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Hermitage Museum cats honoured in portraits

12 August 2013 · St Petersburg
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Among the treasures at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg are the cats who have been guarding the gallery's famous artworks from mice since the mid-18th century. And now, in a show of gratitude towards their feline protectors, the museum has commissioned Uzbek artist Eldar Zakirov to paint the prowling pusses. The result is Cats of the Hermitage, a series of digital oil paintings featuring the cats in Tsarist court costumes.

Around 70 cats guard the grounds of the Hermitage museum, keeping rodents at bay. The tradition was started in 1745 following a decree by Peter the Great's daughter, Empress Elizabeth, who ordered that the biggest cats capable of catching mice be brought over from Kazan. 

Contemporary art festival opens in Samara

12 August 2013
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Performance by Emilie Pischedda,
 Valentin Souquet and 
Nina Souquet from France. Photograph: Anna Korzhova

Artworks exploring methods of communication in, and between, east and west have gone on show at the Shiryaevo Biennale of Contemporary Art, the largest event of its kind in the Samara region in south-eastern Russia.

This year's theme, Screen, will look at communication techniques, such as advertising, in an era of globalisation. Unlike other contemporary art festivals, artists are invited to participate in a two-week experimental art laboratory in the village of Shiryaevo while being immersed in the local environment. During their stay, artists are hosted by residents and encouraged to interact with locals.

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Ilya and Emilia Kabakov curate El Lissitzky exhibition

9 August 2013 · Moscow
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El Lissitzky, Interior Project for the F-Type Residential Cell of a Commune House (1927). Photograph: Collection State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov will curate an exhibition this autumn featuring their own work alongside that of El Lissitzky, a master of Russian avant-garde art. The exhibition, Utopia and Reality, at the Multimedia Art Museum Moscow, will examine the ideological differences between the work of El Lissitzky, who died in 1941, and the Kabakovs.

El Lissitzky strongly believed that an artist could be an agent for good and, as a result, his work was closely associated with the early Soviet utopian project. Along with artist Kazimir Malevich, he designed propaganda posters for the Soviet Union, including most famously Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge.

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Exhibition documents 30 years of Moscow history

8 August 2013 · Moscow
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  • Dancing in Front of the Construction Site (1996). Photograph: Sergei Borisov

  • Moscow (1991). Photograph: Yuri Borisov

  • Festive Decorative Lighting on Kalinsky Avenue, (1979). Photograph: Igor Zotin

  • Rendezvous (1961). Photograph: Leonid Lazarev

  • Three Bridges (1960). Photograph: Naum Granovsky

  • Moscow Swimming Pool (1976). Photograph: Nikolai Rakhmanov

  • Entrance to Rossiaya Hotel (1960). Photograph: Nikolai Rakhmanov

  • By the Monument to the Conquerors of Space (1970). Photograph: Nina Sviridova and Dmitry Vozdvizрenskiy

  • Moving to a New Home (1960). Photograph: Nina Sviridova and Dmitry Vozdvizhenskiy

  • Lubyanka Square (1991). Photograph: Vladimir Filonov

  • Unofficial Trade by Bolshoi Theatre (1992). Photograph: Vladimir Filonov

  • Pigeon fanciers (1971). Photograph: Vladimir Lagranzh

  • Leninsky Avenue (1967). Photograph: Erwin Volkov

  • By Beryozka Store, Gorky Street (1962). Photograph: Yuri Krivonosov

  • Going hunting (1960). Photograph: Yuri Krivonosov

  • Izotop Store on Leninsky Avenue (1960). Photograph: Yuri Krivonosov

A new exhibition of photographs of Moscow from the Sixties to the late Nineties documents the radical changes that took place in the city during this turbulent time. Moscow Stories at the Lumiere Brothers Centre for Photography comprises 280 images covering everything from daily life in the city to historic events.

The exhibition features the work of well-known photographers such as Naum Granovsky, who captured the city’s construction sites as well as the villages of the Moscow region; Nina Sviridova and Dmitry Vozdvizhenskшy, who focused on depicting the lives of young people during the Sixties and Seventies; and Yuri Abramochkin who shot to fame after snapping Yuri Gagarin a month after he was sent to space.

Moscow Stories is the second part of an exhibition that covers 100 years in the city. The first part of the project was presented in 2011 and focused on the diversity of styles in Soviet photography during the first half of the 20th century. The exhibition will run until 8 September.

