- Today is Monday, the Tretyakov Gallery is closed.

There is practically no one.

What happens here on days like these?

- Since we work six days out of seven, on Monday we try to do what needs to be done without visitors.

First, the correct general cleaning (although the museum is cleaned, of course, every day).

Dedusting, changing exposition, works on re-weighing works.

Something is removed for the exhibition, something that has returned from the exhibition is suspended.

In general, this is the day when we can resolve issues that cannot be resolved in the presence of the public.

- The Tretyakov Gallery is becoming more and more famous abroad.

This name sounds more and more often.


- The interest that we see in the world today, a huge number of exhibition projects, which, perhaps, have accumulated during the era of the pandemic, but which open up at once in various European countries is the result of a huge amount of work, including by the staff of the Tretyakov Gallery.

I have said a lot and continue to talk about the underestimation of Russian art. There are many reasons for this. Including the fact that there are very few works by Russian artists in European and world museums. An exception is probably the Pompidou Center, whose collection has recently been replenished with a collection of contemporary Russian art donated by Russian patrons of art. Or such museums as the Stedeleyk Museum in Amsterdam, where by the will of fate turned out to be a collection of works by Kazimir Malevich. That exhibition, which he showed in 1927 in Europe, and which never returned to the Soviet Union.

Several very important exhibitions are being displayed in parallel in Europe. Of course, the loudest project is an exhibition dedicated to the collection of Mikhail Abramovich and Ivan Abramovich Morozov. The exhibition, which opened on 22 September at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron. And where Russian art is shown in parallel with Western European art. This was probably the first time.

Such interest in Russian art, shown primarily by the curators of the exhibition, testifies to the fact that a moment is coming in the world when the attitude towards Russian art is changing and re-evaluated. In the same Paris, since October 5, in the Petit Palais, a large-scale exhibition of works by Ilya Repin has been open, from the collections, first of all, of the Tretyakov Gallery, but with the active participation of the Russian Museum, several other museum collections in Russia, as well as European museums, the Athenaeum Museum.

A wonderful exhibition “Dreams of Freedom. Romanticism in Russia and Germany ”, which we first showed in our own Tretyakov Gallery. This exhibition, for the first time for a German viewer, unites the works of German romantics and Russian painting of the first half of the 19th century, which is very poorly known in Europe and in Germany, despite the obvious kinship of the German and Russian romantic schools. The exhibition was opened by the Prime Minister of Saxony Michael Kretschmer, who also came to the opening in Moscow. It was nice that the people who came to the opening did not leave for a very long time. They went down, talked, went up again to the exhibition halls. And many people came up to me and said: “Thank you so much for bringing Russian art here, to Dresden. It's incredibly interesting, it's a great schoolwith which we are not at all familiar. "

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Another project that is very successfully going on in Germany is the exhibition, which is now deployed at the Barberini Museum in Potsdam, one of the brightest and most modern museums in Germany ("Impressionism in Russia: Dawn of the Avant-garde." -



This exhibition, which begins with works by Korovin and Igor Grabar, ends with Malevich's "White on White" from the Stedeleyk Museum.

It shows not just how Russian artists were influenced by the French impressionists, but how the Russian avant-garde was born within Russian impressionism.

And from the figurative avant-garde, in the end, Malevich's Suprematist painting was born, and his series "White on White", which is the logical conclusion of all experiments of impressionism.

- In the context of foreign exhibitions, it would be interesting to know how difficult it is to export paintings from Russia.

The logistics process itself.

It's probably even risky ...

- It's difficult, but not risky.

Otherwise, the exhibition exchange around the world would simply stop.

Now exhibitions, for which first-order things from museum collections are issued, are, alas, much less frequent than twenty years ago, for various reasons.

Museums are more and more emphasizing the work with their collection and more and more appreciate the viewer who comes to you for a permanent exhibition.

Moreover, the organization of the exhibition today is a serious expense.

Today, the quality of packaging and the level of transportation safety are such that it requires very serious financial investments.

Transporting such unique works, you understand that you have to turn to the best carriers and insurance companies on the market.

If we talk about the danger, then now all the risks are minimized.

But this is the most complicated logistics.

