Waiting for a Golden Rain

Two novelties have occupied the Russian art world this year: for the first time, a foreigner curated the Russian Pavilion (Udo Kittelman), and for the first time the Russian state manifested its interest in contemporary art. This interest expressed itself in the unprecedented financial support by the state of 24 milllion roubles (22852 euro). This comprised only half of the budget and the other half was provided by the Stella Art foundation, the commissioner of the pavilion. As a matter of fact, the curatorial dimensions of financing the Russian Pavilion have been more interesting than the actual art exhibited there since the 1990s.

Since the “Red Pavilion” (1993) by artist Ilya Kabakov, no notable artistic achievements have been made. Back then, the event was completely ignored by the state (being quite busy with other issues, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union and its consequences). The budget was 10.000 roubles (228 euro), and additional support was provided by “friends”, most notably by the Italian collector Alberto Sandretti. In the 1990s-2000s, the Russian Ministry of Culture organized a competition for the projects of the Pavillion at the Venice Biennial, which gradually became a competition for sponsors – those who could pay the production costs got the position. Often, a curator was called in at the last minute with the good news that the artists able to finance their projects were already selected, and he or she was invited for a trip to Venice!

Eventually, this competition was dropped. Today, the Ministry of Culture chooses the “commissioner” for a specific period of time, (until 2015 it will be Stella Art Foundation). In this context, the current glamorous conceptualism by Vadim Zakharov can be read literally. In a bad need of renovation, (its collapsing roof was restored in 2001) the Pavilion has been waiting for a golden rain. But today, a golden rain can only come from a bank, not from any divinity raising collateral slogans: “Gentlemen, time has come to confess our Rudeness, Lust, Narcissism, Demagogery, Falcehood, Banality, and…. “

Elena Sorokina


Stella Kasaeva
Vadim Zakharov
Udo Kittelman
Open Call?
Selection procedure:
Selection of the artist by Stella Kasaeva


Udo Kittelman
Germany, 1958
Lives and works in:
No. of participations in the venice biennale:


Vadim Zakharov
Former USSR (Tajikistan), 1959
Lives and works in:
Germany and Russia
No. of participations in the venice biennale:

Politics & Economics

State System:
Federal semi-presidential constitutional republic
Ruling Political Party:
Centre-right conservative United Russia
Population (World Bank, 2011):
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
6.6% of the labor force
World Bank credit:
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):


World Bank debt
Former Warsaw Pact


Country independent since:
1991 (from the USSR)
Last Major Border Revision:
Ongoing border conflicts
International Court of Justice cases:
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
Nuclear Force?
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Mass protests following Russia’s parliamentary elections of December 2011 prompted promises of political reforms. However, after his return to the presidency, Vladimir Putin unleashed an unprecedented crackdown against civic activism. New laws in 2012 restrict nongovernmental organizations and freedoms of assembly and expression. New local laws discriminate against LGBT minorities. Abuses continue in the counterinsurgency campaign in the North Caucasus. Armed conflicts in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Daghestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. Russia's control over the South Kuril Islands is disputed by Japan .
Participation in Multinational Missons:
UN peacekeeping missions in Congo, Haiti, Israel & the Middle East, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sudan and Western Sahara