The European Biennial of Contemporary Art

28 June 31 October 2014

St. Petersburg, Russia The State Hermitage Museum

Natalia Petukhov, Leonid Tsoi

Technique: painting, drawing, sculpture, video, performance 
Location: Art Studio of the "Perspektivy" NGO, psycho-neurological house №3 in Petrodvorets, St. Petersburg. 

On September 13, 2014 in the Biennial’s education space "Art for Cats" was opened, an exhibition prepared by the Charity Organization "Perspektivy". "Art for Cats" was the result of a series of classes and workshops over two months, culminating in an art project. It was attended by people ranging from 25 to 60 years who earlier attended an art studio or the "Perspektivy’s” computer class. Some participated in only the media aspect of the program, while others went onto create paintings and drawings. 

During the opening of the exhibition the artists gave a tour to their special guests, the cats from the shelter 'Shastlivye Cot' [Happy cat] explaining their works to the animals. A screening of the artists’ collective video work, “Cats not us”, followed the opening. In the video the artists reflect on what "us" means in relation to who the "cats" are - concluding that there is rather little difference. 15 minutes prior the opening "a travelling exhibition" took place  - the artists' bringing their works through the halls of the General Staff Building to be "viewed" by the Biennial's audience. 

The subject of cats chosen for this exhibition was not accidental. Conceptually, it is linked to Eric van Lieshout's project for MANIFESTA 10 which is dedicated to the Hermitage cats and touches on a number of socio-political aspects of museum life and Russian history. The work by the artists from "Perspektivy", reinterprets Lieshout's project, experimenting with form and supplementing Lieshout's content with stories about themselves and their own perceptions of concepts of 'art' and current issues. All the exhibits were created specifically for the furry four-legged inhabitants of 'Shastlivye Cot' invited to the opening of the event, the art viewers no longer connoisseurs of high art, but ordinary cats.

Artists whose works are on display: Albert Krylov, Ilgar Nadzhafov, Vitaly Koluzaev Vasily Olenev Alexei Sakhnov Yuri Yaroshev, Dmitry Belyanin Konstantin Salamatin, Irina Delova, Kiril Shmyrkov, Victor Vasiliev, Victoria Bykov, Albert Kotov, Igor Korolevsky, Mikhail Sokolov, Lyubov Logvinenko Galina Abramova.

The "Perspektivy" Art Studio has existed since 2001. This studio is a platform for artists with psycho-neurological disorders to create works.