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by Julia Bethwaite and Anni Kangas

The Paradoxes of the Biennale

Biennials are characterized by paradoxes. In this article, we focus in particular on the paradoxes of the Russian Pavilion in the Venice Biennale during the years 2011–2015. We identify and detail four different kinds of paradoxes. These are the paradox of the many and the few; the paradox of money; the paradox of power; and the paradox of scale. We suggest that analyzing paradoxes is a necessary part of any attempt to understand the politics of biennials. As biennials attract not only artists and art world actors but also people in positions of political and economic power, it is important to pay attention to the kinds of actions that paradoxes enable or disable in the context of these mega-events of contemporary art.

* * *

Contemporary art biennials are shot through with paradoxes. We argue in this article that paradoxality is a constitutive feature of biennials, not a veil covering their true nature.[1] Appreciating paradoxes is thus a necessary part of any attempt to understand the politics of biennials. In this article, we detail and discuss four paradoxes that we have identified on the basis of our analysis of the Venice Biennale, focusing on its Russian Pavilion in particular: these are the paradox of the many and the few; the paradox of money; the paradox of power; and the paradox of scale. In the following sections, we describe the paradoxical features of the contemporary art biennials and illustrate our argument in the context of the Russian National Pavilion in Venice. The focus is on the Russian Pavilion in 2011, 2013 and 2015, when the pavilion’s commissioner was Stella Kesaeva.

Paradoxes are about “both–and” thinking. This distinguishes them from contradictions and the logic of “either–or.”  Zeno’s arrow is a well-known paradox: while the arrow is flying, it is at rest at every moment of its flight. Both “sides” of a contradiction cannot be true but both sides of a paradox can. “A paradox” as Martin Müller notes, “requires both sides of the opposing statements to be valid and current.”[2] However, research and paradoxes seem to fit badly together. The paradoxality of a phenomenon may feel disturbing, prompting attempts to solve or mitigate the paradox. We have chosen, instead, to dwell on the paradoxicality of biennials. There are at least three reasons for doing this: first, we argue that biennials are powerful because they are paradoxical. Second, paradoxicality can be argued to be a characteristic feature of late modernity more broadly. Third, paradoxes can sensitize us to the inescapable complexity of the social world.[3]

The Paradox of the Many and the Few
Biennials move the art crowd. The 2019 edition of the Venice Biennale was frequented by nearly 600,000 visitors.[4] At the same time, elitism and exclusivity is a significant part of its appeal: “It's Saturday, June 9th. The Venice Biennale will not open to the public until tomorrow. But for the art world, it’s already over,” writes Sarah Thornton in her book Seven Days in the Art World.[5] Indeed, the possibility of being granted access to pre-openings, after-parties on fancy yachts or receiving other kinds of VIP treatment attracts high-ranking gallerists, patrons, sponsors, and state representatives to Venice in early June of odd-numbered years. The more exclusive the venue, the more status is produced by access to it. The paradox here is that such “status-driven” character of the Biennale is highly dependent on the masses, on the appeal and visibility of its “finely tuned tools”—tools that include some, while excluding many others, among the art crowd.[6]

Our argument here is that the very power and appeal of the Biennale derives from its paradoxes—such as the paradox of the many and the few. We also see this paradox being quite successfully mobilized by Stella Kesaeva whose figure provides an entry point to our analysis of the paradoxicality of biennials. Kesaeva is an interesting figure not only as a transnationally connected member of the Russian elite but also as the first commissioner of the Russian Pavilion who was not a representative of a state institution[7]. In 2008, a few years before she was nominated as the commissioner, Kesaeva discussed the role of the Venice Biennale and its parties in making an artist “fashionable to own.”[8] Once an artist is well-known, she suggested, the financialized art market will make sure that only a few can actually own their works.

