Russian Exhibit Looks at Belief After Communism The collapse of the Soviet Union left most artists to fend for themselves. Now Russia's new wealth is helping fund new galleries and fuel hopes that Moscow will once again become a major part of the global art world.
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Russian Exhibit Looks at Belief After Communism

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Russian Exhibit Looks at Belief After Communism

Russian Exhibit Looks at Belief After Communism

Russian Exhibit Looks at Belief After Communism

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Artist Oleg Kulik curated a new exhibit at the Vinzavod Gallery in Moscow. Some think the show, called "I Believe," is among the most important exhibits of contemporary art since the Soviet collapse. Gregory Feifer, NPR hide caption

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Gregory Feifer, NPR

Artist Oleg Kulik curated a new exhibit at the Vinzavod Gallery in Moscow. Some think the show, called "I Believe," is among the most important exhibits of contemporary art since the Soviet collapse.

Gregory Feifer, NPR

Fillip Dontzov's Nova, a work projected on the floor, is part of Oleg Kulik's "I Believe" exhibit at the Vinzavod Gallery in Moscow. Gregory Feifer, NPR hide caption

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Gregory Feifer, NPR

Fillip Dontzov's Nova, a work projected on the floor, is part of Oleg Kulik's "I Believe" exhibit at the Vinzavod Gallery in Moscow.

Gregory Feifer, NPR

One of the Vinzavod Gallery's 19th-century wine cellars is now used to exhibit art. Gregory Feifer, NPR hide caption

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Gregory Feifer, NPR

One of the Vinzavod Gallery's 19th-century wine cellars is now used to exhibit art.

Gregory Feifer, NPR

Artists left to fend for themselves after the collapse of the Soviet Union are finding that Russia's newfound wealth is breathing life into the art community.

One of several galleries springing up in Moscow is Vinzavod, housed in a 19th-century former winery. It is host to the new exhibit "I Believe," part of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, a major arts festival that takes place in March.

Curator Oleg Kulik says the exhibit aims to recover a sense of belief or faith from what he calls the dogmatic contexts of communism and religion.

Inside, smoke machines evoke a sense of an incense-filled cathedral.

"We don't know there will be a tomorrow, but we believe there will be," Kulik says. "This exhibit is meant to assemble various statements about the beliefs according to which we live our lives."

Each of the works in "I Believe" attempts to conceptualize a new belief system that is based on questioning, Kulik says.

The exhibit is evidence of the evolution of Russian art since the early 1990s, when Kulik and other artists struggled to make sense of the chaos brought on by the Soviet collapse.

Some critics argue that Russian artists are still too heavily influenced by their Western counterparts.

But exhibits like Kulik's are making Moscow one of the most interesting places for contemporary art in the world.