Expat Introduction: СHow Do You Do, Moscow?Т

MMOMAFour of the foreigners saying hello to their Moscow home at the exhibition.

Four expatriates met for the first time less than a year ago, but this Friday they will see their first exhibition open at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art.

The multimedia exhibition “How Do You Do … Moscow?” shows how 43 very different foreigners see the city they live in.

It is the result of a meeting last October — when Charlotte Cova-Coquillaud from France, Liz Anderson from Australia, Manuela Rüedi from Germany and Iben Muriel from Denmark — met at a photography workshop for bored housewives.


“We started talking about our ideas, and we just hit it off right away,” Muriel said in an interview at Coffee Mania, where most of the team’s ideas are born.

The four quickly saw their plans expand and called on numerous foreigners to help out, and they were never refused.

“Moscow is truly a place where everything is possible,” said Muriel. “If I had tried doing anything like this in London or Paris, people would have closed their doors in our faces. We could have not done that in London or Paris,” she said.

The group chose people from different nationalities, backgrounds, professions and ages.


“I think the only views of Moscow we didn’t include are babies’ ones,” said Cova-Coquillaud.

Each of the foreigners was photographed in a different spot. A yoga teacher is seen holding a lesson at Komsomolskaya metro station, a blogger in a fur hat sits outside with her laptop.

“I think foreigners living in Moscow are less scared to lose face than they would be at home,” said Muriel.

The participants were also sent a list of 40 questions about Moscow. Their answers and opinions have been turned into video clips, sculptures and music.


Everyone was asked, “If Moscow was a song, what song would it be?” and the resulting choices have been mixed into an hour-long track by club Most’s DJ Luch, which will be played at the exhibition. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and “Go West” by Pet Shop Boys were two of the pieces of music chosen by the foreigners.

Moscow-based British artist Davina Garrido de Miguel will show off her work, which will answer the question, “What is the best souvenir to buy in Moscow?”

When asked what they disliked about Moscow, the most popular answer was the city’s horrendous traffic, and the exhibition has an ironic sculpture made up of 600 toy cars to reflect that.

“Throughout the project, we became more adventurous and gathered all sorts of material. I’d call it a ‘mixed-media art experiment,’” said Muriel.

All the money earned at the exhibit will go to help two charities, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Nastenka.

Posters of some of the exhibit images and hand-painted ties by Spanish artist Ima Montoya will be sold at the museum.

“How Do you Do … Moscow?” opens Aug. 21 and runs until Sept. 20 at The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 9 Tverskoi Bulvar. Metro Pushkinskaya. Tel. 694-2890. Tickets cost 150 rubles. Free entry Mon. to Wed.