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Russia holds training program for Spanish curators

(en) Текст новости

The visit by Spanish curators to Russia is part of the Russian–Spanish training program for museum workers, organized by the Vladimir Potanin Foundation and La Caixa Foundation (Spain). To organize the training program, the Vladimir Potanin Foundation partnered with the Russian National Center for Contemporary Arts, ROSIZO. Both Russia and Spain hold training for museum professionals within the Museums Bridges competition by the Museums Without Borders charity program.

The theme of the training is Modern Art for Social Change. Russia organized an in-depth tour into the country's modern art life for the Spanish curators. The program participants managed to see how contemporary art creates platforms for generating ideas and concepts that are in line with current societal challenges. The Spanish guests observed how this topic was conveyed in Russian art galleries and museums, and spoke with artists and representatives of the Russian National Center for Contemporary Arts. One of the objectives of the training was to bring the attention of foreign colleagues to the modern day artistic and creative processes that take place in the Russian capital as well as in other cities, which all have their own original centers of contemporary art development.

The training program included visiting Moscow, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. In Yekaterinburg, the meeting between the Spanish curators and Russian artists lasted for over 5 hours. The artists spoke about their creative pursuits and shared the problems they encounter when bringing their ideas to life. The Spanish guests visited the White Tower, a symbol of the Uralmash district and a landmark of the constructivist era, went to the region's only photography museum, Dom Metenkova (House of Metenkov), as well as the Yeltsin Center, an independent venue for discussions, and a museum by the same name which features numerous works by contemporary artists. In Nizhny Novgorod, the Spanish curators saw street-art works by local artists, went to contemporary art galleries, and visited the large Arsenal exhibition hall, home to the Volga-Vyatka division of the Russian National Center for Contemporary Arts.

The Moscow program included a number of art centers which house contemporary and socially-oriented works such as the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Winzavod, the New Tretyakov Gallery. During their trip to St. Petersburg, the Spanish visitors went to the contemporary art sections of the Hermitage, as well as small local galleries and studios. They met with representatives of art groups involved in social initiatives.

The training program allowed the Spanish curators to meet up with Russian artists from the capital and other cities, see their works in authentic environments, dive into the atmosphere of creative pursuits and ideas by Russian creators and related institutions which strive to transform the social and cultural atmosphere within the country through their projects. During the training, participants managed to exchange their ideas, knowledge, models for representing and exhibiting contemporary art objects, find common ground in their creative processes, discuss common problems, and most importantly – it created an impulse for further collaborations and joint projects which would unite museum professionals from different countries.

The Spanish group included:

·         Barbara Cueto (Berlin) – curator and researcher, Art Editor for Fireflies Magazine (print versions are available in Melbourne and Berlin)

·         Joana Hurtado Matheu (Barcelona) – art critic and curator. Since 2010, curator of visual arts program for young artists at Can Felipa, Barcelona. Vice President of the Catalan Association of Art Criticism and content contributor for La Vanguardia and Cahiers du Cinéma España

·         Suset Sánchez (Madrid) – art historian, critic and curator

·         Ada Sbriccoli (Barcelona) – independent curator, co-founder of the Fuga photography center

·         Ángel Calvo Ulloa (Spain/Brazil) – writer and independent curator

Feedback from program participants

Suset Sánchez: "I'm very grateful for this memorable and extremely valuable experience which will become the basis for discussions on prominent art works from different Russian cultural and creative environments."

Ada Sbriccoli: "I was especially impressed by the personal aspect of the program – the meetings and discussions with artists and curators from local projects and galleries. It was amazing to visit the artist studios and see the cities through their eyes. The trips to the White Tower in Yekaterinburg and the Avtozavodsky City District in Nizhny Novgorod gave me a new and unexpected perspective on the urban, industrial and political history of those cities. The presentation of artists from the Russian National Center for Contemporary Arts in Yekaterinburg was exceptionally interesting, and gave us a chance to understand how varied and multi-dimensional the artistic community of the Russian Urals is. I also really enjoyed going to the contemporary photography exhibitions in Yekaterinburg and St. Petersburg."

The return visit of Russian museum specialists to Spain took place June 16-25. Russian experts saw the best Spanish contemporary art works representing social issues, and learned about successful initiatives and best practices.

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