How to organize an exhibition of Contemporary Art?

group exhibition in the province
Velikiye Luki, Pskov region
About the exhibition in numbers
60+ artworks
Paintings, photographs, video art, sculptures, dance
30 artists
Working in modern technologies and directions
11 cities
Artists from different cities of Russia, Belarus
3 zone photos
Space zone with foil and neon, bright zone with stickers (interactive art), zone with whales and jellyfish
It took 3 months to prepare the Art Festival "Weightlessness" in the city of Velikiye Luki.
I took an active part in the creation and promotion of this project.
In this article, I want to share the story of how this project was created, what idea and mission it carried.

Bonus at the end: I'll tell you a little about my works that were presented at the exhibition :)
Everything starts with an idea
A year ago I made a personal exhibition in my hometown Velikie Luki,,
after that, the idea came to me about a group exhibition with lectures and master classes in contemporary art.
But I didn't get to the implementation of the project right away: there were problems at work, severe covid and recovery, the impact and consequences of the events of February 24th.
All problems increased like a snowball, it was necessary to switch, find a way out, do something useful.
So on March 30, together with Dmitry Yakovlev, we decided to organize an Art Fest in our city of Velikiye Luki.

Project idea:
Weightlessness is a state in which there is no force of interaction between a body and a support or suspension, which arises in connection with gravitational attraction or the action of other mass forces.
Recently, we have all experienced a state of weightlessness. The reality around was fragile, planning was reduced to 24 hours.
We wanted to show how, through art and creativity, you can again find the ground under your feet.

Project relevance:
This event was motivated by:
- the outflow of young people from the city;
- lack of creative entertainment and educational activities for young people in the city;
- the lack of a platform for exhibiting the works of young artists working in contemporary art trends.

Objective of the project:
Popularization of contemporary art, promotion of local artists, creation of creative entertainment and educational activities for young people.

Project objectives:
- support for innovative, experimental trends in art;
- identifying talented performers, teams, teachers and stimulating their creativity;
- creative communication and exchange of experience with colleagues from different regions of Russia.

The project was presented and defended by me at the Social Accelerator 2022.
Презентация Арт Фестиваля "Невесомость".
Correct space
Modern art requires a modern interior.
It took us about 2 months to find a suitable space.
White walls, plenty of free space, daylight and/or good artificial lighting, convenient location and accessibility were important.
After reviewing 10 rooms, we settled on 3 of them.
And then they chose (or it chose us) a room of 1100 sq.m. at Velikiye Luki, Pushkin lane, 4
Light show rehearsal by Alexander Yakovlev
Over 1000 hand-glued stickers.
When developing the visual concept of the exhibition, I was guided by my own experience, as well as visited exhibitions of other artists.

The sticker idea was inspired by one of Yoko Ono's latest exhibitions "The Sky is Always Clear" at MMOMA Moscow. Yoko Ono offered to write a few words about my mother. I suggested that visitors write about what makes them happy.

And the metallized photo zone was inspired by Andy Warhol's exhibition at the New Tretyakov Gallery and his "Factory".
From different angles
In total, we received 76 applications for open-call from artists + about 15 came to me through personal messages.
As a result of the competitive selection, the following artists were selected:
Anna Poliakova (Moscow);
Yuri Voronenko (Velikiye Luki);
Olga Naskovets (Velikiye Luki);
Elizaveta Frolova (Saratov);
Ekaterina Nikitina (St. Petersburg);
Anastasia Berezina (St. Petersburg);
Kaisar Salykov (Yekaterinburg);
Jan Nazaim (Velikiye Luki);
Daria Fron (St. Petersburg);
Ekaterina Boyarkina (Saratov);
Alena Larints (Moscow);
Daria Shlyapina (Velikiye Luki);
Elena Vankovich (Minsk, Belarus);
Anastasia Kvariani (Moscow);
Yulia Kovalenko (St. Petersburg);
Alena Balan (Velikiye Luki);
Maria Ivanova (St. Petersburg);
Alina Sharlaeva (Novosibirsk);
Anna Dvor (Moscow);
Natalia Kuleshova (Moscow);
Sofia Raginevich (Pskov);
Valentina Andreeva (Ryazan);
Natalia Dityatieva (Berdsk);
Anastasia Shcherbakova (Moscow);
Diana Abramova (Moscow);
Lyubov Buchinskaya (Moscow);
Evgeny Sinyutin (Taganrog);
Rudenko Alexander (Velikiye Luki).

It was important for me to show different trends in contemporary art. Such as painting, photography, digital art, video art, augmented reality, sculptures, interactive art, dance performance.
The main selection criterion was compliance with the theme of the exhibition.
As I learned later from the visitors of the exhibition, "not everything was clear." But this is a completely normal reaction for people who rarely encounter contemporary art.
To understand art, you need to study it :)
This is one of the objectives of the exhibition: popularization of contemporary art in the region.

Next to each painting there is a description of the work, as well as links to the artist's social networks, where you can ask the author any question related to his work.
As part of the Art Fest, lectures on contemporary art and how to understand it were planned.
Word of mouth
Art Fest "Weightlessness" was launched at its own expense. Financing was invested in the arrangement of space and renovation of the premises.
Therefore, we had a small budget for marketing and promotion.
2 banners were involved in the city, as well as affiliate marketing in the local Conta Cafe.

The rest of the promotion of the project was by word of mouth.
Here I want to say thanks to the team members, as well as friends and friends of friends who shared information about the project in social networks.
Spectacular opening
According to the experience of previous exhibitions, the Opening and Vernissage are the most important events. Since it is the first day that lays down what will be the further attendance of the exhibition and how the "word of mouth marketing" about the event will go.

We organized a festive evening with an evening dress code, invited artists, photographers and guests.

Catering was at the local Conta Cafe: coffee, tea, snacks.
As part of the opening, there was a welcoming speech from the organizers, an auction for the works of artists, a dance performance from Anastasia Shcherbakova (Moscow), a dance number from the Echo collective, a light show from Alexander Yakovlev, musical accompaniment by Denis Danilov and Egor Kuzmichev.
Photos from the opening of the exhibition can be found in the group in VKontakte -
Project team
  • Anna Poliakova
    Curator. Founder.
  • Dmitry Yakovlev
  • Elena Leksunova
  • Tatyana Nikonova
  • Zlata Kasatkina
  • Anna Mamedova
    PR and media
AR - augmented reality
As part of this exhibition, I presented 6 paintings augmented by AR.
When you point to work through a special application, an animation appears on the phone screen.
Sample video here -
and here -
One of the pictures shows a video of the process of creating a work.
The other 5 paintings are animated using artificial intelligence, Disco Diffusion neural network.
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