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Russia at biennale in Venice

Olga Sobolevskaya, RIA Novosti

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti commentator Olga Sobolevskaya.) – At the 51st International Art Exhibition that opens on June 12 as part of the Venice Biennale, Russia will help visitors catch the wind with their hands.

The project selected for the Russian pavilion – an air and sound installation of artists Sergei Provorov and Galina Myznikova titled "Idiot Wind" – gives the audience an opportunity to surrender to the elements. The sophisticated engineering device, the effort of physics and math professors, generates wind that blows over the visitors with the diligence of a perpetual motion machine and, as the inventors promise, arouses "complicated metaphysical feelings."

The aerodynamic mystical experience is in line with new movements in global art, according to Provorov and Myznikova, a married couple from Nizhny Novgorod. They appeal to "spectators' sensory and psychosomatic perception." In the first sector of the pavilion, a visitor can easily touch the wind, catch it with his hands, but then he "becomes increasingly dependent on the increasing energy of air flows."

The creators recommend that people stay in the experimental flow for no more than two minutes, said Lyubov Saprykina, the pavilion's supervisor and art director of the Nizhny Novgorod State Modern Art Center. After that, psychosomatic emotions can become dangerous.

The title of the installation, "Idiot Wind", is the Russian artists' tribute to Bob Dylan's song. However, the average onlooker may have other associations. The exposition's supervisors say they expect the power of art to produce an "unpredictable result."

Another Russian project at the Biennale is an interactive video installation called "Too Long To Escape." The authors are a group of Moscow artists who call themselves The Escape Program. They say their preferred strategy is art sabotage. The gist is simple: the artists move towards the public at a speed proportional to the number of visitors entering the room. The Russian avant-garde, particularly Kazimir Malevich's Red Cavalry, inspired its creation. They had originally considered staging dialog between an artist and a spectator, but decided the idea wouldn't work.

Other Russians are also participating in the event. Among them are Oleg Kulik, the Blue Noses group and Georgy Puzenkov. The latter, for example, will try to shock the audience with his project "Mona Lisa Goes to Space." But da Vinci's masterpiece enjoys such high praise that art sabotage cannot diminish it.

People have seen Gioconda in the most ridiculous circumstances, like with Salvador Dali's moustache and face or without a face at all. It was also replaced with a grinning skull. Still, this has made the painting no less recognizable or admired. Similarly, Mona Lisa is unlikely to look worse in outer space.

Alexander Zavolokin, deputy head of the Modern Art Department at the Federal Art and Cinema Agency, said modern Russian art is now integrating into global culture.

"The exposition at the Venice Biennale is one of the most important events for the Russian Culture and Mass Communications Ministry," he said. "We are trying to understand who we are and how we look in the world."

Russia will be taking part in the Biennale for the third time. Artists expect the government to invest more in the Russian segment of the exhibition, while the government hopes that the event's highest honor, the Golden Lion, will sooner or later come to Moscow.

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