You have to make a noise that draws attention. In business circles, many important artists who don’t have an immediate visual and aesthetic impact are largely unknown. When you hold a party and the artist appears in the glamour press, he or she becomes known and fashionable to own.[9]

The Biennale’s opening parties draw attention. Already before becoming the commissioner of the Russian Pavilion, Kesaeva was well-known for throwing exclusive parties that were also able to attract the attention of large audiences. For example, in 2007, the opening of the Ruin Russia exhibition, a parallel event of the Biennale, was held at one of the world's most famous luxury hotels, the Hotel Cipriani. This “caviar-accented party”[10] received considerable media coverage—not only because of the exclusive venue but also because of the large number of well-known celebrities from outside of the art world.

However, such “celebrity capital”[11] did not open the doors of the Russian Pavilion for Kesaeva. As many commentators have noted, major political figures and state representatives chose not to attend her parties. According to the New York Times, Kesaeva’s name was not on the guest list of the opening ceremony of the Russian Pavilion in 2007.[12] While able to activate the paradox of the many and the few, her actions still lacked the symbolic capital[13] that the state is able to endow. This had changed in 2009 when Kesaeva’s parallel exhibition The Obscure Object of Art was opened by the Russian Minister of Culture, Alexander Avdeev.[14] The media also reported that at the opening ceremony of the exhibition, minister Avdeev was sitting at the same dinner table with Kesaeva.[15] The following year, in 2010, the gates to the more prestigious and exclusive venues of the Venice Biennale—its national pavilions in the Giardini—were opened to Kesaeva as minister Avdeev appointed her as the commissioner of the Russian Pavilion.

As the commissioner of the national pavilion, Kesaeva continued to throw lavish parties. And the glamour press that she had alluded to years earlier was mobilized to ensure the visibility of these exclusive events. In 2011, Kesaeva chose the relatively widely read lifestyle magazine Tatler as the media partner of the Russian Pavilion. As if to highlight the non-accessibility of these events to the masses reading about them in the media, the opening party of the 2015 Biennale was organized on an island where the guests were taken by boats from the Giardini. The sponsor of the event was PoderNuovo, a vineyard owned by the luxury brand Bulgari. By contrast, after Kesaeva’s term, the vernissage of the Russian Pavilion in 2017 was organized in the Rialto fish market. Access to the urban discotheque did require an invitation, but only velvet ropes separated the area with Beluga vodka bars and a DJ table from outsiders.

The Paradox of Money
The paradox of money describes the tension between art and the market. Biennials are, in many ways, intertwined with the capitalist pursuit of profit. However, purity—or at least a certain distance—from economic interests is considered a quality signal in the field of art. Art’s symbolic value is constituted by autonomy—art’s immunity against attempts of instrumentalization by actors from other fields. Art should respond independently to social conditions.[16] If art is seen as a market commodity, its perceived value in the field of art suffers.

Although one of the initial goals of the Venice Biennale was to create a market for contemporary art, the ban on sales was established in 1968 as a response to charges against the commodification of culture.[17] Despite this, it is quite impossible to distinguish contemporary art from various economic circuits. The Venice Biennale is a foundation charging collateral events €20,000 for participation, which includes the use of the Biennale logo.[18] The economic logic on the basis of which the Biennale operates has also made rental prices of potential exhibition spaces in the city of Venice inaccessible to many less privileged artists or art world actors. According to Artnet News, the rent of an exhibition space during the Biennale could reach half a million euros.[19]

The Venice Biennale is also known to build momentum for art as an investment. It is a powerful value-creating system in the global art market.[20] “Showing in Venice speeds up sales, gets artistic careers going, cranks up price levels and helps artists land a dealer ranked higher in the market’s hierarchy,” as Olav Velthuis argues.[21] This “Venice effect” is built on a paradox: due to its noncommercial nature, the Venice Biennale is a setting that enables demonstrating one’s independence from the market and autonomous interest in art. However, this symbolic capital can be easily converted into economic capital: “So the paradox is that the curator’s resistance to commerce and Venice’s official status as a non-selling event is exactly what makes its quality signals influential in the art market.”[22]

