22 Jan–27 Feb 2022

A programme of play and improvisation, and the possibility of imagining yourself as whoever and wherever you want to be.

“For me the most natural thing is to pretend, for example, to pretend that you are making a picture”
Ragnar Kjartansson, a person who is perhaps pretending to be an artist

The motto of the programme — “Let’s pretend…” — removes the familiar burden of responsibility from the artistic act and proposes using fantasy to realize ideas and images while trying on new roles. The programme consists of three different formats that create  conditions for the participant-spectators to be involved in the creative process.

In the Imaginary Friends workshops participants from ages 6 to 12 will look for and create imaginary friends so they can understand themselves and their environment a little better. The workshops are based on techniques of art therapy and play and will use drawing and animation. Artists Anna She and Maxim Subbota along with a team of animation artists will accompany the participants on their journey.

A two-day festival of play and games What Are the Rules? allows you to take control of fun again — to get away from the amusement park, where you need to fasten your seat belt and wait for the fun to begin, and go back to the courtyard, where you can decide who you are and how to play together. This festival is created for people who invent games and people who play them. It is co-curated by Dmitry Vesnin. All kinds of games -- overt and covert, active, performative, and verbal --  will be held at different GES-2 locations and be a way to meet people of various ages and interests.

“Game exploration cards” are used when you want to speak about art, and not only art, and when you want to dream or have some fun. Information on the cards about the artworks was gathered by the Foundation’s mediators. The tasks were invented by designer Alexei Ivanovsky, the illustrations are by Tim Yarzhombek, and Zhenya Stratiychuk made sure that the tasks are clear to kids. Families with children can pick the cards up at the GES-2 information desk. You do not need to return them — they're yours! We also conduct mediator tours based on the cards (prior registration required).

Image by Sophie Korotaeva
The programme Let’s Pretend focuses on the creative process of imagining yourself as whoever and wherever you want to be, to see the invisible and feel the intangible through a variety of formats that reveal the viewer’s and participant’s own agency. Artists, game designers, psychologists and researchers suggest and provide actions and artefacts that create the conditions to have an aesthetic experience through making and creating, through producing the art of (potential) action. The play and improvisation that underlie the entire project set the form in which spectators create art themselves. They do this through pretending and trying on new roles to bring images and ideas to life, as do Ragnar and his fellow artists, who appear in artistic works as fictional characters.

– Katya Porutchik, curator of the programme