- 2017 was a full year for the VAC Foundation.
- This year has really been a huge one for the VAC foundation. We opened our house in Venice, a full-fledged exhibition area - Palazzo on Zattera. One can already write a memoir about this. About how difficult it was, but how important. And not at all because I come from Italy. We opened the building with an art project, which was created in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), to show that we are good at dialogue. It seems to me that our world is divided into two fields: one is where politicians act, who cannot understand each other in any way. Another field is where we, people of culture, act. We perfectly find a common language, implementing joint endeavors. Anyone who has been to Chicago understands what AIC is. This is a monster, a huge encyclopedic museum. We are a young energetic institution, where the average age of curators is over 30,and the experience of many is limited to a few projects. Despite this, we proved that we have something to say, that we have interesting young artists who are able to build a dialogue between the past and the present. This is what we want to build on. To understand what happened, in what form it came down to us, how and where to go next. Without this, no forward movement is possible.
We will not make exhibitions based on how attractive they will look on Instagram.
- How do you see the future of the fund?
- A year ago, Anton Belov, director of the Garage Museum, and I were invited to a round table at the Cultural Forum in St. Petersburg. The public-private partnership (PPP) was discussed, that is, the interaction of the state and private enterprises. The discussion was interesting, but at some point we realized that we were at a dead end with PPP, so we jokingly announced that we were creating a PPP, a partnership of two private institutions. And right on the spot they wrote the charter, the first point of which is not to ask each other for money, the second is not to compete, but to help. I am often asked if the competition with Garage, an experienced institution that has existed for 10 years, does not scare me. To this, I always sincerely answer that I believe in inter-institutional interaction. We intend to cooperate, not compete. Nobody believes!The foundation recently released the book How to Live Together, after the 6th Moscow Biennale, curated by Bart de Bare, director of the M KHA Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp. We have a joint program with M KHA - every year we hold a competition and acquire one work of a Russian artist for the museum's collection. Now our cooperation has become even more fruitful - a book has appeared. We had to find a place for its presentation, and we turned to Garage. Anton Belov, when I invited him to make a presentation with a discussion, I agreed without hesitation - everything rests on this trust. Now everyone is puzzled by the key question of our time: "How to live together?" The next Manifesto in Palermo, which will open in June 2018, is dedicated to this. If we do not find new approaches to living together, new ways of co-living,then we can hardly move on. This is all the more relevant for us at VAC. We need to establish our DNA as the cultural institution of the future. All these years VAC has been a small, private, experimental foundation operating in a regime of absolute freedom. Now we are in the process of becoming a public, socially significant project. This transition is very difficult, even in the smallest detail. It is necessary to completely change the structure, which requires the participation of people with experience in large social organizations, who are aware of possible mistakes and ways to avoid them. So, in the fall, the artistic director Francesco Manacorda, who previously held the post of director of Tate Liverpool, appeared in the fund. I told him directly that we needed him so that GES-2 would not become a Tate. He liked this challenge. Francesco left the warm place of the head of one of the main British museums,came to us, he must learn the language, understand the context, learn about contemporary Russian art. It is objectively difficult, but he shows remarkable enthusiasm, and I think soon you will have the opportunity to see his fruits with your own eyes. More precisely, at the end of April, when we will open the first large project with his participation.
1 out of 5 Barbara Kruger. Klutsis © Courtesy the artist, Sprüth Magers and Mary Boone Gallery
Lyubov Popova. "Installation of Space Force Construction"
© Delfino Sisto Legnani Alexander Rodchenko. Workers Club © Delfino Sisto Legnani Irina Korina. "The Hall of Columns" © Delfino Sisto Legnani
During 2017, within the framework of the experimental program MMOMA "Carte Blanche", we held four exhibitions. A logical continuation of this successful cooperation will be a large project in the MMOMA building on Petrovka, which will be held from April to September 2018. The exhibition "The Dress Rehearsal" was developed by Francesco in cooperation with the staff of the Foundation and the Museum. On the one hand, its name is a hint of preparatory work before the opening of our permanent home, HPP-2, scheduled for 2019, and on the other, a reference to our methodology, which is very close in nature to script writing. The KADIST Foundation (Paris, San Francisco), which is a small independent institution similar to the one we have been all these years, is also invited to the dialogue. The project will involve works from the collection of all three members of VAC, KADIST and MMOMA.A total of 100 artists. New works will also be created. An intensive parallel program is also planned. The project will definitely not be a static exhibition.
