mercoledì 25 maggio 2011


As part of the Collateral Events of the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia – Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents the multimedia installation STARIE NOVOSTI (OLD NEWS) by Anastasia Khoroshilova.

The installation consists of nine light boxes with nearly life-size portraits of mothers who were taken hostage by terrorists; most of these women saw their children perish in those dreadful days of September.

The project presents Khoroshilova’s critical examination of the transience, pliability and frailty of a society’s collective memory.

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In the fall of 2004 Beslan, a city of 36.000 inhabitants in the Republic of Northern Ossetia- Alania in the Northern Caucasus, Russian Federation, became known worldwide as the
scene of one of the cruellest and most inhumane terrorist acts in the past decades. On September 1, 2004, the first day of that school year, a group of terrorists attacked Beslan's School No. 1 and occupied it for several days.

More than 1.000 hostages were held by the terrorists from September 1 until September 3, 2004 – children, their mothers and their teachers. Over three hundred people died in this monstrous act of terrorism, families were shattered: parents lost their children, children left as orphans. The tragedy radically transformed and lastingly affected the lives of every resident.

However in many instances the moment of society-wide compassion is short lived. So fast is the speed of forgetting the tragedy, that it can be regarded as the betrayal of the victims by the society. Sometimes tragic news only incite "small talk", and are often deleted frommemory very quickly under the flow of new professionally and skilfully “edited” media messages.

STARIE NOVOSTI by Anastasia Khoroshilova deals with transience, pliability and frailty ofthe society´s collective memory – even when this memory is of the fate of thousands of people. The photographs were taken in 2010, when the artist was visiting the inhabitants of Beslan, North-Ossetia (RU), to research the memory loss and collective ephemeralityconcerning this drama. She addresses individuals in order to redirect collectiveconsciousness to the internal scars of people left by the dramatic events. The viewers find themselves at the very centre of these events, between the direct, emotional engagement ofthe women in the photographs, and the incomprehensible unpredictability of the blows of fate that struck them.

“This work, for me, is an opportunity to investigate the mechanisms of memory – collective memory and individual memory. What is the nature of the phenomenon of individual ´exclusion´ - in this case, the victims of the Beslan tragedy? How quickly do individuals delete their own feelings and reactions to events? How quickly does the society delete things that transform its characteristics and alter its structure? How easily, even unconsciously, does society become used to the speed and rhythm of information flow carried in the mass media?” – these are the questions raised by Anastasia Khoroshilova.

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The mixed media installation STARIE NOVOSTI will be displayed at the historic Biblioteca Zenobiana (1777) by Tommaso del Temanza, as part of the Collateral Event of the 54th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia. The charming pastel ceiling frescos ofthe loggia contrast with the nine photographic light boxes, which are reminiscent in form of high-rise architecture and also of military transport containers. International handling marks add an element of transition and limited temporality to the objects on display. Foldable objects that are reminiscent of polyptychs simultaneously show small TV monitors with news footage covering the, by now forgotten, hostage crisis that shocked the world.

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The exhibition STARIE NOVOSTI will be accompanied by the catalogue under the same title. Its publication was made possible by the Ellen Auerbach Stipendium from the Akademie derKünste, Berlin, which Anastasia Khoroshilova received in 2010. The catalogue is publishedin English, German and Italian, and comprises comprehensive illustrations.

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