Выставка №2. Страх – Exhibition No. 2. Fear

This weekend I visited a peculiar place in St. Petersburg – a fear exhibition (or exhibition-performance – Выставка-перфоманс, as the organizers call it). I know what you’re thinking: totally appropriate to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The full name of the exhibition is “Выставка №2. Страх” – “Exhibition No. 2. Fear”, as it is the second work of a creative union called “Intervalo Lucido”, Spanish for “lucid interval”, a period of clarity between delusions of a psychiatric patient. In this exhibition they wanted to get rid of the fake and artificial “I’m fine” and “I’m OK” and expose all the negative emotions that we often pretend are not there. I must say, they chose the perfect place for it – the exhibition takes place in an old church that is awaiting the much-needed reconstruction, and calling it creepy would be a serious understatement. You will see installations that depict seven emotional conditions of a human: fear, pain, shame, loneliness, hate, guilt and sin. The installations include light and sound, and together with dilapidated walls with paint and plaster peeling off, they do make a grim impression. Also, specifically for this project a perfume specialist has created the “smell of fear” – you can try it there. In my opinion, it does smell unsettling. An “interesting” detail: it felt colder inside the church than outside on the street, which made it all the more chilling. 

This was a very unusual kind of experience and definitely worth a try. I highly recommend going at night for the full impact. Admission is donation-based – you pay the amount you feel like giving, and all the money goes to the church reconstruction fund. They are quite insistent on you donating something at the entrance though, so don’t be surprised when they ask for money while pointing at a glass jar. I would say, RUB 100.00 per person is sufficient – at least that’s what most visitors seem to give.

Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 12:00 to 20:00. All the installations have descriptions in English.

Lastly, how to find it: the exhibition is inside the Аннекирхе (Annekirche, the church of St. Anna), an old church on Кирочная улица, between numbers 8 and 8a. The nearest metro station is Чернишевская. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a restaurant called Duo Gastrobar – the church is right next to it, so if you get too scared at the fear exhibition you can have a nice, quiet meal after! And keep in mind that the exhibition is temporary and will be there only until April 20th.

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