- Has the exact date of the opening of HPP-2 already become known?
- Now I tell everyone that HPP-2 will open in 2019, in the “corridor” of good weather between May and the end of September. But it will be possible to predict more accurately only next year, when high-tech glass structures with built-in solar cells and mechanisms responsible for controlling the lighting in the hall will appear. They are now produced in Germany. When the roof and facade are glazed, we will understand how long it will take to finish and will be able to name the exact opening date. At the same time, other works will be carried out, and the HPP-2 complex will gradually acquire numerous elements, in accordance with the plan of the RPBW architectural bureau. A birch grove, a viewing half-bridge, a new pier …
© VAC press service
- Do you already understand what program will be in the coming years after the opening? What will be inside the halls? In Teit, for example, which GES-2 should not look like, there are rooms with works from the museum's collection, they are periodically updated and show contemporary art from different angles. Since the foundation has its own collection, will it be somehow involved? Or will all the halls be "design" like Garage?
- We want to show the main exhibition projects based on the work with the VAC collection during 2018. We did this before at Whitechapel in London a few years ago. With the participation of its director Iwona Blazwik as curator, next year we will open two exhibitions in our Venetian space - for the opening and closing of the Architecture Biennale. No special collection hall is planned at HPP-2. The most important thing for us is the desire to interact, it is important for us to create a place where the spirit of the factory would remain, where something would be constantly produced. We will not make exhibitions, we will make programs using a variety of artistic languages. We are interested in painting, sculpture, theater, performance, and cinema - we do not want to limit ourselves. All museums, for example, are developing a film program. Whether we like it or notmuseums are becoming different. Ours, most likely, will become the Palace of Culture, as we joke with colleagues. Unfortunately, in this context, the word culture is usually not used in the plural, they do not say “Palace of Cultures”. Nevertheless, this is what we mean - a meeting place for different cultures, different visions, different techniques, different methodologies. The Palace of Culture as a massive unifying project was an excellent idea. We also want to unite. Especially today, when walls are being built, borders are being built and someone constantly refuses to communicate with someone.different visions, different techniques, different methodologies. The Palace of Culture as a massive unifying project was an excellent idea. We also want to unite. Especially today, when walls are being built, borders are being built and someone constantly refuses to communicate with someone.different visions, different techniques, different methodologies. The Palace of Culture as a massive unifying project was an excellent idea. We also want to unite. Especially today, when walls are being built, borders are being built and someone constantly refuses to communicate with someone.
Teresa Iarocci Mavica © VAC Press Office
- Now the world community is discussing that museums are becoming Instagram-friendly. People can be brought to an exhibition only when its exposition is sharpened so that they can take a beautiful photo everywhere. After the opening of the Murakami exhibition in the Garage, I climbed the stairs, followed by Dasha Zhukova. She told her friend that Takashi Murakami is also a genius because any of his works of art are simply created for instagram. What is your attitude towards museums and exhibitions of the "era of instagram"? How Instagram-friendly the exhibitions at HPP-2 will be?
