News: XU Qu at Ural Industrial Biennial 2015: Mobilization

3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art
September 9–November 10, 2015
Opening days: September 8–14, 2015
Hotel Iset,Yekaterinburg

Curators: Li Zhenhua (Beijing—Basel) and Biljana Ciric (Shanghai)

The key term of the 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial is mobilization as an ability to change and to rise to a fundamentally different level. The main research direction of the Biennial is to define specifics of contemporary mobilizational scenarios, possibility of reconsidering conceptual apparatus and what is the role of culture, critical thinking and contemporary art in a situation of mobility. The program is accompanied by a research of application of experience of the avant-garde architecture in the present.


Post-historic theories of the post-industrial, postmodern, and post-Fordist society continuously emphasize the mobility of a contemporary person unrestricted by national borders, labor discipline and persistent identities. Within this narrative, contemporary art with its more or less non-conventional exhibition spaces is primarily a space for a flaneur, the space devoid of sacral connotations and normative obligations of a traditional art museum or an industrial enterprise. The space of an industrial shop converted into a gallery stops being a disciplinary space of labor mobilization, but does not become a space of traditional “high” culture; instead it is transformed into an amorphous “optional” space of freelance mobility.

However the world today differs from its image we had in the end of past century. Second decade of the twenty first century suddenly acquires several features similar to the same period of the twentieth century. Events of the recent years formed a new agenda for professional and public debate. These processes, which can be cautiously combined under the term “total mobilization”, occur ubiquitously at different social and political levels.

Mobilization, as history itself, refuses being relegated to the past and remains current and relevant, from a local mobilization of certain groups to all-national movements. This mobilization can unite people of the same class, national, cultural, ethnic, religious background or those who adhere to certain values or cause; it can be temporary or long-term. It can operate within ideological and mythological space, displacing alternative positions in favor of unification. Can art be part of this process? Can it serve as a stimulus, lend a platform or provide a reflexive understanding of mobilization processes in contemporary society?

The task of the mobilizational dimension of the 3rd Ural Industrial biennial is to understand what forms specifics of contemporary mobilizational scenarios, in what way the industrial past and present, Russia, Europe and Eastern Asia intersect within them, and the role of culture and contemporary art in the mobilizational dynamics.

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