Places / Russia

There Is A Lot To Do in Russia When You Have No Ticket to Sochi…

…Impressions from a Trip to Yekaterinburg

We – especially all those living in Eastern Europe, like Austrians, for example – know the Ural as the border between Europe and Asia. But, in fact, the Ural is a huge region. It is very interesting for its nature and its economic development within the Russian Federation, but also because of its high number of great artists.

Yekaterinburg, the capital of Ural Region, known as as the place where the last Tsar Nikolay II and his family were murdered, today is a stunning place for artists.

A spiral staircase at the Dzerzhinsky Club. Photo: Vova Pomortzeff

A spiral staircase at the Dzerzhinsky Club. Photo: Vova Pomortzeff

Yekaterinburg is one of the Russian cities most rich in constructivist architecture. It has fascinating industrial buildings from Soviet times (Yekaterinburg was and is one of Russia’s most important industrial centers) that inspired Alisa Prudnikova and her team of the National Center for Contemporary Art in Ural Region to create the Biennale of Industry and Art in 2010, which has become one of the most interesting international projects in the Russian contemporary art scene.

It is also the hometown for a number of stunning artists, such as Leonid Tishkov, the artists group “Where Dogs Run”, or Tima Radja from the younger generation.

Leonid Tishkov - Private Moon

Leonid Tishkov – Private Moon

Between visiting studios, museums, and industrial sites I had a great chance to learn about new private project: Sweater Gallery, founded by Alina and her husband. Being artists themselves, they wanted to support the street art scene of Yekaterinburg and establish a meeting point during wintertime, when it is quite freezing in the Ural (during my stay it was minus 35 Celsius). It is a great initiative and and a fantastic space.

There is a lot to see, however four works I liked especially: The metal shields by Tima Radja remind one of the special police forces, and the text carved into these shields are paragraphs from the Russian Constitution, which is celebrating its 20-year jubilee. Another interesting project is the one by Sergey Laushkin, who writes the words “Good” and “Bad” on speed bumps (synonym “sleeping policemen” in English, respectively “lying policemen” in Russian).

Slava PTRK and Vladimir Abikh present a strong and touching work under the title “Street Dirt”: Portraits of homeless people were put on the street with tape and barely visible as the people were walking on them. In this way the street mud outlined the portraits of real people.


Vladimir Krutov (KRITO) was presented, too. Possibly, the most successful street artist of the region dedicated two canvases to the show.

You can find Sweater Gallery on Facebook:

But even better, take a flight and pass by!

Reminder: Next Ural Biennale of Industry and Art: 2015

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