"From Discursivity to Materiality: Is a New Ontology of Art possible?", Lecture at NCCA in the framework of "Theoretical Studies in Cultural Anthropology"


Andrey Shental — art critic, curator and writer — questions the possibility of new ontology of art, demand for which became apparent while poststructuralist paradigm has been exhausted. New ontology of art is oriented towards physical presence. Today artists are interested in penetrating into the depth of tangible objects, they investigate biochemical composition of artistic and non-artistic materials, process of (re)distribution of synthetic cells and technical liquids, neuro-chemical conditions of human perception, mediated by digital interfaces. In his paper author will try to answer the question: can we indeed speak of "material turn", demanding new research methodologies, or art still remains in the "post-conceptual condition"?

Curated by Keti Chukhrov

Session 4: Egor Rogalev, Alexei Bogolepov, Andrey Shental, Valya Fetisov, 2017


In the framework of the 4th session of "Hosting the Inhuman" participants of the project discussed their works and artistic representation of the "inhuman".

Interview on Post-Soviet Pop-Music, Aperto №3, upcoming [eng]

Interview by Agata Iordan on post-Soviet sexual revolution and emancipatory potential of Russian popular culture of the 1990s.


"Philosophical Battles", an interview on "New Cosmologies" project, Dialog Iskusstv, №3, 2017. 


Interview by Zlata Adashevkaya on the upcoming programme at CCA Winzavod.


Interview by Sergei Guskov on "Philosophical Club" for Winzavod 10 years catalogue

"Fungus Epitomises the Alien", an interview for Syg.ma by Alisa Schneider

Mushroom is, arguably, the most mysterious and intriguing creature among living organisms. In the artwork "Descent into the Fungal", presented in the framework of V-A-C foundation "Hosting the Inhuman", artist Andrey Shental refers to the problem of planetary force and investigate possible scenarios, suggested by contemporary mycology.

Interview for The Village, 2017

Artists participated in "Hosting the Inhuman" exhibition are interviewed about their projects.

A Child's Room: Artefacts and Protests, Svododa Radio, 2017

Why young people miss the past, where did fashion for pop-culture of the 90s and where are the origins of the civil activism? Philosopher Boris Klyushnikov, historian Ilya Venyavkin, folklorist Olga Feldenberg and theorist Andrey Shental. The programme is moderated by Tamara Lyalenkova. 

CSW Zamek Ujazdowski / A-I-R Laboratory RE-DIRECTING: EAST. Conversation # 1: Anna Ilchenko & Andrey Shental [eng]

The presentation will focus on the definitive changes that occurred in the early 90s such as the emergence of unrestrained market forces ("shock therapy"), development of a new institutional framework and educational system in the arts that attempted to include Russian artists in the global art network. In this context, there is a need to demarcate the difference between art of Yeltsin’s (1991-99) and Putin’s (1999-present) epochs and to question the notion of so-called "post-soviet condition" - a traumatic and long-lasting process of transition from communist state to the constitution of neoliberal society.


In 2011-2012 numerous protests against election fraud marked the end of post-soviet transition and emergence of new political consciousness. Supported by ‘creative class’, the protest movement stimulated a redefinition of the role of art within Russian society: art historians called to de-artify political protests; artists responded to the protest action in various ways; curators became "companions-in-arms" and "artivism" groups operated on the verge of art and politics. Therefore, Russian art community attempted to reconfigure cultural production, according to the current social and political situation.

A subsequent subject of the presentation will be complications of art education in Russia, describing the difference between Institute of Contemporary Art (neo-formalism) and the Rodchenko School (socio-political art). Simultaneously, the commercialisation and neoliberalisation of the academic system instigated creation of alternative modes of education (and politicisation) that emerged as a critique of this state of affairs. 

Identification struggles, that became visible as part of the wider protest movement, since then have developed their own modes of operation and require a separate discussion. Young feminist artists and curators were heard due to media scandals and post-colonial art gained academic and institutional support, whereas the absence of adequate LGBT and queer studies was retroactively constructed through fictitious re-politicisation of certain artists of the 90s. This tendency would be articulated and questioned in its relation to a more general struggle for "social justice".

Yury Albert from Artistic-political Point of View, panel discussion at MMoMA, 2013

Participants: Ekaterina Degot, Oleg Aronson, Sasha Novozhenova, Dmitry Gutov and Andrey Shental

"For the Information of Medinsky: What Is Contemporary Art?", LookAtMe, a reply to the Russian Minister of Culture

"Why should we see something abstract-cubist, sloppy or a pile of bricks as contemporary art?" — during the first meeting of organisational committee of the Russian Year of Culture, that took place on the 9th of October, the minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky condemned artworks, that are not accessible for the most of the viewers and suggested to consider all pieces that are created in the current time to be contemporary art, including theatrical plays and films. We asked art critic Andrey Shental to answer important questions regarding contemporary art, that make not only Medinsky, but many other people wonder.