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Article

The Politics of Curatorial Themes: Immortality from Conception to Display in the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art

Journal of Curatorial Studies. 2021. Vol. 10. No. 1. P. 72-92.
Philimonos A., Kompatsiaris P.

Using the fifth edition of the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art: Immortality (Yekaterinburg, 2019) as a case study, this article examines the inconsistencies across a curatorial theme, its development in discourse, and its materialization in the exhibition. The article posits that these inconsistencies stem from fraught relationships between the global and the local developed by the curatorial framing of the exhibition’s principal theme ‐ immortality and its relations with Russian cosmism. Through exploring the politics of biennial themes, the article puts pressure on the idea of the curator as the indisputable author and highlights the complex politics involved in curatorial practice, such as the contradictions that can occur between the conceptualizing of a theme and its materialization in an exhibition.