Kesaeva dances around the paradox of money in Venice. According to her critics, access to wealth was the reason Kesaeva gained access to the Russian national pavilion in Venice.[23] In Venice-related articles, she is referred to as “the wife of a billionaire,”[24] “a designer-clad collector,” and “oligarchette.”[25] In 2013, Financial Times characterized Kesaeva as “the wife of tobacco tycoon Igor Kesaev (whose net worth Forbes puts at $2bn)” and as “independently wealthy.”[26] Indeed, during the years 2011–2015, most of the funding for the Russian National Pavilion was channeled through the commercial connections to Igor Kesaev who, among other things, controls a large share of Russia’s cigarette market. In 2011, for example, the sponsors—Igor Kesaev’s Mercury Group together with Japan Tobacco International—funded the Russian National Pavilion with 30 million rubles while the funding from the Russian Ministry of Culture was 10 million rubles.[27]

Curiously, having gained access to the Biennale through the wealth available to her, Kesaeva utilized the Biennale to take distance from market dynamics. The first exhibition Kesaeva commissioned for the Russian Pavilion in 2011 was Empty Zones of Andrei Monastyrski, a key figure of Moscow Conceptualism. In various interviews, Kesaeva emphasizes the non-commercial character of Conceptualism and Monastyrski’s art. She argues that whereas “in the West,” it is the market that defines art, Monastyrski’s art is “fundamentally disconnected from the market economy.”[28] Showing Monastyrski is “not about business,” she argues, “this is about something else, something far more important.”[29] This argument makes sense vis-à-vis the perception of the Biennale as more or less independent from the art market.[30] However, the collection of the Stella Art Foundation consists mostly of the works of Moscow Conceptualists.[31] Eventually, all three editions that Kesaeva commissioned in the Russian National Pavilion in Venice were also devoted to this artistic movement. The paradox here is that exhibiting these artists in the Venice Biennale enabled taking distance from commercial interpretations, which became a quality signal in the art market and also increased the appreciation and economic value of Kesaeva’s collection.[32]

The Paradox of Power
The paradox of power touches upon the fact that in the biennial context, criticism of the state increases its symbolic capital. From the perspective of cultural diplomacy or soft power, the national pavilions of the Biennale are expected to boost state power, to increase their attractiveness.[33] Artists may be characterized as “cultural ambassadors.”[34] In the Russian press, echoes of this way of thinking are found in discussions over whether biennial participation can change the international community’s views on Russia.[35] Paradoxically, however, biennials are also discursive sites where the existing structures are questioned and hegemonies challenged. They typically merge elements of political and social activism into their agendas and try to involve actors such as “activist groups and marginalized communities.”[36]

In 2013, the Russian Pavilion exhibited Vadim Zakharov's Danaë. In Lanfranco Aceti’s interpretation, the exhibition with its showers of golden semen—“an orgy of innuendos and a constant flirtatious betrothal with money”—exposed the “patriarchal structures, which are blatantly and vulgarly exhibited in Russia.”[37] According to The Guardian, the 2013 edition of the Russian Pavilion was “courageous” as it presented “a pointed version of the Danaë myth in which an insouciant dictator (of whom it is hard not to think: Putin) sits on a high beam on a saddle, shelling nuts all day while gold coins rain down from a vast shower-head only to be hoisted in buckets by faceless thuggish men in suits.”[38] In the midst of this paradox, the editor of the Russian Kommersant magazine ruminated over whether the streams of money falling from the sky should be regarded as self-irony or as a flurry: “Whatever the artist's intention is, any art displayed on a wall that reads ‘Russia’ is interpreted as a self-portrait of the state.”[39]

At issue in the paradox of power is the belief that critique towards the state—when performed at Venice—can boost state power. An illustration of this is provided by the events of May 8, 2015 when a group of artists and activists occupied the Russian Pavilion and staged a protest against the Russian invasion of Crimea. The #onvacation performance was a carefully designed media spectacle that managed to break through the small circles of the contemporary art world. The performance received a lot of media attention in social and traditional media, where it was framed as “a middle finger to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine.”[40] However, a representative of the Russian National Pavilion drew a different conclusion, suggesting that the protest enriched Irina Nakhova’s installation The Green Pavilion.[41] The paradoxality of a situation where criticism toward the state is seen to boost its power is highlighted by the fact that Igor Kesaev is alleged to own a weapons factory supplying arms to eastern Ukrainian separatists.[42]

