Some people don’t ask, make assumptions we will become more simple. Some call it distinctive, some suggest going underground or leaving. Anyway, the questions of what to do and what will happen are still open. Here I’ve collected some thoughts on what can happen to Russian contemporary art. Of course I’m not a future predictor, but’m I trying to look at the picture a little wider. There will be just a part of the reasoning as these days I'm recording a lecture with analytics and examples. I will provide you with five things that seem to be the key ones.
I know this love of the art world towards arguing about everything and disagreeing with each other, scolding, gossiping and so on. I don't think that it’s a good strategy in times of crisis though. We’re all different, we differently look at art and use different methods and techniques that form the vocabulary of visual art. Disputes about the fact that some methods and techniques are more important than others have long seemed to me absolutely meaningless, now even more so. Especially when most of the projects in contemporary art use completely different techniques to create a more voluminous vision. I think that in our current situation it’s much more profitable to unite than to leave the dialogue through categorical statements that it should be this way and not that way.
The things that definitely need to be taken in account are education and constant study of culture, science and art. Here you definitely need to run twice as fast just to stay in place. Culture, it seems to me, and art as part of it, is engaged into turning information into knowledge. Culture brings sense and turns into a concept the flow of thoughts, studies of different fields, and even just social phenomena like scrolling through Instagram. It then finds expression in those very techniques and methods. The concept can’t exist by itself, it comes to us through the most precisely selected ways of expression, which have the ability to turn information into knowledge. At this stage, we can talk about professionalism, about dialogue.
When we talk about art or about culture in general we tend to communications that in the case of an individual artist or art figure can be deadly. For example, they ban Russian culture. But for some reason Boris Groys is not banned. There is a general idea, and there is a an individual inside this story. And here it makes sense to think about yourself, your world and your business, because that’s it that eventually develops into a one big story. It’s not about every man for himself, it's about an individual and no one also being responsible for his fate. Based on my situation, my love, intuition, energy and other things I choose my ways and solutions to the issues that have arisen. For some people it’s more appropriate to do it differently. And when we realise that there is no common culture, but there are individual people who shape their way of life in connection with what they say, think, express and what meanings they produce, then everything becomes different. Their individual meanings eventually become a cultural field.
Rethinking history. Production of meanings
Why have all the exhibitions that take place in Moscow right now and include artworks made a long time ago suddenly turned out to be so relevant? The predictions of artists or endless walking in circles, over the same pains? What is it, if not an endless repetition of the same meanings? I listen to analysts, and in my head there are some strange memories from my childhood. When I was a 5-year-old child in the 90s listening to some debates and statements, there were so many of them on TV. Suddenly it seemed that I’ve already knew all this, and they scolded, and praised, and refused, and decided everything: separately or together, to the East or to the West. We probably like to abandon the problems of our own history so much that it prevents us from analysing ourselves in order to move on, and not walk in circles. Now, personally, more than ever, I want to read books on history, in which I didn’t even live, but which still continues to influence me: through the upbringing of parents, through cultural habits, through worldview and character. Now it’s the time, more than ever, to dig deep into yourself, analyse, and wading through the ruins of the outside to find their own meanings that are relevant to the modern day, the modern state of the world and the modern self. Perhaps this will allow us to produce meanings that will not repeat us 70 years ago, but that will be relevant to what is happening now.
Dialogue with the outside world
The truth is that in order to start talking to someone, to have a dialogue, you need to become interesting to someone else. It seems to me that we often forget about this simplest postulate of marketing and advertising. Do you want to be noticed? Get interested and then there will be a dialogue. This, in general, works with any culture or individual artist, or just a person who wants to get to know another person. You can form an interest in yourself only in a dialogue with another. Through meanings, through ideas that both are interested in discussing, otherwise the interlocutor is lost. The dialogue with your own self often leads to the fact that a person simply once again becomes convinced that he was right and once again comes to the same conclusions, produces the same meanings and starts everything in a circle from them. For the formation of new concepts and ideas it’s crucial to have another person who would break the circle by new statements and would help with forming new ones. Will Russian culture and, in particular, art want to build a dialogue with the modern world? Will Russia want to interest it? It’s up to Russian culture and Russian art to decide, and in particular, to each of its individual. Can we and will we want to prove its value?