifestations of hate. His acceptance speech was a plea for tolerance, saying that the memory of Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism should serve as a lasting warning. Bruskin, who works in Moscow and New York, also praised the work of the third finalist, the Dagestani-born Aladdin Garunov, whose installation Total Prayer uses prayer carpets and shoes to depict the spirituality and spread of Islam.

Dimitri Venkov won the €10,000 prize for artists 35 years old and under.

The Kandinsky Prize was created by Shalva Breus, a Georgian-born businessman who made a fortune in the Russian paper and pulp industry. The ceremony took place at the Udarnik, a landmark ,Soviet-era cinema that Breus and his ArtChronika Foundation are turning into a museum of contemporary art.

A sculpture from Grisha Bruskin's installation H-Hour
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