Nadezhda / Hope. Russian Industrial Cities Artistically Explored

curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen, Simon Mraz

Co-curators: Marie Egger, Alisa Prudnikova, Anastasia Shavlokhova, Astrid Wege

Manufacture of Trekhgorka, Rochdelskaya Str. 15 building 24, third courtyard, Moscow, RU

Official side project of Moscow Biennale 2015

Artists: Iwan Baan (NL), Fabian Bechtle (D), Cäcilia Brown (A), Elena Chernychova (RUS), Leon Eisermann (D), Lukas Feigelfeld (A), Andreas Fogorasi (A), La Toya Ruby Frazier (US), Tue Greenfort (DK), Leon Kahane (D), Dimitry Kawarga (RUS), Anfim Khanikov (RUS), Ira Korina (RUS), Susanne Kriemann (D), Sonia Leimer (A), MishMash (RUS), Igor Mukhin (RUS), Yuri Palmin (RUS), Hanna Putz (A), Sergey Saposhnikov (RUS), Nikita Shokov (RUS), David Ter-Organian (RUS), Vera Undritsova (RUS), Where the Dogs Run (RUS)

Susanne Kriemann is presented with a new work entitled RUDA, a tapestry (170 x 300 cm) designed by Yu-Yeon Cho and produced at the Textile Museum in Tillburg, NL, with the financial support of the Goethe House Moscow.

Executed for NADEZHDA, an official side project of the Moscow Biennial RUDA is a mohair woven tapestry – a sketch for a future relief for Magnitogorsk on the Ural River in Russia. Magnitogorsk means the city by the magnetic mountain. The city was a part of Stalin’s 1st five-year plan to outdo his Western counterparts in the iron and steel industry. The tapestry depicts multiple fragmented images from the early 20th century as a projection onto the mountainous landscape. Soft greys and blacks made of multiple strands of coloured threads give structure and texture but never a clear image of the once existing mountain depleted of its natural mineral. One can make out the Russian word ruda meaning iron ore. The relief-like lettering recalls the infamous l-o-v-e (1966) by Robert Indiana, which is as large as the tapestry itself. On closer inspection an iron miner from the mosaic Metallurgov in Magnitogorsk appears as do miners at work. Rocky scenery collides with the High Renaissance landscape of Raphael’s Alba Madonna (1510) from an aerial perspective. Known as the “Madonna of Humility” due to her positioning seated on the ground, Alba Madonna was once a part of the Hermitage’s art collection in St. Petersburg. Stalin sold the devotional painting for 1,7 million to Andrew W. Mellon.[1] The steel mills were modelled after the US steel company plant in Gary, Indiana and built by Arthur McKee & Co.. The operating mining steel town producing 13 million tons of crude steel and 12,2 million tons of commercial steel products yearly[2] is an ecological disaster zone. Kriemann’s tapestry hangs dividing the space in former textile manufacture of Trekhgorka, Moscow.. The loose threads at each end allow for both a continuation and an unfinished state. It is a sketch dedicated to the vanished magnetic mountain. Which location is most appropriate for the future relief – on the facade of the hospital next to the steel plant or onto the hovering cloud of carbon smoke?

[1] It was the most expensive sold painting in the early 1930’s and it paid for half of the construction of the Soviet dream city.

Williams, Russian Art and American Money, p. 153 in: Dreamworlds of Mass Culture, …