</Dutch Institution Supports Russian Artists With a Virtual Exhibition>
Distant x ODRA

In 2022, ODRA became a media partner of the «Game engine free verse» exhibition organized by the Dutch Institution Distant.gallery.The artworks of six Russian artists could be seen at a global virtual platform that combines immersive artworks of the artists whose practice lies in the fields of game engines, poetry, CGI and sound. In order to support artists, ODRA inititated an Artist Diary and captured not only the artists' understanding of the category of game art, but also their feelings about the time and historical period in which the exhibition took place.
The exhibition of six Russian artists - Fedor Balashov (wasdswag), Ksenia Kononenko, Anastasia Koroleva, Yuliya Kozhemyako (Supr), Kirill Makarov, Margarita Skomorokh (rkktkk) - takes place on a special platform created online by Distant.gallery. It’s an institution and a social platform that exhibits net-art in all its manifestations, serving two main goals – to exhibit art that exists only online and to support artists, particularly those from hard-to-reach regions. The virtual exhibition, unlike the offline in a physical gallery or museum, enables users from all over the world to connect to the platform and become viewers and explorers, gaining direct experience from interacting with the work. What could be more important for Russian artists today, isolated by recent events?

Ksenia Kononenko, Kirill Makarov. The Line, 2021
Here's what the distant.gallery founder Constant Dullaart told ODRA:

‘Distant.gallery aims to connect art scenes and locations by offering an online exhibition platform with social features in which artists from any country or city can exhibit under the same conditions. Meeting others, without appointment easily, informally yet securely and privately while seeing an exhibition easily crossing borders keeping us in the past. From Delhi to Bogota, Berlin or Brooklyn to Kinshasa, Amsterdam or Mexico City. After having requested to remove my artworks from Russian state run or state affiliated art infrastructure, I called other artists to do the same if it was within their capacity. With founding Distant.gallery my aim was to think beyond nation states and borders and we made it important to emphasize cultural exchange between scenes. Emphasizing there should not be a general cultural boycott, supporting independent cultural expression, this exhibition literally creates new land(scapes) and emphasizes alternatives to land grabs and brutal narratives while dealing with international sanctions and boycotts. Of course we will host more exhibitions involving artistic gestures from within the current diaspora caused by imperialist ambitions but we are extremely happy and honored to host these works and the conversation around it on our servers.’

Constant himself is engaged in digital art, and his practice reflects on the broad cultural and social effects of communication and image processing technologies, from performatively distributing artificial social capital on social media to completing a staff-pick Kickstarter campaign for a hardware start-up called Dulltech™. His work includes websites, performances, routers, installations, start-ups, and manipulated found images, frequently juxtaposing or consolidating technically dichotomized presentation realms.
Yuliya Kozhemyako (Supr), La forêt, 2015

Fedor Balashov (wasdswag), Garmoniums, 2015

Anastasia Koroleva, Soundwalk, 2021

Virtual exhibitions themselves are no longer just three-dimensional physical spaces, they are more of new forms of exhibiting, while being accessible to people anywhere in the world. In the presented projects the video game itself is interpreted not as a space for competition where you can either lose or win but as a synthesis of visual arts. Here you will not find a traditional game narrative. Instead of this the player may live through real-time interactive experiences, spontaneously stroll around the contemplative landscapes and navigate inside poetic spatial environments.
ODRA has also talked to the curator Oxana Chvyakina:

‘I believe, the place of exhibition defines the exhibited artworks and often the concept of the show as well. Such a site-specific understanding of art itself and curatorship in general has been a starting point in my research for the "Game engine free verse" exhibition. I’ve chosen to display art video games as it is a born-digital medium and one of the best shown online.
There is a strong community of internationally acclaimed Moscow/Saint-P based artists working in the field of art video games, CGI and sound. My interest is to present this movement as part of a global new media arts stage. A specific feature of the displayed games is a non-competitive nature. Instead of this, its aim is to provide an intimate experience to the player which is possible only on PC. No white cube required.’

Throughout May and June, we will be publishing a diary of artists whose works can be seen on the platform.

Artists: Fedor Balashov (wasdswag), Ksenia Kononenko, Anastasia Koroleva, Yuliya Kozhemyako (Supr), Kirill Makarov, Margarita Skomorokh (rkktkk)

Margarita Skomorokh (rkktkk), Rise Shine Fall, 2017