New York-based residency for Russian artists goes ahead as ‘East-West divide’ intensifies

Untitled, (2019) by Ustina Yakovleva, one of the Russian artists selected to take part in the AES+F artist residency this autumn Courtesy of the artist and ISCP New York.

An artist residency programme sponsored by the Moscow-based art collective AES+F, enabling Russian artists to live and work in New York, is moving ahead after the coronavirus pandemic halted the initiative. The AES+F artist residency award, the first to be organised by Russian artists, was launched earlier this year in collaboration with the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York.

During three-month residency stays, emerging artists from the Russian Federation can access the ISCP studio in East Williamsburg and receive mentoring from the established AES+F art collective, which was founded in 1987.

The Chechen artist Aslan Goisum, the first recipient of the award, was selected by an international jury which included artist Marina Abramovic and Kate Fowle, director of MoMA PS1. Goisum was due to be in residence at ISCP earlier this year but this placement has now been moved to next spring; his films and installations focus on themes such as the colonial legacy of the Russian Empire.

Saint-Petersburg-born artist Polina Kanis and Moscow-born Ustina Yakovleva will meanwhile participate in the programme this autumn, partly on a digital platform. “We will have Kanis participate in the residency virtually from August through October, and Yakovleva participating virtually in August and then physically from September through October,” says Anton Svyatsky, AES+F studio manager and independent curator, who is organising the scheme on the ground in New York.

“ISCP has done a good job creating programming for the virtual residency, essentially running the same programme they would if the residents were there physically, with visiting critics/curators and community-building—less the studio space,” he adds.

International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) New York in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Courtesy of ISCP

The residency is helping young Russian artists get exposure in the West but there is still an East-West divide, says Svyatsky. “The pandemic has forced us to re-think the project. But it feels especially difficult before the US presidential election [scheduled for November]; there is a red threat in the air and Russian artists are not always getting a fair chance,” he adds. Obtaining visas for some of the participating artists is also proving problematic.

The residency is taking place against a fraught background; in 2011, US-Russia relations took a turn for the worse when a US court ruled that Russia Read More – Source

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