The time has passed for such export exhibitions, which were done under the auspices of “Masterpieces of Russian Art from the Collection”.

Any large exhibition of Russian art abroad is a serious concept that we are working on together with our foreign colleagues. In some cases, we allow them to develop their own concepts. But when we receive things for our exhibitions from the collections of these museums - so it was with the Vatican's Pinakothek, so it was with the Munch Museum in Oslo, so it was with the National Portrait Gallery in London - we also ask for carte blanche to form an exhibition from the collections of this museum for show here in Moscow, at the Tretyakov Gallery. We believe that we know our viewer better. And we understand that today the standard of exhibition projects in the Tretyakov Gallery is very high.

We always invite colleagues and curators to conduct very serious research, research, brainstorming, discussions, discussions, so that the exhibition is a project that would emphasize that the Tretyakov Gallery today is the avant-garde of museum and exhibition business.

Projects that would say a lot for our audience, which is already accustomed to exhibitions with interesting, original, very modern concepts.

And the example of an exhibition made jointly with the State Art Collections of Dresden is an example of co-creation, a very intense joint intellectual work, the result of which was a brilliant project in Moscow and an equally brilliant version of this project in Dresden.

- Does the pandemic somehow affect international contacts?

How, in principle, did the pandemic affect the work of the museum in Russia?

- Of course, the pandemic has affected all our international projects. To those exhibitions that we planned to bring and open in Moscow. To those exhibitions that we planned to show in Europe and in the world. Almost all of our international projects have been pushed aside and moved several times. There was a moment - those same three and a half months when we sat on the "remote site" - when we had to reformat the exhibition plans every month. Our museum was closed and we didn't know when it would open. And most importantly, those museums with which we collaborated, from which we planned to bring exhibitions to Moscow, and to which we planned to send our expositions, are closed.

Each of the exhibitions we talked about has been postponed for about a year. Just in October 2020, we planned to open both Repin's exhibitions, exhibitions from the Morozov collection, and the exhibition Dreams of Freedom. Romanticism in Russia and Germany ”in our Tretyakov Gallery. Large large-scale exhibitions of contemporary art, which we planned to show at home, were postponed for a year. And now they are opening accordingly: the Diversity / Unity exhibition, which was supposed to open in mid-November 2020, opens on November 23, 2021. And the exhibition of contemporary Indian art, which was supposed to open in the summer of 2020, will open, due to the very difficult situation in India, in May 2022.

But despite the fact that the projects were postponed, not a single project, an international project of the Tretyakov Gallery, was canceled. Not a single foreign exhibition that we planned to bring to Moscow has been canceled.

Moreover, in the midst of the pandemic, we managed to make several international exhibition projects. This is an exhibition of romanticism in Russia and Germany, and an exhibition of Ivan Kudryashov. Exhibition-opening of the new name of the Russian avant-garde artist, which we managed to do in May this year, with the active participation of the Museum of Fine Arts of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. With the participation of the Pompidou Center, with the participation of the Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki. This was the moment when colleagues were afraid to send accompanying persons with the exhibits. But they understood perfectly well: the organization of exhibitions is a confirmation that international museum contacts, despite the pandemic, continue to be maintained. Therefore, the Pompidou Center made a particularly extraordinary decision - to send the exhibits unaccompanied by an employee of the Pompidou Center. We checked the safety in Zoom.

The way the audience flooded into our halls after the opening, after the second lockdown, is a confirmation that everything we do is incredibly important to our audience.

And that people are waiting for these projects, waiting for these exhibitions, waiting for a meeting, even with works well known to them, in our permanent exhibitions.

- The Gallery has projects aimed at different age groups.

For example, for children, for the older generation.

What areas are most in demand now, which ones you might be betting on?

- Of course, our online programs are especially in demand.

And that brings us back to talking about a museum in the era of a pandemic.

Over the past year, we have done an incredible amount in this area, and our online audience has grown from 2.5 million to 11.5 million in 2020.

