National and global: cultural exchange as a way to congnize oneself

On December 1 Russian and foreign art-critics, representatives of museums and cultural figures suggested answers to the most important questions in the sphere of global and national contemporary art as part of the “National and global in contemporary art” intellectual marathon.



General Director of the State Hermitage museum Mikhail Piotrovsky and Larisa Zelkova, the president of Vladimir Potanin Charitable Foundation, welcomed guests and participant of the event and presented the topic of discussion.


“Contemporary art is one of the global universal languages”, - said Zelkova and raised the question of the necessity to show the contemporary art of Russia to the world by exhibiting national collections and project and vice versa – by exhibiting works of foreign cultural workers in Russia. Zelkova and Piotrovsky highlighted key issues of the discussion: efficiency of cultural institutions, impact of business on culture and the necessity of art criticism.


Alexander Borovsky, the head of the Department of new trends of the Russian museum, took the side of the critic and emphasized that first of all we need to “try to understand what national and global is” and figure out, how to use the possibility of cultural communication with other states more rationally and effectively. “The global, or the universal, appeared after the collapse of the USSR”, - said another representative of the Russian Museum Olesya Turkina, pointing out the fact, that after that national arts started integrating with the global.


Speakers also discussed the joint project of the Potanin Foundation and the George Pompidou centre on expanding the collection of contemporary Russian art, which became the main reason for organizing the marathon. The director of the Multimedia Art Museum Olga Sviblova stated that in order for the West to think of Russia not only in relation to Chehkov and Dostoyevsky, we need to start an “invasion”, which should be based on the fair and bold man. “We shouldn’t hope for our triumphant walk around Europe until foreign collection reflect contemporary Russian art”, - said Sviblova.



She compared the transference of cultural heritage with a Christmas gift, which makes you richer yourself when you present it, and reminded about the years after Perestroika, when, thanks to foreign collectors, Russia regained its own Russian avant-garde.


The representative of the Pompidou Centre Nicolas Lucci-Gutnikov also commented on the allegations of French museum workers in colonialism after presenting the collection. “This is ironic, because Catherine II founded Hermitage massively buying works of French art. I think this is a natural act of the market economy”, - said the expert. He added that the concept of globalized art, which has recently come to life, actually goes back to the Renaissance. Different art schools constantly exchanged experience, but now this process is faster and easier.


“Accepting this gift, we saw it not as a conquest, but referring to history – everyone knows about Russian artists in Paris”, -concluded Lucci-Gutnikov.