I Am fashion label launches autumn-winter collection

7 August 2013 · Moscow
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Fashion label I Am has launched its new autumn-winter collection, taking as its inspiration the animal world. The collection features snake print trousers and skirts, finished off with beetle brooches and bird-shaped bracelets. In all, the collection's basic silhouettes are complimented by a simple colour palette of blacks, creams, navy blues, browns and reds. Designer Dasha Samkovich, who founded the brand in 2008, had a raft of prestigious internships under her belt before setting up I Am. They include stints at the Slava Zaitsev fashion house and Moscow label Viva Vox. 

Exhibition celebrating iconic Melnikov House opens in Moscow

7 August 2013 · Moscow
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An exhibition dedicated to Moscow's iconic Melnikov House, a masterpiece of early Soviet avant-garde architecture, has opened at Vkhutemas Gallery. The aim of the exhibition, My Melnikov, is to inform the public about the history and current state of the building, which is in desperate need of restoration.

The building, designed by architect Konstantin Melnikov and completed in 1929, is said to be under threat from neighbouring construction, which has resulted in subsidence and large cracks throughout. In April this year, a group of high-profile architects including Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl and Rem Hoolhaas signed a letter urging for the preservation of Melnikov House.

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Creative industries think tank is to launch in St Petersburg

6 August 2013 · St Petersburg
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The atrium and auditorium of the Hermitage’s new exhibition space in the General Staff Building. Photograph: Igor Simkin

A new think tank focused on the role of the creative industries in Russia is to launch in September. The Calvert Forum is a project of the St Petersburg State University Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) presented in collaboration with the State Hermitage and Calvert 22 Foundation. It aims to explore the role of culture and the creative industries on the rapidly developing economy of Russia, especially its regions.

The think tank will undertake research and host events and seminars bringing together international experts in a bid to provide policy makers with key lessons derived from global best practice. The first Forum event is a public panel discussion which will bring to Saint Petersburg leading figures from Berlin, Russia and the UK to learn lessons from how Germany’s capital transformed itself into a major creative and financial destination. The discussion will take place in the new contemporary art wing of the State Hermitage on 14 September.

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3D photography exhibition opens at New Holland

5 August 2013 · St Petersburg
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  • From the 53.77 series (2012). Courtesy of Pobeda Gallery. Photograph: Mireille Loup

A new exhibition exploring 3D-photography has opened at a pop-up branch of Moscow's Pobeda Gallery on the island of New Holland in St Petersburg. French photographer, filmmaker and writer Mireille Loup's series of photos, 53.77, tells the story of a young girl and boy who share the same space but never interact.

A ghostly feeling permeates all of the images as the subjects inhabit bare and spacious settings, often wearing forlorn facial expressions. However, the cold and grey-toned images come to life as soon as the spectator puts on a pair of 3D glasses.

Loup has had her work included in numerous collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Museu da Imagem in Braga (Portgual) and the Mario Testino collection in paris. The exhibition at the Pobeda Gallery pop-up will run until 16 August. 

Kabakov’s Ship of Tolerance to dock in Moscow’s Gorky Park

5 August 2013 · Moscow
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The Ship of Tolerance (2007), Venice, Italy

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s Ship of Tolerance will arrive at Moscow’s Gorky Park on 7 September after docking in cities in Cuba, the US, Egypt, Italy, Switzerland and the UAE. The 18-metre-long ship is intended to reflect how different cultures understand tolerance; its sails are stitched together from paintings by hundreds of local schoolchildren from different social and ethnic backgrounds. The Kabakovs hope that by helping to create the ship, children around the world will learn about respecting different values and cultures.

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New contemporary art hub opens in Vladivostok

5 August 2013 · Vladivostok
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  • Photograph: Sergei Gorkov for Vash Dosug

  • Photograph: Ilya Tabachenko

  • Photograph: Sergei Gorkov for Vash Dosug

  • Photograph: Sergei Gorkov for Vash Dosug

  • Photograph: Ilya Tabachenko

  • Photograph: Ilya Tabachenko

  • Photograph: Ilya Tabachenko

  • Photograph: Sergei Gorkov for Vash Dosug

A new centre for contemporary art has opened in Vladivostok with the aim of supporting local artists, and promoting dialogue and collaboration between those working in art, design, architecture, film, theatre, music and literature.

Zarya Centre for Contemporary Art will organise exhibitions, art workshops, film screenings, gigs and art therapy sessions to encourage young people living in the far eastern Russian city to explore different artistic styles. In order to reach a wider audience, the gallery is also keen to organise miniature exhibitions that can be transported around the city in suitcases.

Each month for the next year, a young artist under the age of 35 will be given the opportunity to showcase their work at the gallery. At the end of the year, one of the 12 artists will be given a grant to create a new work for Zarya's permanent collection.