The Paradox of Scale
With its national pavilions, the Venice Biennale is firmly embedded into the Westphalian imaginary of the world divided into nation-states. It is often framed as the “Olympic Games of the Art World.”[43] At the same time, however, artists and other art world actors see the Biennale as a platform for taking distance from national framings. The concept of national representation is problematized in practices and discussions surrounding biennials and in arguments in favor of an “aesthetic cosmopolitanism.”[44]

Kesaeva justifies presentation of Moscow Conceptualism in Venice three times in a row by stating that the Biennale is a competition arena for nation-states, and Moscow Conceptualism is a "strong representative of Russia" in this competition.[45] She presents Moscow Conceptualism as a resource that Russia should use to develop into a "superpower of art": "We want the isolation of Russian art to end and it to be taken seriously at the highest international level."[46]

Paradoxically, however, succeeding in this national mission involves distinguishing oneself from forms of (perceived) Russianness. This means, for example, utilizing cultural capital accumulated in the “West.” Nikolai Molok writes that in the Russian Pavilion in 2011, commissioned by Kesaeva, participatory practices and minimalistic aesthetics were emphasized, which made it understandable for a “Western viewer.”[47] In interviews, Stella Kesaeva often highlights experiences of living abroad and establishes a symbolic distinction to the practices of the Russian art world. For example, she says that at vernissages in Russia, wine was served from plastic cups. According to Kesaeva, this approach was surprising to someone who had learned in the "West" that gallerists should present their artists in a "professional and appreciative manner."[48]

The paradox of scale also applies to the curators and artists that Kesaeva chose to work with during her commissionership. The 2011 exhibition was curated by Boris Groys, a Russian-born but New York-based well-known art critic and academic. According to Kesaeva, Groys was chosen as the curator for the reason that he was at the same time “Russian and non-Russian.”[49] Similarly, the works of Vadim Zakharov, the artist of 2013, are argued to carry a transnational nature: "Zakharov ploughed a particular furrow for himself that was not only independent and solitary, but also strikingly transnational in its imperatives and aesthetics."[50] When asked whether his Danaë represents a Russian problematic, Zakharov’s response straddles the paradox of scale:

I don’t think that a national pavilion has to present something specifically national or something that is specific to that country alone. I don't show Russian dolls, ballet, or vodka. What is important to me is the universal view. A universal approach to culture has always been characteristic of the Russian intelligentsia. I have known the Danaë myth since I was at school, and I suppose I relate it as something that belongs to me, somebody Russian, and to the history of culture. The project touches on many questions (including unpleasant questions) about Russia and about all other countries.[51]

The paradox of scale also means that an actor should not be perceived as “too foreign.” When Udo Kittelmann, the then director of the National Gallery in Berlin, was selected to be the curator of the Russian Pavilion in 2013, the selection was considered "radical" and "eyebrow-raising."[52] Kesaeva had to justify the appointment of a foreign curator in reference to the fact that as the Venice Biennale is an “international platform,” it was important to choose a curator who knew the audience’s expectations.[53] Kittelmann’s high position in ArtReview's curatorial rankings (37th in 2012) was “reterritorialized” by suggesting that by tapping into this symbolic capital, Russia would be able to increase the international visibility of its art.[54]

Arguably, the valuation principles (nomoi) of different fields intersect at the Biennale, due to which paradoxes are an integral part of it. Similar to Zeno’s arrow, they make the Biennale fly. For this reason, we did not want to solve the paradoxicality of the Biennale in our analysis. Instead, we threw ourselves into exploring it. We were prompted to do this as exposing the paradoxicality of the art world’s mega-events is not an end in itself. It should rather lead to attentiveness with regard to the kinds of actions that paradoxes enable or disable.[55] What does a capacity or capability to mobilize paradoxes enable the actors involved with these events to achieve? Here, we focused on how Stella Kesaeva, the president of a private art foundation, mobilized paradoxes in her role as the commissioner of the Russian Pavilion in the Venice Biennale and how this enabled her to practice what Bourdieu[56] refers to as “social alchemy”—to, for example, convert economic to symbolic capital and symbolic capital to economic capital.

