Organizers Conditions Jury News History
New site «Golden bee 7»
President of Biennale
Serge Serov
Direction of Biennale
Expo-Park Exhibition projects Company
General director
Vasily Bychkov
Post address
Russia 119049 Moscow,
Krymskiy Val 10,
Central Artists Hall, office 165
(095)  238-45-00
Julia Klintsova
The birth of Golden Bee, Moscow International Biennale of Graphic Design, became possible due to those opportunities, which have appeared during "Perestroyka".

It was in 1990, that Iron Curtain has opened for me, when I, for the first time in my life, have got abroad -- it was biennial in Brno. The impression was stunning. All that was slightly known only under the cataloques, magazines and albooms fallen incidentally in Moscow, has faced "alive" and has made amaz-ing effect. Deafening quantity of first-rate design activities. Personal meetings with legendary celebrities. Infinite acquaintances to free, unchained people, intensive information and emotions exchange with them, and their huge concern by them to everything, that you speak. Exclusive, unprecedented benevolence. Atmosphere of plenty, paradize and happiness, poured in air of that small, charming, pretty town full of flowers. Later then I have visited in many countries, in many cities, Melbourn and New York included, but Brno was remained my first love

I returned therefrom by another man. Up to that time we, Vassily Tsygankov and I, racked our brains over how to deceive our Soviet chiefs and to publish results of the type-face competition, which one we shortly before it have managed to conduct, as the appendix to the "Reclama" (Advertising) magazine, where Vassily Tsygankov worked as art-director, and I worked as editor-consultant, Vladimir Chaika was awarded with Silver Medal at Brno-88 for cover-design of this magazine. On our way home from Brno, in an airplane, I have told Vassily: "That's enoug! We are free people. We shall puplish the own independent magazine!"

We have called it "" (which are the last letters of the Russian alphabet, having a unique graphics). Also were threw into the sea of private business, which one nearly has not occluded us. We had neither stregth nor abilities enouth. Therefore when one successful advertising agency watching for our fruitless efforts, has offered us to issue the same magazine, but under its title, we have agreed. So the "Greatis" magazine has appeared. It existed for three years there only four issues of the magazine were published during that time, but Chaika received two more awards in Brno: a Bronze Medal for the logo of the magazine and Alfons Mucha Prize for the covers and lay-out of "Greatis" magazine.

In 1992 the "Greatis" agency has received the urgent proposal from the organizers of annual manufacturing review " Advertising 92 " to conduct in its frameworks whicever competition of advertizing posters. The editorial office of our magazine was asced for the help. Here again I have insisted: it is nec-essary to make not a local competition, but an international biennale! Like one in Brno!

Thus in October, 1992 the first Golden Bee competition was held. By the founders of its steel the magazine "Greatis" and agency "Greatis". And almost nobody knows, that this bee is the talisman of ad-vertising agency "Greatis". But talisman could not saved the Agency. Some time later it was attaced by gangsters, the director has run away to USA, and a huge agency has ceased to exist in one day. The "Greatis" magazine also expired. But Golden Bee has remained.

By this time the Moscow biennale already has received a special status "Endorsed by ICOGRADA", it had become a member of IBCC (International Biennales Co-ordination Committee). And we had to drug this burgen themselves, nearly without any help from the state or sponsors.

How does it goes? Every time it comes out well at the last moment and quite by chance, if one beleaves in changes. Sometimes I was walking as a beggar with a cap, asking our designers for money to support the international competition of the highest category!

For our designers "Biennale" is not the simplly biennial exhibition. It is a kind of parole, a profes-sional motto. To burst through with one's own works to biennales in Brno, Warsaw or Lahti, to get in the cataloque -- all this always was a blue dream of each graphic designer. Every biennalel was not just a pro-fessional festival. It was always a certain symbol of freedom. The foreign colleagues, who knew Soviet designers by biennales catalogues, asked me later on we met: "Did all your designers lived in one living block -- Gogolevsky Boulvard, 10?" Now it is already difficult to explain, that it was the address of the Un-ion of the Soviet artists -- only alone address, which it was permitted to be indicated for all Soviet design-ers and artists in the catalogues.

