The Voice of the Cities
VK Talents Project Exhibition
Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art presented the artworks by winners of The Voice of the Cities amateur and beginning artists competition
More than 100 works by talents from all across the country
Video art and 3D objects, digital and traditional paintings in a single exhibition space
Absolute freedom of self-expression
Erarta Museum and VK Talents reached out to the broad audience of beginner and amateur artists, inviting them to share their thoughts on and visions of city life. The clichéd, journalese-like exhibition title proved to be no bar to getting a genuine feedback. Artists tend to poeticise reality and often discover their creative side while recounting daily experiences.
The hopes and needs of metropolitan dwellers caused a massive upsurge of interest in urban studies inquiring into all kinds of things: from housing development to ambient scent marketing of coffee shops to urban rat populations. Nearly everyone who discusses snow removal, utility bills or traffic jams on social media might qualify as a wannabe urban planner. The exhibition offers ample material for such inquiries.
Two recurring subjects are very evident here. The first one is the apparent ubiquity of large panel system buildings. While some of the artists address the feelings of suffocation and loneliness amid prefabricated slabs, others seek to visually transform the concrete façades of what is their home. Many pictures show LPS blocks ablaze in the setting sun or strewn with iridescent lighted windows at night. The second major theme is St. Petersburg, the most important tourist destination in the country. Its iconic status serves to explain the large number of works depicting the claustrophobic courtyards of its tenement buildings – a site that can only inspire those who have never lived in a room overlooking a firewall or a well courtyard.
What is notable in this regard is that a cityscape is always a portrait, whether of its creator or of the society as a whole, with its customs and attitudes. The show juxtaposes energetic office skyscrapers and flashy malls with elegiac ruins. This is just what is so great about a large-scale group exhibition: it takes us on a journey through several dozen cities all across the country, offering more than a hundred guided walks.