Posing such questions is important, as the contemporary art biennial has a continuing appeal for people occupying positions of economic or political power. The case of the Russian Pavilion demonstrates this well. In 2017, the pavilion was taken over by an actor close to the state, as Semyon Mikhailovsky, rector of Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, was appointed as the pavilion’s commissioner until 2021. However, Mikhailovsky’s term was interrupted prematurely at the end of 2019. The Russian Ministry of Culture suddenly appointed the director of the V-A-C art foundation, Teresa Mavica—formerly titled as “Kesaeva’s right hand”[57]—as the commissioner for the years 2020 and 2021.[58] The V-A-C Foundation, funded by oligarch Leonid Mikhelson, has a strong presence in Venice, having opened their Venetian headquarters in 2017. Another change occurred in the management of the pavilion. It was announced that for ten years, Smart Art Consultancy will be responsible for the pavilion’s strategic management, including funding and infrastructure.[59] The consultancy is run by Ekaterina Vinokurova and Anastasia Karneeva, former employees of Christie’s. Vinokurova’s and Karneeva’s family ties situate them close to the Russian state. Vinokurova’s father is Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, while Karneeva is a daughter of Rostec’s deputy CEO Nikolai Volobuev, who has a decades-long background of working in the KGB and FSB.[60] The pavilion will be funded by V-A-C’s Mikhelson, one of the richest people in Russia.


Julia Bethwaite is Doctoral Researcher in International Relations in the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland. She explores forms of power in the transnational space of art, and the role of art in international relations. In her doctoral dissertation, she focuses on Venice Biennale and museum diplomacy. Her research interests include practices of cultural diplomacy and international cultural relations, transnational elite networks and interaction of state actors and non-state actors within the field of art.  

Anni Kangas is University Lecturer in International Relations in the Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Finland. Her research interests are in the role of art and popular culture in international relations and global political economy, in particular in aesthetic approaches to the complex interplay of wealth and power. Her research dealing with these issues has previously been published in journals such as New Perspectives, Millennium: Journal of International Studies and Arts & International Affairs. Kangas is the principal investigator of an Academy of Finland funded research project "Assembling postcapitalist international political economy" (325976).


[1] cf. Martin Müller, “Approaching Paradox: Loving and Hating Mega-Events,” Tourism Management 63 (2017): 234–241; Olav Velthuis, “The Venice Effect,” The Art Newspaper (June 2011): 21–24.

[2] Müller, “Approaching Paradox: Loving and Hating Mega-Events,” 236.

[3] Ibid., 234–241, see also Marshall Scott Poole & Andrew H. van de Ven, “Using Paradox to Build Management and Organization Theories,” The Academy of Management Review 14, no. 4 (1989): 562–578.

[4] “The Biennale Arte 2019 Came to a Close, Confirming the Expected 600,000 Visitors,” La Biennale di Venezia, accessed April 20, 2019, https://www.labiennale.org/en/news/biennale-arte-2019-came-close-confirming-expected-600000-visitors.

[5] Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008), 182.

[6] cf. Olav Velthuis, “The Venice Effect.”

[7] See also Julia Bethwaite and Anni Kangas, “Parties, Pavilions and Protests: The Heteronomous World Politics of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale,” New Perspectives 27, no. 2 (2019); Anni Kangas and Julia Bethwaite, “Venäjän Venetsian-paviljongin paradoksaalinen valta,” Idäntutkimus 1 (2019): 23-44.

[8] cf. Pierre Bourdieu, The Field of Cultural Production (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 76–77.

[9] Stella Kesaeva in Margaret Studer, “Russia’s Contemporary Stars,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2008, https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122600981153606177.