In the Soviet times we could not even dream that it would be possible to arrange in our country something alike to that had taken place in Warsaw, Brno, Lahti or Colorado.

And then, an unthinkable dream has become a reality, which more and more acquires an international recognition and admission. It is enough to tell, that the first Golden Bee in 1992 received entries from 17 countries, the Second Golden Bee in 1994 -- from 34 countries, the Third in 1996 -- from 37 countries, and the Fourth Golden Bee in the end of 1998 -- from 40 countries of a world. "Communication Arts" (USA), one of the leading magazines on graphic design, has devoted 16 pages to enthusiastic impres-sions of Robert Peters, a jury member of "Golden Bee 2" from Canada. "The level of the exhibition is like that in Tokyo or New York", -- Fumihiko Enokido, a jury member of "Golden Bee 3" from Japan, has stated in television interview.

But, certainly, Golden Bee, Moscow International Biennale of Graphic Design, yet does not reach this level. Its authority at the international arena is not quite deserved. But its title is somehow liked by the world designers community. "Golden Bee" is used for biographic references in the cataloques of our lau-reats, instead of the full naming of the event or its abbreviations, as it is done concerning other festivals -- without superfluous words and even without a statement of the place of realization.

Certainly, starting to organize Golden Bee, we had in mind inspiring examples of other biennales, and, first of all, the biennale in Brno. But our Golden Bee has its own specifics. What are they?

Begining with "Golden Bee 1" we never limited the number of competition entries we accept, as is the rule with other biennales. We were too insulated from the rest of the world by the Iron Curtain for the long a time, so now we cannot afford to be too squeamish. And now we are in a hurry to make up for lost time and to see with our own eyes for themselves designers works of our foreign colleagues, and as many as possible. The more so, that the exposition space in the Moscow Central House of the Artist allow it -- there is really Russian's spaciousnesses.

The bee is flying, where it likes, gathering nectar even from very simple flowers. Thus Golden Bee collects the best works of designers from all continents and brings them to us, designers can extract beauty from very simple every day things, transforming life in culture.

If we would like to sum up in one word the characteristics of the Moscow biennale, we should use a purely Russion notion -- "wideness". But "Golden Bee" has another aspect too. The Golden Bee title sounds for English speaking people as "Golden Biennale". So, I have decided to show at the Golden Bee exposition "all gold of a world" , that is -- the posters which have awarded Grand Prixes, Gold Medals or First Prizes on other international design biennials and festivals for last two years -- a biannual cycle. Thus, Golden Bee, being the last to enter the ranks of the world tournaments, skimmed the cream of the best of the best designs activities. In principle, it is quite conventional for our history: the Russian people have always felt "to be the doers of the eleventh hour", who (according to the gospel parable) are the last to appear on a world scene, but who in the long run, become egual with the first. Waiting and catching up this is what we are used to

The award of the golden laureats review is by no means an intercontinental Supercup for the absolute world champion. It purely only symbolically denotes the choice of Golden Bee, our own sympathies and preference.

Shigeo Fukuda, a real idol of our designers, at Golden Bee 3 became the first laureate of this award, which was named "Golden BeeLoved". The International Biennales Coordination Committee has instituted its own prize -- IBCC Award, specifically for our supercompetition. It was awarded to Melchior Imboden, a Swiss designer. At Golden Bee 4 this supercompetition was arranged by correspondence. Niklaus Troxler became the laureate of Golden BeeLoved, and Kazumasa Nagai -- IBCC Award.

