Kuratorium: European experiences of young Russian curators


22.02 - 18.03.2012

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Program: [Creative Workshops]

Place: National Centre for Contemporary Arts, exhibition hall

Curators: [Alexandra Obukhova], [Maria Udovydchenko]

Participants: [Zoya Katashinskaya], [Alisa Savitskaya], [Alexandra Semenova], [Maria Udovydchenko], [Daria Cherkashina], [Zinaida Shershun]

This exhibition presents the work of young Russian curators that completed internships at several art institutions in Western Europe: in Sweden, France, Great Britain, Germany, Austria and Romania. Each curator will display their experience earned in Europe and showcase their projects.

In the summer of 2011, a competition for young Russian curators was organized by EUNIC, European Union National Institutes for Culture. The co-organizers of the competition – British Council, Goethe Institute, French Cultural Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum, Royal Embassy of Sweden in Russia and Romanian Cultural Institute – coordinated their efforts to give the winners a unique opportunity to intern at major contemporary art museums and galleries in Europe, explore the European art market, and make new professional contacts.

The competition winners were: Zoya Katashinskaya ( Paperworks Gallery, Moscow), Alisa Savitskaya (NCCA Volga branch, Nizhny Novgorod), Aleksandra Semyonova (Krasnoyarks History and Culture Museum Complex), Maria Udovydchenko (NCCA, Moscow), Andrey Parshikov (OpenSpace, Moscow), Daria Cherkashina (“Curator School” of Project Etagi, Saint Petersburg), Zinaida Shershun (NCCA Baltic branch, Kaliningrad).

Between September 2011 and February 2012 they worked – some for a few weeks, others for a few months – at Centre Pompidou Metz (Metz, France), Turner Contemporary (Kent, UK), Anaid Art Gallery (Bucharest, Romania), Kalmar Konstmuseum (Kalmar, Sweden), Die Springerin and Tranzit (Vienna, Austria), and Haus der Kunst (Munich, Germany) respectively.

“Curatorium” exhibition at NCCA is the end result of this stage of the long term EUNIC project. The idea was born out of group discussions by interns of their personal and work experiences at European art galleries.

The main question asked during Skype conference calls was: “What does a curator exhibition look like?” In other words: how to make an exhibition with the efforts of a big team of young specialists from all over the country, and how to harmoniously multiply the variety of personal aesthetic preferences by different visions of professional functions? Conventional wisdom says that a curator's role is to show somebody else's art: a curator takes artists' creations, formulates concepts, puts exhibitional accents, and guides spectators.

Participants of “Curatorium” took a different path when they set a maximalist, ambitious goal: to create an art exhibition without artists. In this case a curator works not with artists and their art but with his or her own experience, visualizing impressions as he or she wishes.

Thus the exhibition will comprise any material illustrating the interns' impressions from their trip. A task formulated in this way is a challenge for a curator, a professional test, so to speak. Not an easy one, but all the more interesting.

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