Leonid Bazhanov

Leonid Bazhanov, Artistic Director, National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, Russia

Leonid Bazhanov, Artistic Director, National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, Russia

Anticipating my presentation of the impressions of the CIMAM’s Annual Conference in Doha, I would like to note that the circumstances did not allow me to participate in the first day of the conference sessions. Nevertheless, the level of presentations and intensive discussions aroused in me a great interest and forced me to focus on the different aspects of the contemporary museum’s practice.

I would like to stop on the important (in my opinion) issues discussed at the conference such as the report by Mr. Luiz Augusto Teixeira de Freitas. This was addressed to the necessity for existence of the regulations in relations between today’s art institutions, art market, the professional community and the public in general. Briefly, the spokesperson was convinced that the regulations of the market relations can bring greater fairness in the relationships between artists and collectors of art, between private and public.

Some optimism and confidence in the effective­ness of the regulation made in the report set up an active and meaningful debate. Speakers, based on their own professional experience, put forward various aspects for consideration of the relation­ship of private and public interests. And even the notion of “private” and “public” in the speeches had different values. For example Mr. Bernard Blistène or Ms. Kate Fowle had completely different points of view in their approach to this question. And while Mr. Bernard Blistène’s brilliant performance aroused an interest for the positivity in understand­ing the mission of the museum for contemporary art primarily as a collection, for me, Ms. Kate Fowle’s performance was extremely interesting as an expli­cation of the work in a particular region– Russia.

The variety of approaches opens the possibility to the wide range of work in the future. In particular –the museum work. Especially, I would like to stress the issue of the importance of the “private” artistic creativity, and the individuality of an artist, raised in the discussion.

In addition to the interesting sessions, consider­able interest was the numerous conversations and discussions held on the sidelines of the conference. Such possibility for communication for the profes­sionals and the representatives of various institu­tions from different countries was crucial. It made possible to schedule various future projects and initiate and inspire future discussions, etc.

No less important for me personally was an acquaintance with Qatar’s art institutions: Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Katara Art Center, QM Katara Gallery, Fire Station Artists in Residence. A visit to these institutions and meeting with the staff gave me a clear picture of the institutional situation in the country and promising opportunities for the future cooperation. Understanding the spirit of presenting major works of world famous artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Richard Serra in the city and public spaces in Doha and in the context of national culture, also gives rich food for thought.

In general, participation in the conference for me is an extremely rewarding experience, opening various opportunities for productive professional work.

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