But it's not just about audience growth. We have radically changed what we offer online visitors. We have released some great films. For example, "Tretyakov Gallery with Sergei Shnurov", or "Tretyakov Gallery with Konstantin Khabensky." We have released several new episodes from the "The Artist Speaks" series. It was an amazing, absolutely informal, non-standard meeting with the most important of our contemporaries, artists, whose art today defines the special position of Russia on the artistic map of the world. This is a lot of issues from the cycle "The Story of One Masterpiece" - when our experts talk about one or another of the most important works from the collection of our museum. This is a wonderful resource "My Tretyakov Gallery", which we launched in February this year. Interesting portal,where you can get acquainted with a huge number of works from the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery, not only all known masterpieces, and get the freshest, most interesting information about each work. This is what our staff, my colleagues, wrote during those long months, while the museum was closed, or while the exhibitions were not open.

We continue special programs for children with Down syndrome, children with signs of autism.

We have continued these programs online, individually working online with each of our disabled visitors we previously invited to our lounges.

This year, when the pandemic began to decline, we even managed to organize an absolutely amazing offline event, such a kind of ball in our halls of the 18th century, which was attended by children with Down syndrome.

We should have seen their faces, their sincere joy, and the joy of all of us when we saw that what we put into them returned to us a hundredfold.

That these children with disabilities behave, react to everything in the same way as their normal peers.

- How is the Gallery being updated at the moment?

Someone gives new paintings, someone temporarily lends them ...

- It is very pleasant to realize that our appeals to patrons, sponsors, collectors that we need their assistance are responding.

Moreover, the response in the era of a pandemic.

Many companies or sponsors who supported us experienced the same problems that we experienced - as the entire business and the entire business community.

And it is very important that no one canceled their promises, including those related to the purchase of certain works for the collection of the Tretyakov Gallery.

We were given works and entire collections as a gift. 

- Here, one of the Gallery's current exhibitions - “Rejected Masterpieces.

Pavel Tretyakov's challenge ”.

What is meant by this name?

- This is a very interesting project that we came up with in the process of creating the Museum of the Tretyakov Brothers, which we are opening in December this year in Golutvinsky Pereulok.

This was the house where the brothers were born and lived for 12 and 10 years.

And the museum is being created for the first time.

Today we possess that level of knowledge that allows us to analyze very deeply what the Tretyakov brothers, and Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, in particular, did for Moscow, for Russia, for each of us.

And in the process of working on this project, we identified in our permanent exhibition about twenty works bought by Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, which today are considered recognized masterpieces, but at one time were subjected to the most severe criticism.

Moreover, not only the works themselves and the artists who created them were criticized, but also Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov, who acquired them.

This is exactly what happened with the painting by Valentin Serov "The Girl in the Sunshine". The attacks on Tretyakov, who bought this work, were carried out in a tone that even today seems to be off scale. And among these works there were also works prohibited by the censorship. In particular, the "Gospel Cycle" by Nikolai Nikolayevich Ge. Nevertheless, Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov bought Ge's works, because he perfectly understood the scale of this artist's talent. And he understood that the moment will come when these works will hang in the exposition of the Tretyakov Gallery.

I think this is a situation that repeats itself from century to century, from millennium to millennium. When something new is created, when existing ideas are overturned, it always seems to be something impossible, something reprehensible, sometimes something blasphemous. It is very difficult for people to turn onto new rails. Therefore, it repeats itself from century to century.

Vereshchagin's works drew sharp criticism. So harsh that one night, in a fit of despair, he destroyed three of the most criticized works. His painting "The Apotheosis of War" was severely criticized. The canvas "Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan November 16, 1581" by Ilya Repin was criticized. Moreover, this painting has been attacked twice. Here, perhaps, we are talking about the fact that a person, especially today, needs to learn to be open to a different opinion, to a different point of view. To the point of view that does not coincide with his personal. Unfortunately, what we are faced with is just the opposite: people become extremely intolerant of other people's opinions and extremely aggressively express their disagreement with them.

This exhibition, it seems to me, should become such a message from the past.

A message to today's person, today's viewer, that his ideas about art and the world can be limited.

Time and eternity will judge.

And what seems unacceptable to you today, as well as the paintings that are part of the “Rejected Masterpieces” route, may in 100 years be perceived as the most interesting thing created by contemporary artists.

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