[10] Mark Ellwood, “The Oligarchettes,” The New York Times, December 2, 2007, https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/style/tmagazine/02oligarchettes.html.

[11] Olivier Driessens, “Celebrity Capital: Redefining Celebrity Using Field Theory,” Theory and Society 42, no. 5 (2013): 543–560, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11186-013-9202-3.

[12] Ellwood, “The Oligarchettes.”

[13] Pierre Bourdieu, “Rethinking the State: Genesis and Structure of the Bureaucratic Field,” Sociological Theory 12, No. 1 (1994): 8-9.

[14] Veronika Chernysheva, “Uroki russkogo [Russian Classes],” Nezavisimaya Gazeta, June 18, 2009; Bozhena Rynska, “Venetsianskie vytrebenki [Venetian Quirks],” Izvestiya, August 6, 2009; Svetlana Yankina, “Avdeev i Gergiev otkryli vystavsku Stella Art Foundation v Venetsii [Avdeev and Gergiev Opened the Exhibition of the Stella Art Foundation in Venice],” RIA Novosti, June 4, 2009.

[15] e.g. Veronika Chernysheva, “Uroki russkogo [Russian Classes].”

[16] e.g. Dorothee Richter, “New Markets and Forms of Capital in Art,” OnCurating 20 (2013): 51.

[17] Caroline A. Jones, “Biennial Culture: A Longer History,” in The Biennial Reader, eds. Elena Filipovic, Marieke van Hal, and Solveig Øvstebø (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2010), 79.

[18] "58th International Art Exhibition. Procedure for collateral events," Fondazione la Biennale di Venezia, 2018.

[19] Sarah Hyde, “Venice Sees a Boom in Satellite Shows Around the Biennale,” Artnet News, February 8, 2017, https://news.artnet.com/art-world/satellite-show-during-venice-biennale-849362.

[20] e.g. Anna Arut’yunova, Art-rynok v XXI veke: prostranstvo hudozhestvennogo eksperimenta [The Art Market in the 21st Century: A Space of Artistic Experimentation] (Moscow: Izdatel’skii dom Vyshei shkoly ekonomiki, 2015); Velthuis, “The Venice Effect,” 21–24; Victoria L. Rodner and Chloe Preece, “Painting the Nation: Examining the Intersection Between Politics and the Visual Arts Market in Emerging Economies,” Journal of Macromarketing 36, no. 2 (2016): 134, https://doi.org/10.1177/0276146715574775.

[21] Velthuis, ”The Venice Effect,” 22.

[22] Ibid., 23.

[23] Yakut in Claudia Barbieri, “A Russian Guru at Work in Venice,” The New York Times, June 13, 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/arts/14iht-rartstella14.html.

[24] Valerii Igumenov and Galina Zinchenko, “Kak zhena milliardera stala komissarom sovremennogo iskusstvva [How a Wife of a Billionaire Became a Commissioner of Contemporary Art],” Forbes, accessed December 12, 2018, http://www.forbes.ru/forbes-woman/206671-kak-zhena-milliardera-stala-komissaromsovremennogo-iskusstva.

[25] Ellwood, “The Oligarchettes.”

[26] Gareth Harris, “When Money Just Falls From On High,” Financial Times, June 7, 2013, https://www.ft.com/content/b3bd6708-cc73-11e2-9cf7-00144feab7de.

[27] Milena Orlova, “Rossiiski pavilion v Venetsii: chego eto stoit [Russian Pavilion in Venice – What Does It Cost],” The Art Newspaper, May 28, 2013, http://www.theartnewspaper.ru/posts/70/.

[28] Kesaeva in Barbieri, “A Russian Guru at Work in Venice.”

[29] Ibid.

[30] Velthuis, ”The Venice Effect.”

[31] Harris, “When Money Just Falls From On High”; Barbieri, “A Russian Guru at Work in Venice.”

[32] cf. Velthuis, “The Venice Effect,” 23; see also Aleksei Tarkhanov, “Tsvet moskovskogo kontseptualizma [The Colour of Moscow Conceptualism],” Kommersant, August 8, 2015, https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2723363.