- Are we sure that in two years there will be Instagram at all? That something else won't appear? Several days ago I went to the theater on Bogomolov Street. During the performance, two-thirds of the audience checked the updates in the Facebook and Instagram feeds on their mobile phones, and I had a strong desire to take them all out of the hall. I, apparently, a man of the last century. At the same time, I perfectly understand that these phenomena need to be looked at more broadly. I have a son who is 16 years old. Every time we start talking about something, he constantly switches to his phone, and it seems to me that he stops listening to me. To this, he objects that he can do several things at the same time. The world is changing. I am deeply convinced that art requires attention, personal involvement, but if you close yourself, ignore the path followed by society,and with them technology and art, then you will forever lock yourself in the past. I don’t want that. I want to stay open and understand what the modern world is. Perhaps Dasha Zhukova is right. She brought Murakami here. organized a wonderful exhibition that finally explained to the general public who this artist is and what his world is like. He's really great, as this deeply sick dark world conveys bright and colorful, eye-catching. We can only hope that with each post on Instagram, someone will awaken curiosity and a desire to understand this material deeper. I am sure that the success of the Murakami exhibition is primarily determined by the extent to which a person is not just content with pictures on Instagram, but wants to go further in his search. We at HPP-2 will not hold exhibitions on the basis thathow advantageous they will look on the phone screen. But if suddenly for some reason they will be instagrammable, then why not.
Exterior sketch of HPP-2 (project Renzo Piano Building Workshop) © RPBW
- Will there be big, big names in the HES-2 program? It is clear that Tino Segal, whose works by VAC were shown this year at Novaya Tretkovka and at the site of the Museum of Architecture, is a big name in a global context. But it will tell the general public almost nothing. When I talk about big names, I mean the format of what Garage did with Murakami, Baldessari, Bourgeois.
- We do not have a task to represent any specific artists. We will never do an exhibition, for example, Cattelan. This is not the kind of functionality we would like to work with. The exhibition of Tino Segal was not held because of the famous name of the artist. He interested us not as a person, we were interested in his methodology of work. In no case do I want to say that monographic exhibitions are wrong, but we still will not focus on names, the process is more important for us. It sounds vague, I understand. In fact, everything is very clear and clear with us, but I would not want to talk about all the plans, it is important for me to convey the idea and general approach. Fortunately for us, we are not a state institution. We shouldn't set attendance records. If you don't have a million visitors at once, it's not so tragic.Our founder Leonid Viktorovich Mikhelson understands that we are not participating in a race, but building a context. So far, what we have done has been successful. This means that we are on the right track.
Tino Segal © VAC Press Service
- If you are a resident of London or come to London, want to learn something about British art, then go to Tate Britain. If you want to see an international slice - at Tate Modern. In New York, there is Whitney for contemporary American art, and MoMA for international art. There is no institution in Russia that would scrupulously work with contemporary and post-war Russian art, that would have an impressive collection, and on its example one could see how artistic thought developed. It could exist if Tsukanov, Markin and the Semenikhin family united their collections. Do you consider the absence of such a museum a big disadvantage? Or are we on a different path of development and we don't need this?
- A person who comes to Moscow can go to the Tretyakov Gallery and understand a lot about Russian art. And then go to the MMOMA - and also understand a lot … The private collections that you mentioned are too private. But there is also an explanation for that. There is a prejudice that everything is bad here. We have an inborn pessimism. But have you ever talked to foreigners who come here? I often. And they all leave in awe. To my regret, the country has a huge problem - it doesn't know how to talk about itself, no one really cares about its image. And I constantly compare what is happening in Russia and in Europe, and I am convinced that truly important processes are underway here too. Only no one talks about them. Nobody is interested in this. Russia is a country to which the world owes a lot. Not gas, oil or rockets, but culture: literature,music, poetry … Why they don't understand this, I don't know. I am ready to explain if necessary. I dream to talk to someone from those people who "broadcast" about culture and cultural policy, while often confusing them with propaganda. I have something to share with them. For example, this summer in Salzburg, a young Russian orchestra “broadcast” about its country in such a way that we, ten people from Russia, cried. I'm not from here, but I've lived most of my life in Russia. I don't care if they consider me a foreigner. I do not consider myself as such. This is where I grew up, found my calling, took place here. I came to Russia to study, I might not have stayed, but stayed, because it is a tribute to this country. And that Perm orchestra musicaeterna is a complete delight. There, at the Salzburg festival, the president, the deputy president and fifty ministers were supposed to be.Because there was that Russia about which it is necessary to "broadcast". This should be emphasized. Here we at HPP-2 will fight for it to be known about this country. We must fight and defend our conviction.>