Interview : ART MOSCOW


(Left), Mrs. Ekaterina IRAGUI – ART MOSCOW Expert; (middle), Mr. Vasiliy BYCHKOV – Director of EXPOPARK EXHIBITION PROJECTS Company, ART MOSCOW Organizer; (right) Mrs. Victoria KONDRASHOVA – Art Moscow Director. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

(Left), Mrs. Ekaterina IRAGUI – ART MOSCOW Expert; (middle), Mr. Vasiliy BYCHKOV – Director of EXPOPARK EXHIBITION PROJECTS Company, ART MOSCOW Organizer; (right) Mrs. Victoria KONDRASHOVA – Art Moscow Director. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

 

Today, high-profile Russian collectors are breaking sales records in auction houses everywhere around the world. Before the financial crisis, the art market in Russian has been described as “ripening fast”, very hot, very fast, very exciting... Galleries and auction houses made plans to have their part of the cake. But, other than those big names that we heard from time to time, who are the collectors supporting the internal growth and creating the demand?  What are they looking for in art? What kind of opportunity does Russia present and represent to us?

The unique art fair in Russia, ART MOSCOW, has become one of the fundamental components of Russia's contemporary art infrastructure, depicting Russia on the international art market. In this interview, we have the art fair’s founder, Mr. Vasiliy BYCHKOV, the fair’s director, Mrs. Victoria KONDRASHOVA, and the fair’s expert, Mrs. Ekaterina IRAGUI, to share with us the new edition of the fair and how the art market in Russia has evolved since the crisis.    

Established in 1995, this year the 16th edition of ART MOSCOW will take place from 19 – 23 September at the Central House of Artists, presenting galleries from over 14 countries.

InitiArt Magazine is a media partner of ART MOSCOW 2012.

 

IAM – InitiArt Magazine
Victoria KONDRASHOVA – Art MOSCOW Director
Ekaterina IRAGUI ART MOSCOW Expert
Vasiliy BYCHKOV – Director of EXPOPARK EXHIBITION PROJECTS Company & ART MOSCOW Organizer

 

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

 

IAM: Founded in 1995, September 2012 will be the 16th anniversary of ART MOSCOW. The fair has grown to become the largest presentation of contemporary art in Russia. How far is the fair integrated into the international art market circuit? What are your plans to make the fair one of the important events in the art world calendar?

V. BYCHKOV: At the beginning, ART MOSCOW had to overcome a lot of difficulties and today it remains the unique fair of contemporary art in Russia. That’s why foreign galleries that have commercial interests in Eastern Europe choose it as the showcase platform. These relations strengthened in each edition in the last 15 years, and now the ratio of Russian and foreign galleries participating in the fair is from 40:60 to 50:50 percent. ART MOSCOW has a strong position among national forums on contemporary art, fully reflects the character and potential of Russian art market which still has a long way to go. There is a growing demand for contemporary art, not only among the most fortunate class but also from middle class consumers. Globally speaking, the latter forms the basis of the art market. We work hard in this regard and try to convince the public of the accessibility of contemporary art.

IAM: How does ART MOSCOW distinguish itself from the other art fairs in terms of concept, program, gallery selection, etc.?

V. KONDRASHOVA: Let’s say, there are two kinds of art fairs: fairs that sell “everything” - contemporary art, antiques, modern art; and the specialized fairs. ART MOSCOW emphasizes the importance of a rigorous selection process of contemporary artworks. For this purpose, an expert council consists of professionals from different fields – gallerists, curators and art-critics – was formed. A gallery cannot get to the fair without the council’s admission. The program is conceived by the art director and accompanied by non-commercial projects and discussions. The program reflects new trends of the art market. The uniqueness of ART MOSCOW, when compared to other major European art fairs, is that here “East meets West”. Such cross-cultural feature creates a specific context for the fair and further arouses interest of the public. Also, ART MOSCOW works with Russian artists, even foreign galleries often showcase artists from the post-soviet territory – they have more success.

 

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

 

IAM: What are the new features or highlights that we can expect from the 2012 edition?

V. KONDRASHOVA: This year, our expert council is restructured since several galleries from the contemporary art center Winzavod closed, and Aydan Salakhova and Elena Selina both left the council. Our new expert is Ekaterina IRAGUI, who has been participating in ART MOSCOW since 2005. She owns two galleries: in Paris and in Moscow, that’s why her experience in different social and cultural territories is precious for us.
As for the fair itself – in 2012, ART MOSCOW will welcome three significant galleries from Iran: Assar Art Gallery, Hamayesh Gallery and Tirgun Image Works Gallery. They will present artworks of both well-known and emerging Iranian artists. The main objective of art galleries, regardless of their status, is to attract attention to the contemporary art scene of the country.
Of course, young Russian galleries are also in the focus. This year, galleries from Moscow (Les Gallery), Voronezh (Khlam Gallery) and Irkutsk (Dias Gallery) will take part in ART MOSCOW.

IAM: This year, ART MOSCOW is linked up with the Moscow Art Week project. What are the ideas behind the Moscow Art Week? What are the programs, exhibits and events that ART MOSCOW’s visitors can enjoy?

