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Lioudmila Voropai
Theory of the Arrière-garde. Part 2: Critic as anaesthesiologist

19 September
19:00 — 21:00
15 Vintage Hall

Lioudmila Voropai
Theory of the Arrière-garde. Part 2: Critic as anaesthesiologist


Moscow Contemporary Art Center Winzavod in collaboration with Goethe-Institut in Moscow will conduct an autumn lecture series «A Sealed Carriage: Use Value of Art Writing» on the theory of art criticism and its state today.

Lectures will be held as part of the project of Winzavod and BAZA institute the “Laboratory of Art Criticism”, which activity is aimed at supporting and developing the school of aesthetic critical thinking in the information space.

Three contemporary theorists of art and culture Lioudmila Voropai, Eva Scharrer and Kerstin Stakemeier.

Egor Sofronov is a curator of a lecture course.

According to curator, “Sealed Carriage” describes the influence of the ideas of Marxism, continuing the tradition of German philosophy. In such a supposedly classified carriage, Vladimir Lenin returned through Germany to Russia in 1917, where he earlier studied German thought. It had an impact in Russia at a time when the progressive public vision was based, among other things, on the aspirations of aesthetic clarification and transformation. This raises the question of the usefulness and function of art criticism. Of great importance is the abstract, socially necessary work performed by art criticism. What social need does criticism satisfy?»

The joint project of the two institutions contributes to the maintenance of intercultural dialogue and cultural exchange between Russia and Germany.

Lioudmila Voropai

Theory of the Arrière-garde. Part 2: Critic as anaesthesiologist

A declarative "critical attitude" of most contemporary artistic and curatorial projects has become ubiquitous. Today it is hardly possible to find a project description, a curatorial statement, a catalogue essay or an exhibition press-release without the terms such as "critical reflection", "critical exploration", "critical knowledge production" and so on. At the same time the notion of the "critical" has become so vague and diffused that the adjective "critical" has turned into a mere rhetorical decoration, a ritual gesture, or some kind of declaration of good intentions.

Such an inflationary use of the term "critical" draws an attention of the researcher to the reasons, which enabled the predominance of the "critical imperative" in the contemporary art context. This story is closely linked to how Critical Theory — initially in its Frankfurt School version – has been received, and to how the later interpretations of the "critical theory" concept have evolved in the context of art and humanities academic education since the 1970s.

These historical aspects along with current debates about the goals and tasks of the art critique and artistic practice as a form of a "critical" activity are the key topics of the announced lecture.

Lioudmila Voropai, Dr. phil., is a philosopher, art critic and theorist. She studied Philosophy, Art History, Media Studies and New Media Art in Moscow, Cologne and Berlin. Besides her activity as an independent curator, artist and art critic she accomplished in 2013 her doctoral thesis on a role of cultural policy in contemporary art. As a Research Fellow of the Graduate School for the Arts and Sciences at the University of Arts Berlin she worked on a research project focused on critical aspects of establishment of new institutional paradigms such as “Artistic Research”.

Since 2013 Lioudmila Voropai has been teaching history and theory of art, design and media at the University of Arts Berlin, Bauhaus-University Weimar and other universities. Currently she is a Lecturer at the Department of Art and Media Theory at the University of Arts and Design (HfG) in Karlsruhe (Germany).

Her research interests comprise theory and sociology of contemporary art and digital culture, critical theory, history of new media art and institutional critique. As a researcher and art critic she contributes to various periodicals. She is also a translator and editor of Russian translations of Slavoj Zizek, Giorgio Agamben, Jürgen Habermas and others.

Her recent monograph “Media Art as a By-Product: Notes on an Institutional Genealogy of New Artistic Media, Forms and Practices” was published by Trancript International Academic Publishing.