About Biennale

The Shiryaevo Biennale was organized in 1999 by the Samara artists Nelya and Roman Korzhovs with the active participation of Hanns-Michael Rupprechter and the Stuttgarter Kunstverein e. v. from Germany and a group of artists from Kazakhstan led by Rustam Khalfin.

The Biennale is held in the old Russian village of Shiryaevo on the banks of the Volga — one of the most beautiful places in the Samara bow, surrounded on all sides by the Zhigulevsky nature reserve.
From the very beginning and until 2013, the organizer of the Biennale was the Samara Regional Public Charitable Foundation «Center for Contemporary Art» founded by the Korzhovs.
Since 2007, the Volga branch of the National Center for Contemporary Art (NCCA) has become a co-organizer of the Biennale.
Since 2014, the Central Volga branch of the National Center for Contemporary Art has been opened in Samara in connection with the transfer to the operational management of the NCCA of the Factory-Kitchen named after Maslennikov, a monument of constructivism, architect E. N. Maksimova, 1932, on the territory of which in the same year a special project of the Shiryaevo Biennale «Barge Haulers: Between Europe and Asia» was implemented.

Since 2016, the Biennale has been organized by the Central Volga branch of the State Center for Contemporary Art within ROSIZO with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Culture of the Samara Region. In the same year, the Shiryaevo Biennale expands the framework «between Europe and Asia» to a global context and changes the frequency of its holding from an odd year to an even one.

In 2020, in connection with the transition of the branch network of the NCCA from ROSIZO to the Pushkin Museum, the organizer of the Biennale is a renamed subdivision — the Central Volga branch of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, but the 11th Biennale was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
XI Shiryaevo Biennale of Contemporary Art: CONFIDENCE will be held in 2022.

Having started as an experimental project, the Shiryaevo Biennale has today become the most famous project of the Samara region in the field of contemporary art in the international community. The purpose of this experiment was to arrange a «meeting» of contemporary art with the traditional and pragmatic way of life in the Volga village. The strategy of the Shiryaevo Biennale is aimed at finding new forms of communication of contemporary art in the social environment and the development of promising trends in visual art in a global context. At different times, artists and curators from Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, Armenia, Denmark, USA, the Netherlands, Singapore, Norway became participants in the Biennale.

An important part of the structure of the Biennale is an international creative laboratory, which is carried out as an experiment in the field of contemporary art in a traditional Russian village for two weeks. The peculiarity of this stage is the artists' «living» in the houses of local residents. This condition of «immersion» in the local cultural situation is considered as a method of creating a irrespective or «ideal» environment for artistic expression.

The main idea of such an experiment is to give the artist a chance to «start working from scratch» without experiencing the pressure of the developed image and technologies of the art market. Each time the invited participants become a team of like-minded people, working on the creation of individual and joint projects, using local materials and opportunities, as well as building a common presentation route — «Nomadic Show». The Shiryaevo Biennale offers an alternative not only to the traditional functioning of art within the framework of the white cube concept, but also a strategy of independence from the «vertical of power» in art.

The central event of the Biennale — «Nomadic show» — is a symbiosis of two concepts: European — «show» and Asian — «nomadic». The action takes place only one day for 7–8 hours, and involves the work of all the artists of the workshop. Each participant or creative group has a personal presentation time. The «horde» of spectators moves along the proposed route together with the authors, mastering all the new centers of art. The whole village with the surrounding landscape serves as a space for displaying works: the Volga, mountains, adits (caves in the mountains), lakeside, village houses, streets, school, House of Culture, pier, etc.
The route is built in ascending order — it starts from the pier and ends in the mountains.

Paradoxically, the experimental spirit of the Shiryaevo Biennale has become a tradition, and a viable formula «experiment-tradition-experiment» has been developed. Until 2014, the ideological basis of this experiment was the study of «cultural stereotypes» on the border of the chosen geopolitical framework — «between Europe and Asia», which, in essence, is also an established and often used cliche in politics, culture, economics, etc.
Official site of the Shiryaevskaya Biennale —

List of Biennials by year:

2022 — «Confidence»
2018 — «Glee»
2016 — «Cash»
2014 — a special project of the Shiryaevskaya Biennale «Barge Haulers: Between Europe and Asia»
2013 — «Screen: Between Europe and Asia»
2011 — «Strangers: Between Europe and Asia»
2009 — «America: Between Europe and Asia»
2007 — «Home: Between Europe and Asia»
2005 — «Love: Between Europe and Asia»
2003 — «Food: Between Europe and Asia»
2001 — «Tangibility: Between Europe and Asia»
1999 — «Province: Between Europe and Asia»

History of International Shiryaevo Biennale (PDF, 40 mb)