A Mind of One’s Own

23 Mar–23 Jul 2023

An exhibition about Kostroma and its people, devised and created by curators from Kostroma along with curators from GES-2 House of Culture. The project is built around three stories inspired by a shared cultural context. In the exhibition, these stories are connected by a game.

Черно-белая схема с прямоугольниками, кругами и ромбами
Illustration by Kirill Gorbunov

The first story looks at the history of Kostroma’s art scene from the early 1960s to the present, through works provided by the city’s Municipal Art Gallery and by project participants. Themes and subjects that determined Kostroma artists’ ideas about themselves and their region during this period are addressed. The exhibition includes paintings by Nikolai Shuvalov and Vladimir Muraviev (notable figures in unofficial art of the Thaw period); works by artists of the late 1980s and early 1990s—Alexander Akhanov, Alexander Bekasov, Pavel Belyaev, Natalya Buldakova (Smirnova), Iosif Dashevsky, Alexei Mukhin, and Vladimir Smirnov; as well as works by their younger colleagues who live in the city today.

The second story is about Equinox Day, a festival that took place in Kostroma on September 24th, 2022. Held on the square beside the Philharmonia, this outdoor festival brought together artists, artisans, musicians, and former and current Kostroma residents. As part of the A Mind of One’s Own exhibition and public programme at GES-2, the symbols and characters of Equinox Day have been brought together once again. Among these are objects by Polina Belova, Iosif Dashevsky, Semyon Zaitsev, and Marina Ivanova; handmade musical instruments, mobile decorations, and masks; and performances by the Rabor folk ensemble and the Flame dance theatre. Textile canvases by the Kostroma designer Marya Korotko_ evoke the festival’s graphic design, while the exhibition architecture devised by Olga Rokal references the festival’s decorations.

The third story of A Mind of One’s Own references the programme of individual city walks that formed a part of the Equinox Day festival. The walks were developed by the dramatist Alina Zhurina and are based on texts by and about Kostroma residents, as well as on interviews with city dwellers. Zhurina has used these materials to create five individual game routes through the exhibition. Visitors are accompanied by a synthetic character invented by the dramatist along each of these routes. Each character speaks the words of real people, quotes from their works and biographies, and generalises their experiences and views on life as they lead visitors through the exhibition and the GES-2 building. To agree or disagree with the character, even to make up your own route—this was the choice faced by curators as they put together this exhibition, and the choice we now offer you.

A Mind of One’s Own does not seek to answer the question “What is Kostroma?” Rather, it invites us to think about who each one of us could be in the city.

The curatorial group would like to thank Vera Pryamikova, the director of the Kostroma Municipal Art Gallery, for her assistance in preparing the project.

The Equinox Day festival is a part of the GES-2: Cities programme. GES-2: Cities searches for and develops modes of cooperation between artists and city communities across different regions of Russia. The partners of the programme are affiliated companies of NOVATEK, that take an active part in the cultural and social life of the cities where they are based.

Project team


Yaroslav Aleshin, Sergei Babkin, Naya Bespalova, Marusya Sokolnikova, Alexandra Tumarkina, Margarita Yevtukova


Alexander Akhanov, Alexander Bekasov, Polina Belova, Pavel Belyaev, Natalya Buldakova (Smirnova), Vladislav Grachev, Iosif Dashevsky, Marina Ivanova, Vyacheslav Komarov, Alexander Korolev, Marya Korotko_, Lyudmila Makarenkova, Alexander Mariev, Vladimir Muraviev, Alexei Mukhin, Vladimir Smirnov, Viktor Shplyundin, Nikolai Shuvalov, Olga Shveitser, Vladimir Tyurin, Alexander Yeremin, Semyon Zaitsev


Olga Rokal (UTRO bureau)


Alina Zhurina

Voice actors

Rodion Dogirev, Andrey Gordin, Alisa Kretova, Yuliya Razumovskaya, Daria Vorokhobko


Oksana Agapova, Yuliya Buchinskaya, Stasya Dementieva

Technical production

Andrei Belov, Artom Kanifatov, Maxim Lapshin, Nikita Tolkache


Ksenia Kosaya


Sofia Lazareva

Accessibility and inclusion curators

Sasha Anikushin, Vlad Kolesnikov, Oksana Osadchaya