Social distancing brought to the fore the idea that art can be made out of anything at hand, and that the process of creating it often requires no special conditions. Collages made out of boxes, toys made out of old clothes, “Suprematism” on plastic tablecloths—anything goes. Like all cultural institutions, the Ural branch of the National Center for Contemporary Art where Seleznyov’s studio is located spent a long time in lockdown. The way the work is exhibited as a lightbox installed in the window is a metaphor for locked-up art’s desire to burst out to where the viewer is and be seen. Selezyov notes that the festival theme, Treasure Hunt, reminded him of a story he found in the memoirs of the famous Soviet art collector George Costakis. Costakis once acquired a painting by Natalia Goncharova that had been used to board up a window in a ruined building; he compared the event to unexpectedly discovering a treasure that he stumbled across quite by accident. In the same way, local residents strolling towards the river will suddenly come across this Suprematist composition shining from the window.
Vladimir Seleznyov is a Russian contemporary artist and curator whose projects deal with themes of the local, place memory, and regional identity. As a curator, he often collaborates with non-professional artists and people who are not artists. His primary media are painting, installation, and video art. Seleznyov was the winner of the Innovation Prize for Best Work of Visual Art and the Sergey Kuryokhin Prize for Best Curatorial Project in 2019. His work can be found in the collections of the Nizhniy Tagil Museum of Fine Arts, the National Center for Contemporary Arts (Moscow branch), the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (PERMM), and the Stadtgalerie Kiel.