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Wise Advice 
Educational Program of the 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art: ‘A Time for Dreams’ 

18 June 2014 — 10 August 2014


An educated mind distinguishes between the ability to conceive a thought and disagreement with that thought’. Aristotle

Russian contemporary art is still very young. At least, that is true of its audience. Contemporary art was only able to come out of hiding – enforced by its failure to conform to the canons of socialist realism, proclaimed by the ruling political forces – after the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Until the early 1990s ‘Apt-Art’ – ‘apartment art’ that existed in the form of short exhibitions in the artists’ apartments and studios, attended by a limited circle of people – was the main form of existence of Russian contemporary art. The appearance of galleries and exhibition spaces open to the public was therefore revolutionary.

In the first decade that followed, the number of sites allocated to contemporary art was small and mainly limited to Moscow and St. Petersburg. The most recent decade has brought a significant increase in the number of such spaces and expansion of their geography across the map of Russia.

However, while the number of contemporary art exhibitions has steadily grown, the study of contemporary art has lagged behind. Suffice it to say that the Russian education system still offers no graduate program in contemporary art. In the last few years, a number of art institutions have started to fill this gap by offering young artists, critics and curators the opportunity to get a solid educational base in the field. Opportunities to learn proper academic precepts and the use of various analogue and digital tools are now available (at least in Moscow and St. Petersburg), but many young artists feel that they lack the skills to filter the impetus of their creativity and select the right material from their portfolio to present to curators, gallery owners, directors of art institutions or potential sponsors.

The Moscow Biennale for Young Art is a unique opportunity for artists, of all ages and nationalities, to meet other artists and engage with them in open discussions about art. Facilitating discussion is one, if not the main goal of the Biennale’s educational program. A series of informal and lively meet-the-artist talks will help to achieve it. The list of speakers includes acclaimed ‘stars’ – whose advice can open the eyes and the minds of young artists to what is involved in making a career in contemporary art – as well as participants of the Biennale’s main event (David Elliott’s exhibition, ‘A Time for Dreams’) who are now taking their first steps in the field. 


The Educational Programme is divided into four areas (‘Theory’, ‘Strategy Planning’, ‘Exhibiting Art’ and ‘Artists’ Talks’) and offers a series of lectures and seminars throughout the whole duration of the Biennale.

1. Theory

Academic-type lectures examining the historical and philosophical implications of the concept of the main exhibition ‘A Time for Dreaming’, curated by David Elliott, and the legacy of Russian avant-garde (probably the most influential ‘dreamers’ in the history of art). 

2. Strategy Planning

Seminars aimed at helping young artists to improve the way they pitch their ideas and promote their works. These lectures offer valuable guidance on practical questions, such as creating a portfolio, making an effective presentation, defending copyright and applying for funding.

3. Exhibiting Art

Informal talks that examine in detail the practicalities of showing a work to a wide audience. In particular, the lectures examine in depth the differences (and similarities) between being a curator and being an artist.

4. Artists’ Talks

Talks and question & answer sessions led by world-famous artists and by young artist participants of the current and previous Biennales about their artistic paths.


The Educational Program will also include a series of activities for teenagers.

July 2, 2014

On June 24 and 25, 4th Moscow International Biennale for Young Art began. 3069 applications by artists under 35 from 84 countries of the world were submitted for the competition, which lasted from November 2013 through March 2014. David Elliott, Artistic Director of the Biennale, proposed the motto A Time for Dreams as the general theme, and curated the main Biennale project, which presented works by 83 artists from 32 countries of the world.

June 17, 2014

The educational program of the Biennale, curated by Antonio Geusa and coordinated by Ekaterina Razdumina, is entitled Wise Advice, and aims at helping young artists to find answers to various questions that concern their creative growth and career development.