Anton Ginzburg in a collateral event of the Venice Biennial
Venice - MAY 31, 2011
Blaffer Art Museum and Flo Art Fund are pleased to present At the Back of the North Wind, an exhibition of new works by Anton Ginzburg, an official collateral event of the 54th International Art Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia, which will be on display at the Palazzo Bollani from June 1 to November 27, 2011. 

Curated by Matthew J.W. Drutt, the collection will feature large-scale sculptural installations, site-specific bas reliefs, photography, paintings, a video installation and a series of works on paper.

The body of work began with the artist's observation that mythological patterns were undeniably woven into the fabric of everyday reality—specifically in the tension formed between the actual and the potential—and was expanded by the concept of Hyperborea, a mythical region that has been recently claimed to be discovered on the White Sea in northern Russia.

Hyperborea was originally described by the ancient Greek writer Herodotus as the land of the Golden Age, and was thought to be a place of pure bliss, perpetual sunlight and eternal springtime. It has been an inspiration for early modernist thinkers such as Nietzsche and Madame Blavatskaya, while acting as a central theme to the early twentieth century St. Petersburg poetic tradition of Acmeism—dealing with the "golden age of man."

Hyperborea continues to excite imagination of global media as the supposed birth-place of numerous cultures and nations. In developing this project, Mr. Ginzburg embarked on a three-part journey, commencing in the American North West (Astoria, Oregon), continuing to St. Petersburg and then to the White Sea, the site of the Soviet Gulag prison camps. Serving as the central narrative force for the exhibition, the film is a poetic and evocative record of the expedition to "map the void" and search for the mythological land of Hyperborea, "beyond the Boreas" (beyond the North Wind).

Modern Painters magazine, in writing about the Mr. Ginzburg and the installation, said that, "the artist has merged the two halves of his [Russian American] background through a continent-hopping journey to rediscover Hyperborea…[which] together with the scale and determined complexity of At the Back of the North Wind, should set the exhibition apart from the crowd during the teeming Biennale."

Of the exhibition, Mr. Drutt comments, "It embraces both the scientific and the fantastic dimensions of the 'discovery' of Hyperborea, especially in the modern era, with its disparate and geographically dispersed attempts to reconcile its existence. Through the guises of explorer, geographer, archaeologist, anthropologist and historian, Ginzburg has developed a body of work in photography, sculpture, film, painting and notation whose master narrative is a reality-based fictive expedition to ferret out Hyperborea's factuality.

Yet like any quest for truth, Ginzburg's endeavor goes beyond its prescribed subject, venturing into deeper territories of human inquiry about origin, destination, and the journey in between." Anton Ginzburg: At the Back of the North Wind will encompass four rooms and two floors of the sprawling palazzo.

The exhibition is open to the public and admission is free of charge. Anton Ginzburg will also participate in Commercial Break, an outdoor digital video billboard installation presented at la Biennale di Venezia by Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, and London-based media platform POST magazine.

Curator Neville Wakefield and organizer Emma Reeves invited Mr. Ginzburg, alongside a select group of over 80 celebrated artists including Maurizio Cattelan, Josephine Meckseper, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Philips and Gillian Wearing, to present short films that invoke the language, format or idioms of the unique advertising culture in Venice, a city where advertising has been historically banned.

This mobile installation will be on display to the public from June 1–5, 2001 as it travels the Grand Canal. Afterward, it will be available via POST app through November.


Anton Ginzburg was born in St. Petersburg in 1974, where he received a classical art education in preparation for the Soviet academy, and emigrated to the United States in 1990, earning a BFA from the Parsons School of Design in 1997.

His works have been shown at Palais de Tokyo, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York; White Columns, New York; and the first and second Moscow Biennales, as well as New Orleans, Prospect 1 Biennial.

His art is represented in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, as well as in private collections around the world. Anton Ginzburg lives and works in New York. This exhibition marks the artist's debut showing at la Biennale di Venezia.


This exhibition is supported by the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston and Flo Art Fund, with initial organizational support provided by Artpace San Antonio.

INEVENTS has provided logistical assistance in Venice.


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