V. BYCHKOV: The Moscow Art Week project is initiated by the Central House of Artists along with the Foundation of Moscow Biennale of contemporary art. Main objectives of the Moscow Art Week are to raise interest to Moscow as a cultural capital on both national and international levels; to create a platform for further development of culture and contemporary art in Russia; and to cultivate public interest in art. The Art Week includes exhibition, educational and children’s programs. Educational program includes a long list of various events, such as lectures, open airs, recitals, presentations etc. The core of the educational program will be an international conference that features world intellectuals and elites in contemporary science, philosophy and sociology.

 

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

 

IAM: Moscow is Europe's second-most-populous city and one of the highest concentrations of billionaires in the world (with 27 billionaires in 2005, according to Forbes magazine). Collectors such as Roman Abramovich, Oleg Baibakov, Igor Markin, etc., are making waves in the international art scene. Locally, who are the art buyers today in Russia? What are they looking for in art?

E. IRAGUI: Actually, billionaires don’t form the art market, since collecting for them is a form of investment and we can’t call it the driving force of the market. When we speak about the future, we mean a progressive intellectual middle class, which has to become the core of art market.
Apart from exhibition activity, ART MOSCOW aims to fulfill its educational role. Our mission is to cultivate the idea that you don’t need to be a billionaire in order to own art. The Discussion sessions of the program aims to present arguments why it’s worthy to collect contemporary art.

IAM: Back in 2005, before the financial crisis and when you were celebrating the 10th Edition, the contemporary art market in Moscow was described as “ripening fast”. Has the art market in Russia slowed down since 2007?

E. IRAGUI: Recently, indeed, many people began to speak about gallery crisis in Russia, particularly since several galleries of Winzavod (the contemporary art center) has been closed down. I think one of the reasons is that, at the beginning of Year 2000, big galleries managed to attract collectors’ attention and convinced them to buy artworks by Russian artists. During the crisis, the market faltered and now it’s balancing back. We prefer to look at the future optimistically and work progressively, offering new partnerships with collectors and people who are interested in the social role of contemporary art.

 

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

 

IAM: What are the attractions and potentials that Moscow presents to the contemporary art world?

V. BYCHKOV: Moscow is becoming the crossing point of a large number of cultures. It’s a very interesting process and we observe it. New artists come with their stories and artistic views.

IAM: How do you project the future of ART MOSCOW?

V. BYCHKOV: From the very beginning till now, we are in continuous search. Everything is changing around: people, political situation – all this has an impact on the cultural life and contemporary art, which exists in close connection with all that’s happening around. Today contemporary art itself is influenced by new class of people that appeared in Moscow and other big cities: they take a very active part in the life of the country. We accumulate our own experience, as well as the experiences of our foreign colleagues and try to build a new model of art market, forming a new class of art buyers and amateurs of contemporary art among the general public.

IAM: Thank you very much!

 

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

ART MOSCOW 2011, view of the fair. Courtesy of ART MOSCOW

 

ART MOSCOW 2012, 16th International Fair of Contemporary Art
September 19 — 23, 2012
Venue: Central House of Artists, 10 Krymsky Val, Moscow
www.art-moscow.ru/en

 

Victoria KONDRASHOVA - ART MOSCOW Director
Victoria Kondrashova was born in 1981 in Taganrog, Russia. She studied at the Moscow State University, where she graduated as an Art Historian & Art Expert. In 2002-2005 she worked for the National Centre of Contemporary Art (NCCA, Russia) where she was in charge of public relations. In 2006 she joined EXPOPARK EXHIBITION PROJECTS Company as a PR-specialist, and then she co-curated Central House of Artists projects such as Open Moscow Book Festival, personal exhibitions of Tony Cragg, Erwin Wurm and others. Since 2007 Victoria KONDRASHOVA is the Director of ART MOSCOW, International Contemporary Art Fair.

Ekaterina IRAGUI - ART MOSCOW Expert
Ekaterina Iragui was born in St Petersburg. She studied at the Herzen State University, St Petersburg (graduated with a Masters in Philology), La Sorbonne Université Paris I (graduated with a Masters in Art History), Paris Ecole du Louvre, 2e cycle (graduated with a Masters in Muséologie, Administration and Management of museums) and Paris Ecole des Beaux Arts (Multimedia Faculty). Ekaterina Iragui began her career in Paris as an organizer and curator of independent art projects. Later she opened her own showroom in the Marais district. Ekaterina established Iragui Gallery in March 2008 to integrate Russian artists into European and international art scene. The Gallery is a permanent member of ART MOSCOW since 2005.

Vasiliy BYCHKOV - Director of EXPOPARK EXHIBITION PROJECTS Company, ART MOSCOW Organizer
Born in 1958 in Moscow. Vasiliy Bychkov graduated from the Moscow Institute of Architecture. Architect by profession, he began his career designing international exhibitions for the Chamber of Commerce. In 1994 he founded EXPOPARK EXHIBITION PROJECTS Company and launched such projects as ART MOSCOW (contemporary art fair), Russian Antique Salon (biggest antique fair in Russia), ARCH MOSCOW (exhibition of architecture and design), non\fiction (book fair) and others that gained today a status of high-quality and significant events in their field. In 2002 he headed the Central House of Artists and initiated considerable changes of the exhibition area including reconstruction of the historical building under the initial plan of the architect. In 2004 he created and became the president of the first professional union of antique dealers – International Confederation of Antiquaries and Art-Dealers. Vasiliy Bychkov also initiated the First Biennale of Architecture. In 2009 he was elected at the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and then headed the Commission for protection and development of national culture.