Curator: Katerina Chuchalina
The 'Grain' Pavilion, All-Russian Exhibition Center, Moscow 2014
Group show 'ik-00'
Collateral project of the XIV Venice Biennale of Architecture
Casa dei Tre Oci, Judecca 2014
Note. A scientist who recognizes the mundane and the obvious in natural phenomena often turns out to be a charlatan, a wrongheaded researcher. His mistakes become his contribution to science.
Note. The creators of “Star Road” look through the city walls. The pioneers, as they call themselves, have mapped a route across an Italian town Biella in a form of a five-pointed star.
Ist Bergen Assembly 'Monday Begins on Saturday'
Contributors: Anastasia Potemkina, Ekaterina Zavyalova, Alexey Buldakov
Permanenten (Kode 1), Bergen, Norway, 2013
On natural selection in Khoroshevo-Mnevniki district of Moscow. Text from the catalogue of the Ist Bergen Assembly 'Monday Begins on Saturday'.
on the exhibition 'Frontier'
Made by Anastasia Potemkina, Alexey Buldakov
Art&Science Lab, Moscow, 2013
Collective show 'The Way of Enthusiasts'
Collateral project of the XIII Venice Biennale of Architrecture
Contributors: Anastasia Potemkina,
Ekaterina Zavyalova, Alexey Buldakov
Palazzo dei Tre Oci, Judecca, Venice, 2012
Presidium of False Calculations
Contributors: Anastasia Potemkina, Dmitriy
Potemkin, Alexey Buldakov
Museum of Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship, Moscow 2012
The Park of Urban Fauna is dedicated to wild animals for which the city has become a natural habitat.
A sketch of an urban sculpture to be installed in places where pigeons are numerous.
Collateral program of the IV Moscow Biennale
Potemkina, Dmitriy Potemkin, Alexey Buldakov
Art Squat Forum, Mosow 2011
Video by Anastasia Potemkina
Here are the plants that straggle over torn-down buildings and abandoned construction sites. Everything that grows along hoardings, in dirty and noisy places. As we know, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Pieces of bricks, sand, construction waste and rust incite their rapid growth that covers as much space as is on offer. Thorn apple, henbane, nettles, burdock, cocklebur, bitter winter cress, hemp, thistle, dandelion, colt’s foot, beggar-ticks and wormwood.
No man ever sows them, they creep in stealthily and then flourish in construction dust to the rhythm of a jackhammer. They tiller out and bush boldly, with dragon-like aggressiveness, and then burst out in bloom. Sooner or later the construction runs its natural course and the territory is paved or a lawn is established and weeds are done away with. Only abandoned construction or industrial sites can house them for a long time, where even concrete slabs get overgrown. Here, along the hoarding, everything will be removed together with rusty pails and plastic containers. But the roots and seeds will stay hidden in the soil.
The exhibition hall “Grain” mostly houses what we have found in different parts of Moscow along fences and hoardings, on the railway tracks and wastelands. Each district has its own peculiar ruderal weeds. An ambitious construction project (like a dolphinarium) opens up acres of soil, soon covered with straggling greenery. In some parts just a few blades of grass can be found piercing pavement, as well as young birch trees on old roofs of distinguished buildings. To bring them all here was not our goal. This is just a drop in the ocean of wild city flora.
A grain is a potential plant. You can also plant a grain intending to eat the harvest. Ours is not an edible harvest. It is to celebrate the city’s indigenous inhabitants of construction pits and wastelands, their peculiarities in different parts of Moscow and their integral role in urban aesthetics of our city.
Urban Fauna Lab collective
4 September – 30 October, 2014,
opening 3 September, 8 pm
Open times: 11 am – 10 pm
Pavilion №59 «Grain»,
All-Russian Exhibition Center, Mira Avenue 119, Building 59, Moscow
V-A-C Foundation is delighted to present a new project by Urban Fauna Lab collective in the «Grain» pavilion at the All-Russian Exhibition Center. The group is a mulidisciplinary platform conceived to explore parasitic and symbiotic relationships in the urban environment and their associated adaptations. The artists continue their investigation into and problematization of the social and cultural status of animals and plants and their role in history.
Such urban parasites as pigeons and rats, the common nettle and dandelion are at one and the same time in conflict with, and the product of, the city’s cultural environment; staying at the periphery of public attention, they occupy new territories, delimit and occupy environments, or take over the empty spaces which emerge out of urban renovation and development.
Proclaiming equality between all biological species, the artists fill the temple-like grain store of the All-Russian Exhibition Center with invasive flora and undesirable plants, which spread beyond the territory normally allocated to them by humans, and use them as a metaphor for the evolution of any expansive form of life.
The triumph of harvest, the fruition of undesirable plantlife, collected from different districts of Moscow, will unfold in the «Grain» pavilion which was built for the opening of the All-Russian Exhibition Center in 1939. Under the district flags of the city, everyday examples of rampant plant life – common nettle, tarragon, pigweed, burdock, dandelion – will invade the space. Outer Green celebrates harvest and abundance as well as the endless cycle of life and death in the modern age, which thousands of years after the invention of agriculture still creates «blind harvesters», who collect human lives from the battlefields of wars.
The cultivation of domesticated plants is celebrated in the interiors of the «Grain» pavilion: the depictions of potatoes, cabbages, grapes and wheat, etched onto brass-coloured stained glass windows have survived to the present day, whereas the painted murals depicting pastorals on the greenhouse production, fat herds and mirror carp of Mosoblsovnarkhoz (the Regional Economic Council of Moscow Region) have disappeared from the pavilion’s walls without trace. The All-Russian Exhibition Center, originally built to celebrate the technological developments and agricultural achievements of the Soviet era, has since the dissolution of the USSR become a psychedelic flea market. The new life of small businesses was conceived amid the dust and rotten flesh of the former citadel to materialistic ideology. Since then small forms of life, both flora and fauna, have occupied this huge drowned ship. The big and small «mystery plays» prospered here for twenty years among sharks, butterflies and relict fish. Today the All-Russian Exhibition Center faces a new phase of dynamic reconstruction and modernization – and soon this period of history will be buried by yet another layer, and new cultural agents will take over the territory of the Center.
Urban Fauna Lab collective gives free rein to these urban parasites by harvesting these normally undesirable plants. The artists act as a catalyst for the city’s new ‘greening up’ policy, opening up the doors of our built environment to the natural world outside; they thus prepare the ground for bringing the bio-political utopia where cross-species co-habit harmoniously ever nearer.
Urban Fauna Lab is a collective, formed in 2011 in Moscow by the artists Alex Buldakov and Anastasia Potemkina. The group started its work with the project ‘Urban Fauna Zoo’ as part of Art Squat Forum (a special project of the 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art). Since then it has participated in a number of Russian and international exhibitions: ‘The False Calculations Presidium’, Moscow (2012), ‘The Way of Enthusiasts’ as part of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia (2012), ‘Monday Begins on Saturday’, the main project of First Bergen Assembly (2013), and ‘IK-00’, Venice (2014).
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