"Shrinking Cities" Exhibition
Pro Arte Institute in collaboration with the State Museum of History St. Petersburg
March 14 - April 27, 2008
Russia’s urban development – like that in die eastern Germany – radically changed with the fall of communism. Wherever capitalism failed to trigger a boom, state-planned growth gave way to de-industrialization, thinning out, and emigration, as the case of Ivanovo illustrates. In contrast to eastern Germany, however, Russia lacks almost every shred of a social net, so that the result is massive problems with poverty.
Ivanovo itself has no suitable institution for an exhibition, so it was shown in St. Petersburg and Moscow instead. In collaboration with the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, the Pro Arte Institute in St. Petersburg presented the project Shrinking Cities. The emphasis of the exhibition here was the investigation of the two post-communist examples – Ivanovo and Halle/ Leipzig.
The exhibition consisted of two parts, both on display at the Neva Curtain Wall of the Peter-Paul-Fortress, St. Petersburg: The exhibits in the entrance and lecture halls of PRO ARTE Institute provided an international overview of as well as comparisons between all the city regions under investigation. In the exhibits presented in three halls of the State Museum of City History of St. Petersburg, the two case-study regions Ivanovo oblast and Halle-Leipzig region in Eastern Germany were explored and represented in art works and diverse types of documentation. Contributions by artists, architects, filmmakers, journalists, and researchers complement the global study of shrinking cities, presented at PRO ARTE.
The Pro Arte Institute is a non-governmental organization founded in 1999 that organizes an extensive education and event program and grants stipends to Russian artists and cultural institutions. Most of the program was realized in collaboration with leading cultural institutions in St. Petersburg (The State Hermitage Museum, The State Russian Museum, The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, etc.).