The poster was and remains the centeral interest of the Moscow biennial. However after crash of the Soviet poster this kind of design creativity yet was not developed enough here. Novadays other gen-res of graphic design are more actual and popular. That is why I decided to add at Golden Bee 3 two more competitive categories "Logos" and "Type-faces". At "Golden Bee 4" to the main biennial dish -- the poster -- we added some side-dish, that is such nominations as "Magazine Design" and "Bussiness cards". These additions have an non-systematic and unregular character, and rather have a cognitive importance of reviewing those genres of graphic design of which, to my mind, our designers are urgently in need of fresh visual information.

There is also one more specifics. At other biennales expositions are being arranged, so to say, according to some scientific principle. For example, in Warsaw an alphabetical principle is used, in Brno the exposition has national sections. At present we cannot afford to have strict classifications. It is more important parametr to have picturesqueness and the entity of professionally perfect sight. We always ar-ranged expositions according to the "spot". But at Golden bee 4 the exposition was arranged not only "by a spot" principle, but also by format -- which is an important parameter for the bussiness cards, magazines and posters, those genres of graphic design which were presented at "Golden bee 4".

Such an approach realises a well-known post-modernist principle of a "double coding", that is both for professionals and for the wide public. Some piople say, that such an artistic approach contradicts to the main competition aspect. They claim that all participants should be under egual conditions, that those who presented 10-15 posters on the whole wall, will take the upper hand over all the rest, because they "have an expositional advantage ". Nothing of the kind! Grand Prix "Golden bee 4 " was awarded to Stefan Sagmeister, an American, who had only one poster exhibited under the ceiling at the worst exposition place. Thus the practice shows that the professional eye can always singl out from general composition both national schools, and the best personal achievements.

The designers can not well themselves feel, if occasionally they do not pass voluntary examinations to each other, and not only to a rich client; if they cannot estimate themselves according to "Hamburg account", which does not depend on the success outside. The level inside this professional account at each festival by the international jury.

It is a sin to complain -- we had in Moscow on the jury board such stars of world design, as Alan Fletcher and Uwe Loesch, Alain Weil and Kari Piippo, Dan Reisinger and Phil Risbeck, Gianni Bortolotti and Raiph Schraivogel At "Bee 1" jury has awarded Grand Prix to our designer Andrey Logvin, at Sec-ond Bee -- Gerard Paris-Clavel, at "Golden Bee 3" -- Koichi Sato. The jury on "Golden bee 4" was also perfect. Design celebrities were not frightened by the situation and came to our wild country. The jury con-sisted of Melchior Imboden, Switzerland, Yossi Lemel, Israel, Keizo Matsui, Japan, Tadeusz Piechura, Poland, Alain Le Quernec, France (Chairman), Jan Rajlich Jr., Czechia, and ours Valery Akopov, Russia and Oleg Veklenko, Ukraine.

Activity of jury, the way of disecussing competition entries is always a lively creative process. It includes both rational and irrational moments. It was bewitchingly interesting to watch the discussion. According to nternational rules the working procedure of activity is chosen by the Chairman. At "Golden Bee 3" Maxim Zhukov, the Chairman, had practically no discussion whatever, it was pure mathematics -- just counting of votes. This time, at "Golden Bee 4", Alain Le Quernec demonstrated quite an opposite ap-proach: communication, improvisation, thinking aloud. From time to time he resorted to meditations. "And now, -- he said, - let's keep silence for five minutes, and then again we shall come back to our discussion". In particular, it concerned Grand Prix. In the long run the dicision of the jury may seem risky enoyth: Stefan Sagmeister's poster is characterised by black professional humour and trash aesthetics. But Alain Le Quernec said: "This fellow has a greate future. And the fact that he'll get his first biennale award in Moscow will become not only a notable fact in his biography, but also in a history of a Golden Bee"

The visual culture is formed by every day work. But its concentration, realization and advancement take place during festivals, such as biennales and the like.

It may be that tomorrow in Russia the names of stars of design become so popular, as today -- names of politicians, as were yesterday the names of film stars. And the design forums will be held like Moscow film festival nowadays.But at present holding up Golden bee is possible only due to some miracle

Serge Serov,
Biennale President

Copyright © 2004 Golden Bee Association