Provocation without Art
In the artistic world two events which differ between each other,
possibly, as Moscow and St Petersburg took place. I mean giving Innovation
Prize and Kuryokhin Award. In one case great noise around a doubtful action
and in the
In this connection there is a reason to speak about contemporary art and its peculiarities.
The Innovation Prize, organized by the Contemporary Arts Center under the Ministry of Culture, was awarded by an independent jury. It was given to Voina Group which manipulates with indecent things bearing no relation to the art. There is nothing special to draw a phallus on the Liteyny Drawbridge. Recently I have been to Erevan where in the museum exposition of the ancient times there was a whole wall with phalluses.
What was done by Voina Group is a provocation in the pure form.
It was a great PR event for the Innovation Prize itself, in the first place. It is possible that scandal was implied in the idea of the prize. And, obviously, this is promotion for the group which always rushes to do something that causes noise. But at the same time two anti-promotion events appeared. There were pointed retorts, concerning the fact that the award, pretending for substantiality and deliberateness was given to a doubtful action. Heads of the Contemporary Art Departments of the Hermitage and Louvre, persons, accessory to governmental institutions are mentioned there among the independent experts. It must be said that Louvre and the Hermitage are models of the contemporary art being fitted in the art in general, including some radical things. In a word, it was a governmental courtesy towards a radical vandal action.
There are two sides of this case. On the one hand, should the state make
such courtesy? It must be admitted here that contemporary art is a bit
abandoned. It is no coincidence that President went to the Moscow Center
of Photography in order to talk with the people, engaged in the contemporary
art and to support them somehow. The Innovation Prize was established
for the same purpose. Yet the balance was failed to be observed.
New art can be provocative as a slap to the public taste. In our country everything is understood sharper than anywhere else. The art cannot be provocative in itself. Quite often it goes towards political provocation. But when Solzhenitsyn provoked the authorities he risked a lot. At the present days to provoke FSB means to know that there will be nothing for that. Political provocations now cause different reactions. It is beyond art.
In many cases provocations border with blasphemy. This topic has become as popular as in Protestant America. Blasphemy can be different. Recently Prime Minister mentioned Princess Ukoka. A mummy of a woman was excavated by Novosibirsk archeologists in Gorny Altai. Suddenly a wave of publications emerged, that it must be returned back and buried. As if earthquakes happen because of the fact that the princess was disquieted. A lot of things may be understood as blasphemy by different people. There is a simple example: in the creative work any materials may be used but the crucifixion cannot be drawn by everything. Just a fresh case: organizers of the dance festival used the picture Dance by Matisse at the own discretion for the poster for us it is also blasphemy, copyright infringement. Permission must be asked from the artist’s descendants and the Hermitage.
The society must sort out what blasphemy is and what is not. We showed humorous lithographs by Kabakov with the improper word on one of them in the Hermitage. Purists may be outraged. In general there is nothing terrible in this just as phalluses in the Historic Museum in Erevan.
How to determine the border which is no to be crossed? It cannot be done by religious devotees or atheists. Even the law is almost bedridden. It seems that everything may be described in a law. But as we see in lawsuits it is not like this. The only thing which may help is developed taste. It may say what is decent and what is not.
In the present-day world a lot of vandal events take place. They must be known about. It is not necessary to approve or condemn but it is necessary to see what the event is like and why it is possible. Political provocation is a grieved sign. Why does it cause positive reaction? Because it reflects spirits in the society. There is a little layer of people who understand in the comparative art. In Moscow there are more of them and less of them here. They are young people with sharpened perception of the outside world. They like provocation. It upsets and means that rather than be outraged it is necessary to think how to bring up understanding of the contemporary art, contemporary culture. To bring up true taste. It think museum do this with the help of exhibitions. However, exhibitions can also cause irritation.
It is hoped that in our city in New Holland the center of contemporary art, contemporary life, contemporary culture will appear like the Pompidou Center in Paris but in St Petersburg variant. Rather than teaching people a new language they must be accustomed to it. Then it will be uninteresting for them to spend efforts for crazy provocations. Now they do this in order to fight their way, provided that the ruder is the quicker and better. They assert themselves with the language but not artistic one. I repeat once again: the obscene picture on the Liteyny Drawbridge is an attempt of the authors to declare them. In imitation bikers drew something in Palace Square. It took two days to clean up these pictures.
Exhibitions of Kabakov are a real conceptual art, filled with meaning. The Hermitage received the archive of Prigov as a gift. He is a conceptualist of another type. He had texts and performances at the edge of risk. But everything is clear with Prigov, his name is recognized, his heritage is developed. We will show his exhibition in Venice.
The Minister of Culture said a right thing that we should not return
to the times of prohibitions. Alternatives must be showed. And in the
world of arts advertising and PR play an important role. One of the best
What was made by the hooligans on the Liteyny Drawbridge was accepted as a public event. It is a bad symptom. Readiness for scandalous behavior reflects the spirit of people. It must be understood that it is out of the art’s sphere. Sooner it is the sphere of social psychology. Duty of museums is to create equilibrium in the artistic world, to strive for cultivation of people’s taste. In this work the museums, artistic centers and galleries must join together.
Kuryokhin Award is a reasonable attitude to the contemporary art. There
are also different things which are able to dumbfound unaccustomed people.
Without pretending for the word "innovation" the organizers
refer to the name of Kuryokhin. He is a classicist already. He is related
to the tradition of the courageous art, made with true taste. It is continuation
Two new museum of the contemporary