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From September 1-14, 2008 CEC ArtsLink presented St. Petersburg’s first international exhibition of public art, “H2O: Nordic and Russian Art in Public Spaces,” an exhibition featuring work leading artists from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and St. Petersburg on the grounds of the historic Peter and Paul Fortress.

Set on the banks of the Neva river, the H2O exhibition recognized that water has always been not only a natural component of St. Petersburg, but also one of the most important parts of the city’s visual image. Water plays an important role in St. Petersburg’s identity and serves as a geographic and unifying element, connecting the North-West of Russia with neighboring Northern countries. Artist drew on the unique setting to create site-specific works around this theme. The exhibition was the first major international exhibition of contemporary art on the grounds of the Peter and Paul Fortress

Seven well-known artists with significant experience in the field of public art from five Northern countries contributed work to the exhibit at the Peter and Paul Fortress: Kaspar Bonnén (Denmark), A K Dolven (Norway), Tommi Gronlund and Petteri Nisunen (Finland), Carl Michael von Hausswolff (Sweden), Jacob Kirkegaard (Denmark), and Finnbogi Petursson (Iceland). Two St. Petersburg artists, Yuri Shtapakov and Pavel Shugurov 33+1, also created new works for the exhibition.

CEC ArtsLink also presented a parallel project featuring the work of emerging young St. Petersburg artists, who created public art works during a workshop conducted by New York public art specialist Kendal Henry. Their work was exhibited in the garden of the Anna Akhmatova Museum at Fontannyi Dom. This exhibition, entitled “Fountain” was also dedicated to the theme of water.
  • View the H2O project website.
  • View the H2O catalog, including full artist bios and curator notes.
  • Watch a YouTube clip of a Russian news broadcast of the exhibition.

Press coverage of the exhibit was extensive, and English-language articles appeared in Where magazine, the Hermitage Art in Context publication, The St. Petersburg Times, and a special autumn 2008 edition of the St. Petersburg Times. Russian-language media coverage included two radio broadcasts and five television broadcasts, in addition to print and internet news.