3 June – 22 October, 2009


Curator: Victoria Golembiovskaya


Alexander Ponomarev’s SubTiziano has been selected as a collateral event for the 53rd International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia, the oldest and most prestigious visual arts event in the world. SubTiziano was curated by Victoria Golembiovskaya.

The project is a site-specific submarine installation surfacing on the Grand Canal, and marks the ninth stage in the cycle titled Utilization of Packs (1996–2009), an ongoing submarine project by Ponomarev.

Alexander Ponomarev is one of Russia’s most important contemporary artists. The artist represented Russia in the highly popular Russian Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia with his installations Shower, Wipers and Wave. This time, at the 53rd International Art Exhibtion, Ponomarev is once more exploring the cultural waters of this key contemporary art exhibition, as well as the historical context of one of the most beautiful and mysterious cities of Old Europe.

Ponomarev first visited Venice at the end of the 1970’s, when he was still a student at the Odessa Advanced Naval Engineering School. Even then the young man was greatly impressed with this maritime republic and its legendary image, inexorably associated with unruly elements, naval battles and the paintings of great masters. That early visit made a vivid impression on the young man and an indelible mark on his artistic soul. SubTiziano is a fitting return for the artist, this time in his own submarine.

Ponomarev is greatly under the influence of the legendary Venetian master painter Titian.
Re-emerging from the depths of this water-born city, Ponomarev is stressing his ‘sub’-standing: he is under the impression, under the influence of the great Venetian, who is actually one of the forefathers of this lively submarine.

Some years ago the artist began creating an oeuvre patterned after the concept of the Epiphany. To appear and to disappear: these two movements must alternate while observing a balance; otherwise, a catastrophe is inevitable. Every surfacing represents a new birth, and the restoration of the phenomenal ties with the world, which had been lost at the submerging stage.
Jean-Michel Bouhours

Defending both the artist’s right to be understood and his right to be misunderstood, a pack of submarine sea-wolves is patrolling the artistic domain, regularly surfacing to demonstrate the power of art: Ponomarev’s submarine fleet appears in the areas of artistic hyperactivity.

In their memory and imagination, many people regard the submarine as a terrible weapon. “How and why do I not write about my method of staying underwater for as long as one can stay without food? I do not reveal it to the public because of the evil nature of men who would use this method for killing at the bottom of the seas”, wrote Leonardo da Vinci.

Former submariner Ponomarev did some reverse engineering: he sneaked into that secret and closed area, reclaiming the deadly weapon as an art object. With the aid of chromatism, he transformed a submarine into a medium of artistic interaction, stripping it of its main advantage: secrecy. Musing upon the great master Titian, the legendary conqueror of the colour element, who himself worked in 15th century Venice; the contemporary artist covered the surface of the submarine with colourful “negative” camouflage.

Having considered all possible options for surfacing and docking, the submariner-artist Ponomarev has chosen a predefined spot on the map, with the coordinates 45”26’03. 58” N 12”19’36. 90” E. In the name of the artistic community, he entered the waters of Venice and for several months changed the landscape of the Grand Canal, against the backdrop of the sinking and surfacing facades of the Venetian palaces Ca’ Bernardo, Ca’ Foscari and Ca’ Rezzonico.

Ponomarev’s aquatic installation was enhanced by onshore presentations of the artist’s drawings and photographs in the halls of Palazzo Ca’ Bernardo, in the Faculty of Anglo-American, Ibero-American and Slavic-Eastern European Studies of the Ca’ Foscari University.

A fully illustrated catalogue Alexander Ponomarev | SubTiziano was published by the RNA Foundation and the Barbarian Art Gallery presented by Natasha Akhmerova to accompany the exhibition.




The RNA Foundation is a cultural platform that aims at promoting established as well as up and coming Russian artists and creative individuals. Founded by Victoria Golembiovskaya, the RNA utilizes its wide reaching connections to provide support and exposure to artists, facilitating their relations with curators, dealers and critics. With experience in art management and curating Golembiovskaya established RNA in order to contribute to the Russian art education system, diversifying its narrow scope and implementing a wider, international engagement.


By providing space and means for artists to develop their practice, our goal is to establish a constantly expanding and developing network, where the Russian contemporary art scene can be introduced to a wider art market, galleries and institutions across the globe. To do so, an exploration of new ideas is needed, as well as an active expanding of boundaries of the media available. This progressive outlook allows us to bring out the collaborative potential of not only museums and galleries we work with, but also of other foundations, auction houses and art institutions.


One aspect of our future projects is to establish a series of workshop spaces that will provide an interdisciplinary environment for Russian artists from all backgrounds and with varying degree of experience. Serving as a meeting point and an exchange ground for cultural capital, these work and gallery spaces would also function as lecture theatres for educational purposes and public events. We also plan to create residencies between Russian and international artists, where we hope to instigate a much needed cross-fertilization and collaboration.


However in order to realize such varied projects, we often need financial support whether from an individual, patron, trust or company. Philanthropy and charity are important factors in realizing any cultural project and we would be happy to work with you, directing the need of social engagement and cultural support through RNA’s activities.


Active since 2008, RNA Foundation is an exciting, passionate organization that has exhibited and curated around the world, devoting our focus on international artistic progression.

Art Advisory


Before launching the RNA Foundation in 2008, Victoria Golembiovskaya worked as a film producer and artistic director, gaining a vast experience in art management and further expanding her knowledge of history of art, which has graned the RNA foundation an original place and point of view within the international art community.

Our service is second to none; we provide consultations for the establishment and maintenance of private collections, as well as for large-scale curatorial projects. We have the contacts and resources to get a hold of rare works from all over the world for both private and public clients. In the last three years alone the RNA Foundation has produced shows in London, Moscow and Venice, handling valuable works in unprecedented environments, with a priority in presenting them in unique yet elegant manner. While maintaining a high standard and a rigorous vision we tailor our services to the client.

As a consultant, we go further than most agencies, providing legal advice for sales, organizing transportation of art works, and of course taking care of the acquisition process, operating on a strictly confidential basis.



Katerina Tesa
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