Curator Raimundas Malasauskas, known notably for his work on Lithuanian Pavilion in Venice in 2013 and “Black Market Worlds” the IX Baltic Triennial has issued the following statement today:
Today I resigned from the position of Curator of the Russian Pavilion for the 59th Venice Biennale, which was scheduled to open in April of this year.
My admiration and gratitude remain with the Russian artists Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savchenkov, with whom I have been working to develop the project for the biennale. However, I cannot advance on working on this project in light of Russia’s military invasion and bombing of Ukraine. This was is politically and emotionally unbearable. As you know, I was born and formed in Lithuania when it was part of the Soviet Union. I hav lived through the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1989, and have witnessed and enjoyed my country’s development ever since. The idea of going back to or forward with living under a Russian or any other empire is simply intolerable.
Before signing off, I share that my conversations with Alexandra and Kirill while developing the biennale project constantly inspired new ways of seeing both the past and the future as we intently experience our present. The and so many other brilliant Russian artists are committed to the freedom of thinking, despite the fact that they live in an increasingly repressive context. i explicitly oppose the current assault and subjugation commanded by Russia. I also believe that people from Russia should not be bullied or cast-away solely due to their country’s oppressive policies and actions. I want to avoid flat-falling divisions, and instead advocate for multi-leveled forms of solidarity where there are international forums for art and artists from Russian to express the freedom that they can’t express at home. It is not easy to live among warmongers, least of all so for those who explore ways of being outside of normative structured.
Thank you for your understanding and support.
Find out more about Raimundas Malasauskas’s concept for the Russian Pavilion here.