On the opening day of the 2007 Venice Biennale, Simon Hewitt met Russian Pavilion curator Olga Sviblova for a late breakfast not far from the Big Canal.
The “Click I Hope” exhibition is made up of installations by Sasha Ponomarev, Yulia Milner, Andrey Bartenev, Arseniy Mesheryakov and the AES+F Group and is absolutely stunning both visually and technically. All the more astonishing because Sviblova only had six months to organize and assemble the exhibition, and find 30 million rubles ($1.2 m.) to pay all its costs.
DE I: Did you enjoy being involved in this Biennale?
O.S.: This was the hardest exhibition in my whole life! I was running out of time, I was getting very tired…I only had six months preparation, and I was really under-funded.
DE I: When did you first arrive in Venice to start the preparations?
O.S.: January 17th. The Russian Pavilion was in ruins. There were tramps living there who couldn’t even light a fire because of the dampness. The walls were covered in fungus. All in all it was horrific.
DE I: When did the title Click I Hope come to you?
O.S.: Immediately. I’m attracted to the beauty of simple structures. I love philosophy and I like the connection between feelings. We decided straight off that we’d use Hope and not Love because in European culture if you compare the concepts of faith, hope and love, hope is the strongest. You can live without love and faith, but you just cannot live without hope. So the name Click I Hope was born almost before I understood anything. I knew that it was a risk, that they could kill me for it.
DE I: Now that the Pavilion is open to the general public, how do you feel?
O.S.: Not bad. I’m not satisfied. I’m not dissatisfied. I’m exhausted. I’m glad that it’s open. There have been so many technical hitches. Venice is so dirty and damp…Yulia Milner’s screen heated up to 100 degrees in the sunshine and stopped working…There was this huge load of responsibility hanging over me – responsibility for the idea itself, for the artists, for the technology we were using…That kills off any feelings in a person. I was prepared for my ‘Death in Venice’.
© DE I / DESILLUSIONIST ¹-1. «OLGA SVIBLOVA: I WAS READY FOR DEATH IN VENICE»