- Design Team: Ekaterina Lazareva, Ekaterina Savchenko, Iaroslav Volovod
- Clients: Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
- City: Moscow
- Country: Russia
Text description provided by the architects. Conceived by Garage Museum during lockdown of 2020, project became an unscheduled event in the regular exhibition program. The exhibition was driven by a humanitarian mission to support the artist community and redirect energies toward the production of new work. Moreover It aimed to implement and show artists' projects exploring the vast and intriguing territory of artistic speculation.
In order to put together a show conceived during the first lockdown, Garage announced its first ever exhibition open call, inviting artists and creative collectives living and working in Russia to take any kind of distance in relation to the current situation and to consider speculations in a broad philosophical sense: as a form of interaction with reality and/or as speculative reasoning about the possible. Thirty-three participants, including 11 group projects, were selected from over 1,000 applications. The phrase “speculations, fakes, and predictions” in the title of the exhibition represents various versions of art’s “distance” in relation to reality, a distance that each artist chooses independently in line with their personal working methods. Assuming Distance introduces a wide range of forecasts, insights, and scenarios: absurd, fantastic, visionary, and frighteningly realistic. The works on display address not only the future but also possible versions of the past or present, interpreting speculation in an extremely broad way.
The exhibition operates as a nonlinear system of intersecting themes that create fluid connections between the works and organize semantic navigation by folding into constellational configurations. Therefore one of the architectural challenges was to develop a connecting and uniting route that would display the art pieces on one solid plane, allowing visitors to compare their options, take any desired distance from the current situation and review the speculations. The second important challenge was following the new social distancing routine that had dictated the minimum distance between visitors to limit the spread of the virus, in line with the appropriate protective measures.
The exhibition's architectural concept unifies the museum galleries with a single supersurface designed following a modular grid and made of illuminated squares of matte glass. The visitor's route is organized and limited by a supersurface elevated from the floor level, which provides a sensation of being entirely controlled and distanced in today's world. The shape and modules of the supersurface are dictated by dimensions of the grid that divides the space into 1,8 m х 1,8 m squares. In the central museum gallery, the route has two levels, the height of which is comparable to a human step, which offers new perception angles of the exhibits. All exhibits that are not meant for interactive use with the visitors are located beyond the supersurface, on the existing floor level. Meanwhile, the exhibits that are designed for an interactive experience are placed on the supersurface. The chosen surface material is illuminated glass imitating ice surface, it allows for a visually airy and floating and helped reflect the feelings typical for the new reality: uncertainty, ambivalence and unpredictability.