Clockmakers Captivated the Kremlin
Not long ago the grand ceremony of the State Prizes of the Russian Federation presentation was held. I would like to remind that annually three prizes in sciences and as many in arts and humanities are awarded. The award is given by Head of State upon the recommendation of the committees on science and culture under President after careful restricted selection of pretenders.
The award is given on the Day of Russia. It is a spectacular show. The
first persons of the state are in attendance. For the awarded the prize
is a high honor. This year the honor was bestowed to three Hermitage restorers.
They are people of obscure occupation. Although they deal with uncommon
matter very few people know about it. One of the tasks of the State Prize
for Culture is to show people who do utmost but obscure for everyone business
along with bright and
This time the awarded are
Restorers are enthusiastic people. At the award presentation they spoke so great inspiration that the audience was captivated. The people present felt the beauty of real professionalism. In fact one of the prizeís objectives is to inspire and encourage professionalism which lacks today. In the St Georgeís Hall of the Kremlin Palace the utmost professionals spoke about their work and its environment. It was obvious that their mastership is based on a rich cultural context. Some words were said about the forgotten meaning of the word "khalturschik" ("schlokmeister") (clockmaker) and about clocks in philosophical meaning. All mechanisms will stop one day but they may be recovered to life.
In the museums there is a lot of work which note everyone sees and understands. Not long ago this issue was discussed in the House of Artists in Krymsky Val, where Intermuseum Festival took place. Representatives of Russian museums moved in together at the festival, having formed the united compact museum environment. The Parliament hearings and hearings of the Public Chamber of the Committee for Culture were also held there. Besides the stories about the things that each of museums do we discussed common problems. They were related to the issue what the museums are like today. We estimated their role in the past when museum not just survived but proved to be more powerful than many cultural institutions. Now it is possible to discuss their role in the future.
There are many people who still picture the museum as a storehouse which must show something to them. When the talk is about museum depositories no one understands in particularly that it is the principal part of museums. There things are collected, studies, kept and restored. These things live in the depository not just moved from one place to another. Their dating and attribution are changed; during reconstruction their image is changed. They are cleaned, cleared, divided into parts... The same clocks start living after restorers have accomplished their work. Things coming to people from the depositories become exhibition items.
Another part of the museum work s science. And many people cannot understand it. Studies, attribution, archeology is scientific work, on which basis a new layer of knowledge is formed.
There is a popular opinion having been published in the press not once
that in the museum
Over the last twenty years museums have acquired a lot of new functions and the number of them is still growing. It appeared that museums are in force to fill the gaps, developed in the process of very different reforms in our country.
Letís assume we have education reform. Everybody understands that it is a sort of leveling from which talented people fall out. People with special interests. This year the State Prize was given to Rector of Russian State University of Cinematography. Creative institutions of higher education do not fit into any reforms. Talents are educated there and we should have a special attitude to them. Any reform, even if it has a basis under it, leaves lacunas which museums can fill. They not just acquainted people with the beauty but they teach history, history of arts, culture Ö In a word they provide food for brains and knowledge which is absent in the educational system.
Another example, we are executing a military reform. The army becomes
It is not for the first time I have said that the museum is able to influence the attitude to migrants. In its expositions it presents different cultures and brings them to the dialogue. People begin to understand each other better when they see in universal museums a part of their culture. In the Hermitage there are halls of Dagestan, Armenia, Georgia and other nations. This may be treated from different ways, for example, to blame why these things were taken out. But it is possible to take pride for the honor, given to objects, represented among other great treasures.
The museum makes to think about another important problem which is aggravating more and more. That is authorís rights. Who does the art belong to: to the third branch ŗ the artistsí descendents or to the humanity? Can it belong to museums which defend their rights all the time?
An obvious problem of the contemporary art is an artist and a curator. Who is more important? The curator is the author of the exhibition he has his authorís. It is considered that it depends on him whether the artist will become recognized or not. It is like this but at the same time it is not. In the contemporary art the curator has a big role. In the museum context it may be traced that the artist is the most important there.
This year the Hermitage takes part in Venetian Biennale. Usually galleries and museums of the contemporary art take part in it. On the basis of the collection from Prada Foundation the curator made an exhibition, united contemporary and classical art. We presented an installation from items of Meissen porcelain, developed around the idea "Art is long, life is short". In the same hall there is a porcelain item of the most expensive from living American sculptors Jeff Koons. An interesting opposition appeared, permitting to speculate about the classical and contemporary art and what sort of dialogue is possible between them. Obviously, an argument about bad and good tastes may emerge. A classical museum helps to bring up taste.
The museum convinces that money is not the most important in the life. There are things much more important. It proves this idea with biographies of artists, their works, and great art. In the museum pictures in oil are more valuable than gold. The museum is a place where people are equal independent on their social status and financial condition. Moreover, there spiritual people understand that they have a particular advantage.
I say that the museum can favorably influence the society and improves it. It is not a secret that our society needs curing. Thus we discuss the strategy of the museum fund preservation and development of museum business in Russia. We try to tell about us in different ways and to improve the surrounding life a bit.
Prizes and encouragements do not only inspire good work. They lay stresses on the things which escape the notice of authorities and common people. It is necessary to be able to see something remarkable in something obscure.