[33] e.g. Monica Sassatelli, “Symbolic Production in the Art Biennial: Making Worlds,” Theory, Culture & Society 34, no. 4 (2017): 99, https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276416667199; Lin Zhang and Taj Frazier, “’Playing the Chinese Card’: Globalization and the Aesthetic Strategies of Chinese Contemporary Artists,” International Journal of Cultural Studies 20, no. 6 (2017), 567–584.

[34]  Rodner and Preece, “Painting the Nation,” 134.

[35] e.g. “Tovarishchi po neschastyu [Comrades in Misfortune],” Kommersant, June 8, 2013, https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2207946.

[36] Panos Kompatsiaris, “Curating Resistances: Ambivalences and Potentials of Contemporary Art Biennials,” Communication, Culture & Critique 7, no. 1 (2014): 85, https://doi.org/10.1111/cccr.12039.

[37] Lanfranco Aceti, “The Cultural Body’s Death by a Thousand Cuts: Why Society Is No Longer a Body and Why It Can Be Cut to Pieces,” Journal of Visual Culture 14, no. 2 (2015): 99, https://doi.org/10.1177/1470412915603632.

[38] Tim Adams, “Jeremy Deller’s Visions of England,” The Guardian, June 1, 2013, http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2013/jun/01/jeremy-deller-venice-biennale-interview.

[39] “100 let odinotšestva,” Kommersant, September 19, 2013, https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2277520.

[40] Bibi Deitz, “Art Project ‘#onvacation’ Is a Middle Finger to Russia’s Occupation of Ukraine,” Vice, June 26, 2015, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/avyvn5/art-project-onvacation-tackles-the-russian-occupation-of-ukraine-555; see also “Russian Pavilion at Venice Biennale Occupied by Protesters,” Artforum, May 11, 2015, https://www.artforum.com/news/russian-pavilion-at-venice-biennale-occupied-by-protesters-52125; Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Shaun Walker, “Ukrainian Artists Occupy Russian Pavilion at Venice Biennale,” Guardian, May 8, 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/08/ukrainian-artists-occupy-russian-pavilion-venice-biennale.

[41] Aleksandr Rytov (Director, Stella Art Foundation), interview by author. Moscow, Russia, May 3, 2017.

[42] Vladislav Gordeyev and Denis Puzyrev, “V Kieve zajavili ob obyskah v kompanii rossijanina iz spiska Forbes [Searches in the Company of a Russian From the Forbes List Were Announced in Kiev],” RBK, March 31, 2017, https://www.rbc.ru/politics/31/03/2017/58de172a9a7947b7d42df060.

[43] Simon Sheikh, “Marks of Distinction, Vectors of Possibility: Question for the Biennial,” in The Biennial Reader, 153; see also Monica Sassatelli, “The Biennalization of Art Worlds: The Culture of Cultural Events,” in Handbook of The Sociology of Art and Culture, eds. Laurie Hanquinet and Mike Savage (London: Routledge, 2016), 277–289; George Baker, “The Globalization of the False: A Response to Okwui Enwezor,” in The Biennial Reader, 450–451.

[44] Thierry de Duve, “The Glocal and the Singuniversal,” Third Text 21, No. 6 (2007): 684–685, https://doi.org/10.1080/09528820701761095.

[45] Tatyana Markina, “Stella Kesaeva: ‘Moya missiya – pokazyvat’ nashih za granitsei’ [My Mission Is To Show Ours Abroad],” The Art Newspaper, April 29, 2015; see also Veronika Chernysheva, ”Uroki russkogo [Russian Classes]”; Anastasia Dokuchaeva, “V Venetsii vershat “Vse sudby mira [In Venice All the World’s Futures Are Being Made],” Nezavisimaya Gazeta, May 22, 2015.

[46] “Naznachen kurator rossiiskogo pavilyona na 55-i Venetsianskoi biennale [The Curator of Russian Pavilion at 55th Venice Biennale Has Been Appointed],” Artguide, October 25, 2012, http://artguide.com/news/1808-naznachien-kurator-rossiiskogho-pavil-ona-na-55-i-vienietsianskoi-biiennalie-917.

