PEOPLE AND POLYMERS
Special project for the showcase of contemporary Moscow art Here and Now
Kuskovo Chemical Plant. 1960-70s. Photo from the archive of Irina Protzko © MMOMA Press Service
Date: September 23 — October 31, 2021
Venue: Bolshoy Perovsky Pond, 26B Kuskovskaya str.
Curated by: Nadya Degtyareva
Artist: Kirill Gluschenko
Vadim Sidur Museum and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art together with the Museum of Moscow present the art and research project People and Polymers as part of the Here and Now! citywide review of contemporary Moscow art.
The project revolves around the history of the Kuskovo Chemical Plant, one of the oldest enterprises in Russia, which until 2012 was located on the territory of the modern residential complex Bolshoye Kuskovo in the Novogireevo district of Moscow. People and Polymers is the title of the book by Martyn Vardanyan, director (from 1945 to 1973) of the Kuskov Chemical Plant, published on the occasion of the centenary of the enterprise — one of the pioneers of the industry in the country, who studied under Mendeleev. Today this book, issued in an edition of 20,000 copies, can only be found in the Russian State Library. Nothing remains of the plant itself, once a witness to the emergence of the Perovo and Novogireevo districts and an active participant in their construction and development. In 2012, the construction of the Bolshoye Kuskovo housing complex began on the site of the plant’s buildings. Yet some of the houses and former kindergartens built for the employees of the chemical plant and their families can still be found there. As well as the collective memory of the plant employees and fragmented impressions and images in the minds of residents of the area. The People and Polymers project is an attempt to discern these images against the background of the modern urban landscape. To imagine that hundreds of people who worked at this place, which is no longer there, continue to be a single community.
Archival materials are displayed on outdoor stands arranged in a manner familiar to the Soviet public — factory newspaper. These newspaper stands once used to transform the street into a public place, provoking discussion right on the spot, here and now. In a sense, it is an analogue version of today’s news feeds, which today are read mostly on personal devices. Kirill Gluschenko, the founder and sole employee of the Gluschenkoizdat publishing house, whose activity is largely devoted to the study and rethinking of the heritage of Soviet polygraphic design as well as of the practices and subjects related to it, was appointed artistic editor of the People and Polymers newspaper. One of the project’s objectives is to offer residents and guests of the Bolshoy Kuskovo and the district as a whole to reconstruct the function of the public space: to read news reports from the past daily routine of the plant and discuss them together.
The newspaper also seeks to spark a discussion about the form and status of a contemporary museum, which is seen today as a place for public discussion, education, and community building and development. The museum is an active participant in urban life. Seen from this perspective, the newspaper emerges as a form of museum practice, a means to preserve local memory through the news from the former plant and a way to revitalise public meanings connected with the local community.
Here and Now project is a showcase of contemporary art organised by the Moscow Government, the Museum of Moscow and Moscow City Galleries Network. The project was inaugurated at the Moscow Manezh Central Exhibition Hall. In 2018, the project Here and Now! presented an overview of institutional initiatives in culture projects. In 2019 Here and Now! presents an overview of the city’s art education, introduces visitors to contemporary teaching practices and explores the ways in which they influence life in Moscow.
In 2021 the project for the first time steps out of the exhibition space into the streets and parks. The show will take place from September 7 to October 31, and the art project will feature works by 15 Moscow artists. Its goal is to demonstrate the interaction between art and urban space, to create new landmarks, and to involve Moscow residents in exploring the history and cultural life of different districts of the capital. This year Here and Now! explores at least three fields of public art: sculptural art objects, monumental painting (murals) and media art in augmented reality (AR) format. The media artworks will be available for viewing via Instagram application.
The event program will include more than 20 lectures and discussions with leading experts, researchers and curators in the field of public art, urban environment and architecture, as well as an audio guide and cycling routes around the city.
For detailed information click here.
The Vadim Sidur Museum is a museum of contemporary sculpture in Moscow housing the collection of artworks by Vadim Sidur, a sculptor, artist and poet renowned both in Russia and abroad. The Vadim Sidur Museum is part of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art MMOMA and a cultural link between Novogireevo and Perovo, as it is located at the junction of these two districts, which differ in structure, environment and history. The museum’s collection includes more than 1000 sculptures and graphic works by Vadim Sidur, as well as archival materials and photographs of the sculptor. In addition to the permanent exhibition, which includes the sculptor’s emblematic works, the museum offers the public a program of contemporary art exhibitions, concerts and screenings, master classes, lectures and open discussions. A library dedicated to the history and theory of contemporary culture is freely available to museum visitors, as well as a bookstore and a co-working space.