Critical Mass 2013 opening

  • Critical Mass 2013
    1/8 | Critical Mass 2013
  • Hans Rosenstroem, 'Through the Mind's Eye', sound installation
    2/8 | Hans Rosenstroem, 'Through the Mind's Eye', sound installation
  • Stas Bags, 'The Wall: Here I Was', graffiti
    3/8 | Stas Bags, 'The Wall: Here I Was', graffiti
  • Bik Van der Pol, 'Stick It On!', installation
    5/8 | Bik Van der Pol, 'Stick It On!', installation
  • Gareth Kennedy, The Last Wooden House of Kupchino", wooden structure, community procession, video
    6/8 | Gareth Kennedy, The Last Wooden House of Kupchino", wooden structure, community procession, video
  • Joanna Raikowska, 'KINO!', neon installation
    7/8 | Joanna Raikowska, 'KINO!', neon installation
  • Asia Komarova, 'Soon I Will Become Pensioner', steert action, t-shirts with prints, posters
    8/8 | Asia Komarova, 'Soon I Will Become Pensioner', steert action, t-shirts with prints, posters
Square in front of the Frunzenky district administration
23.05.2013 - 17:30


exhibition of public art
May 23 – June 23
Open venues and public spaces of Frunzensky district of St. Petersburg, Russia

Stas Bags / Russia
Bik Van der Pol / The Netherlands
Gareth Kennnedy / Ireland
Asia Komarova / The Netherlands
Joanna  Rajkowska / Poland
Hans Rosenström / Finland
Annika Eriksson / Sweden
Egor Shmonin and Alexey Kubasov / Russia

Creative Association of Curators TOK is pleased to announce its second exhibition of public art in the framework of its international large scale project Critical Mass.

The opening will take place on May 23 at 16.00 in Zheleznodorozhnikov House of Culture (Tambovskaya, 63) and will continue throughout the evening at all the venues of the show. They include libraries, parks, local cinema and a vocational school, an observatory and other public spaces.

At the opening there will be held a flash mob with residents of Frunzensky district and the social ballet "Kupchino will not decline" by TEKHNO-POEZIYA band performed by Roman Osminkin.

The biannual exhibition Critical Mass for the whole month will turn the neighborhood of Kupchino in St. Petersburg, the dormitory district and grey architectural zone, into the city center of contemporary public art. The main idea of the exhibition in 2013 is to focus on the life of a so-called bedroom district of a big city and its everyday life, community, history, unknown territories, cultural memory and everything else that forms its identity. Even though St. Petersburg’s
historical center is surrounded by such neighborhoods, they often lack their own cultural and arts life, so the idea of Critical Mass project is to expand the territory of contemporary art in the city by bringing international artists to work in the dormitory districts and their local community members. Therefore, this year, most of the participating artists engage Kupchino dwellers into their projects and invite them to (trans)form the art works and interact with them.

The preparation period of the exhibition included a large-scale research during which artists, curators and sociologists explored the territory of Frunzensky district (Kupchino) throughout 2012. We gathered many community and personal stories that appeared to be the basis for the 8 projects commissioned for Critical Mass - 2013.

The site-specific sound installation “Through the Mind's Eye" by Hans Rosenström in an old observatory offers the audience an alternativ  view on the area of Frunzensky district as well as challenges our vision of the world and our place in it. In her project !KINO! Joanna Rajkowska refers to the works by Dziga Vertov and his thoughts on a role and possibilities of an artist. She uses one of his sketches from “Man with A Movie Camera” for a neon sign that will be placed in the local cinema theater in Kupchino. Bik Van der Pol’s piece “Stick It On” is also inspired by the Soviet culture and constructivists in particular and represents an interactive model of an agitprop kiosk ‘Radio Orator' designed by Gustav Klucis. The audience is invited to activate the piece by using the speaker and by writing texts on stickers that are provided by the staff of the library, where the work will be presented. Annika Eriksson also works with the library space - in her project “Between These Walls Between The Covers of These Books” she discusses the role of libraries in the process of knowledge production and transmission as well as their place in the contemporary culture. Asia Komarova uses a library as an interactive platform for bringing together older and younger generations and knowledge and experience exchange. Her project “Soon I will Become a Pensioner” is aimed at discovering the domestic skills of elderly women of Kupchino and presenting them as a special feature of the local community. “The Last Wooden House of Kupchino” by Gareth Kennedy deals with the history of the area and the people who live here as well as with the folk Russian traditions. In addition to building a model of the last wooden house in the neighborhood Gareth also organizes a procession with the local residents dressed in costumes made of birchbark, which will be filmed. Today’s stories of Kupchino residents are told in the video by Egor Shmonin and Alexey Kubasov, who explored the area and managed to talk to people who were born, grew up and live in the area. They can also express themselves in the interactive project by Stas Bags ‘The Wall: I was here” and write their thoughts on a construction fence that Stas turns from a concrete ugly structure into a social graffiti project.

All the arts works have been commissioned for Critical Mass 2013 and St. Petersburg.

The exhibition is accompanied with an extensive public program, which includes artist talks, lectures, screenings and discussions. We have also planned a series of thematic excursions in Kupchino guides by
curators, art historians, architects and musicians.

The exhibition catalogue will be presented in St. Petersburg in October 2013.

The exhibition is supported by
Nordic Culture Point
Mondriaan Fund
European Cultural Fund
Frunzensky district Administration office
Netherlands Consulate-General in St. Petersburg
Polish Institute in St. Petersburg
Goethe Institute in St. Petersburg
Irish Arts Council
Vienna Film Museum
Loft Project ETAGI
Zhelezndorozhnikov Culture House
Center for Modern Culture Fakel
Chayka cinema
Platfrom Skorokhod