[47] Nikolai Molok, “2011. 54th Biennale,” in Russian Artists at the Venice Biennale, 1895–2013, ed. Nikolai Molok (Moscow: Stella Art Foundation, 2013), 672.

[48] Mihail Bode, ”Komissar Tiffani [Commissioner Tiffany],” Artkhronika, November 1, 2010, http://artchronika.ru/gorod/комиссар-тиффани.

[49] “Boris Groys, Andrei Monastyrsky, and Collective Actions to Represent Russia at Venice Biennale,” Artforum, November 5, 2010, https://www.artforum.com/news/boris-groys-andrei-monastyrsky-and-collective-actions-to-represent-russia-at-venice-biennale-26555.

[50] Robert N. Cullinan, “Bureaucracy Unbound: Vadim Zakharov’s Archive Fever,” in Vadim Zakharov: Danaë, ed. Udo Kittelmann (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz 2013), 90–97.

[51] Udo Kittelmann and Vadim Zakharov, “Conversation in Berlin, Today,” in Vadim Zakharov: Danaë, 75.

[52] Harris, “When Money Just Falls From On High.”

[53] Zhanna Vasilyeva, “Zolotoi dozhd ot ‘Danai’ [Golden Shower From “Danae”],” Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 30, 2013; Zhanna Vasilyeva, “Oreshki – dlya vseh, monety – dlya prekrasnyh dam [Nuts Are For Everyone, Coins – For Pretty Ladies],” Rossiiskaya Gazeta, May 31, 2013.

[54] “Kurirovat’ russkii pavilyon v Venetsii 2013 budet Udo Kittelman [Udo Kittelman Will Curate Russian Pavilion In Venice In 2013],” Rossiiskaya Gazeta, October 26, 2012.

[55] cf. Müller, “Approaching Paradox: Loving and Hating Mega-Events,” 240.

[56] Pierre Bourdieu, “The Forms of Capital,” in Handbook of Theory and Research of Sociology of Education, ed. J. C. Richardson (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), 248.

[57] Ellwood, “The Oligarchettes.”

[58] ”Tereza Iarochchi Mavika naznachena Komissarom rossiiskogo pavil’ona na Venetsianskoi biennale [Teresa Iarocci Mavica Has Been Appointed As The Commissioner of the Russian Pavilion in Venice Biennale],” Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, November 11, 2019, https://www.mkrf.ru/press/news/tereza_iarochchi_mavika_naznachena_komissarom_rossiyskogo_pavilona_na_venetsianskoy_biennale.

[59] “Press Release,” Russian Pavilion, November 11, 2019, http://www.pavilionrus.com/media/pages/notes/press-release-3/2811592173-1584728831/lms-open-pdf-a4-eng-1.pdf.

[60] “Volobuev Nikolai Anatol’yevich”, Rostec, updated 2020, https://rostec.ru/about/controls/nikolay_volobuev/.

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Issue 46 / June 2020

Contemporary Art Biennales – Our Hegemonic Machines in Times of Emergency

by Ronald Kolb, Shwetal A. Patel, Dorothee Richter

by Daniel Knorr

by Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv

by Delia Popa

by Diana Dulgheru

by Daniel Knorr

by Farid Rakun

by Raqs Media Collective

by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala

by Ekaterina Degot

by Yung Ma

by Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk

by Raluca Voinea

by Răzvan Ion

by Daniel Knorr

by Lara van Meeteren and Bart Wissink

by Raqs Media Collective

by Robert E. D’Souza

By Manifesta 12 Creative Mediators: Bregtje van der Haak, Andrés Jaque, Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, Mirjam Varadinis

WHW in conversation with Omar Kholeif

by Henk Slager

by Vasyl Cherepanyn

by Ksenija Orelj

by Catherine David

by Okwui Enwezor

by Sabeth Buchmann and Ilse Lafer

by Julia Bethwaite and Anni Kangas

by Federica Martini

by Vittoria Martini