</ODRA Visited A New Art Residency For Contemporary Artists In Moscow>
photos: Lisa Merkulova
We've visited the newly opened residency in Moscow called rhIZOme, which is supported by the MaxArt Foundation. The ample residency space has high ceilings, natural light, separate studios and a shared lounge and a kitchen. Four workspaces are intended for use by Moscow artists, while one studio can be used both as a work and living space by artists from Russian regions and abroad. Artists work in the residency for five months.

Artist and co-founder of MaxArt Foundation, Evgenia Voronova says that it's the first residency project of the Foundation and they are going to continue residency program and intend to collaborate with artists from other cities and countries. Residency program includes both preparation for an exhibition and an educational part consisting of lectures on modern philosophy.

The main curator of MaxArt Foundation, Polina Mogilina says that the implementation of the residency program has been one of the Foundation's priorities from the very beginning. Receiving such a large number of applications during the open call only confirms the need for the residencies, 'I am deeply convinced that the residency format is one of the most important and effective tools for supporting contemporary artists. I hope that in the very near future we will be able to increase the number of residencies, and therefore the number of opportunities.'
Olga Ivannikova, rhIZOme coordinator, says that every artist works with different media and techniques. A special feature of the residency is that it has both shared spaces and separate workshops, so it turned out to be a good mix of working together and having a personal space to concentrate on work.

Currently, there are five artists-in-residence who are working on their projects until April, 2022. They include Andrey Berger, Katerina Sokolovskaya, Svetlana Bakhareva, Kirill Manchunsky and Kateryna Lukina. The artists have been selected from over 300 participants in the open call. The expert council consisted of prominent art professionals from museums, galleries and institutions. When choosing artists for the residency, the council paid attention to the difference between them, techniques they work with and whether they complement each other. We have visited artists' workshops and talked to four of them about their projects in the rhIZOme residency.

Andrey Berger, photo by Lisa Merkulova

Andrey Berger

The main focus of my work is the city and the relationship between citizens, transport and different layers and ideas inside the city. I love to think about the city as an organism or a multilayered mechanism that connects people together.

I also love the idea of what I call “flickering” between different walls, digital and physical. We live just on the border between them and the new age of art is closely related to this phenomenon.
“Flickering” is the main idea of my art now, including the residency project that is dedicated to the city. I want to show it as a digital and physical organism and do it like a street artist, but on the digital layer. My main mediums are metal and plastic. I believe that the process of flickering between different layers makes it possible for the artwork to take some characteristics from both physical and digital and that's what I try to present in my project here, it the rhIZOme residency.
Katerina Sokolovskaya

Our project with Pavel Grazhdansky includes two parts: a sculpture group and sound. In my practice, I work with sculpture and Pavel works with video, sound and texts. We like this experience of working together and creating a spatial solution to the project, because both sound and sculpture work with space.

Ekaterina Sokolovskaya, photo by Lisa Merkulova

Our project is dedicated to the theme of anxiety, muscular tension and how we experience post-quarantine, how it reflects on our body. The sculptures that I am going to create would be designed to highlight this interaction. Their form will reflect the body itself, but at same time mechanisms or tools for relaxation. The audience can literally climb inside these sculptures and relax. Surprisingly, in this space for “relaxation,” we will use alarm sirens, but the idea is that it would be interpreted as a meditative sound, highlighting contrasts in our project. It is a permanent contrast of how do we perceive information and how this information is being exaggerated, driving up anxiety. So, we offer some tools for relaxation to reduce tension both in the body and in social interactions.

Svetlana Bakhareva, photo by Lisa Merkulova

Svetlana Bakhareva

I am participating with a project about Slavic goddesses, building a bridge into modernity. Our ancestors appealed to forces which are still relevant. I did my research on Slavic goddesses and how they were represented but I've decided to approach it from a different angle. I am a “Chaneller”, a person who can communicate with the spirit world. Using the channel, I go inside and see how this force wants to present itself. Then I draw a sketch and perform a ritual, making a video of connecting with this energy.
I also create rooms. I started this before the residency and this is my main project that I'm going to do for many years. I also have a degree in interior design, that's why I'm drawing a room, using not an artistic composition, but the way interior designers build interior. I use different collectibles and really like collection design and the applied function of art, which has been forgotten but I think it has always been applied. These rooms are not just paintings. I can exhibit them as an artist but I want to make real rooms for people who can come and spend the time inside them. This is my great goal.
Kirill Manchunsky

The main techniques I work with are embroidery and wool felting. I create some fun and colorful artworks, using traditional materials and combining different fabrics, both Soviet and modern. So, I am like a couturier in my practice.

During the rhIZOme residency I'm preparing a series of artworks which are united by humor. They have something funny and something from childhood, so my works evoke nostalgic emotions and a desire to touch because the materials are very pleasant and tactile.

Kirill Manchunsky, photo by Lisa Merkulova

I depict anecdotal situations, which could have been represented by another technique, for example, in pencil, but I use heavy, labor-intensive material and spend a lot of time on it.