The Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art
The Contemporaries Project

The Contemporaries project is a unique virtual encyclopedia dealing with modern Russian artists who will be shedding light on their art and related issues in a series of interviews which are in fact questionnaires. Videos and transcripts of the interviews are available on this web site. The questionnaires include intentionally simple, rather basic questions whose simplicity often prevents them from being asked in a regular interview. However, the artists’ answers to those questions are not plain by a long shot, and their answers often cause a feeling of surprise. There are often discrepancies between the officially endorsed opinion and some artist’s views on such issues as an art movement files himself under, the context of the world art he puts himself in, or those he considers his teachers and likeminded colleagues.

Modern art in this country is a phenomenon that is as miscomprehended as overly interpreted. The history of modern art has not been properly documented as yet. As for the comprehension of modern art, it has never become a solid academic subject being taught at universities. Since the Soviet era when any artistic activity outside the confines of the canonical realism was doomed to go underground, modern art has been surrounded with a multitude of social phobias resulting in deliberately false interpretations. Often enough modern art can stir up controversy even if interpreted by those who are supposed to support the cause of modern art i.e. curators, art historians, critics. Any outstanding work of art is, without doubt, capable of giving rise to a great number of readings. The one and only interpretation is out of the question. Though a necessary starting point, by no means should an artist’s statement be seen as the ultimate truth. Artworks and ideas may live their own lives while taking new meanings depending on a variety of reasons including the speculative ones. Manipulating a piece of work is nevertheless easier than using the same methods to control the artist. Therefore, it is more interesting to observe contemporary art «in the presence of an artist.»

There are good reasons behind the launching of the Contemporaries project at the MMOMA whose exhibition program puts special emphasis on solo exhibitions, which are specifically meant to get the public acquainted with the oeuvre of a particular artist. First and foremost, the MMOMA is the artists’ museum.

The Contemporaries project comprises videos and transcripts of the questionnaire-like interviews provided by Russian contemporary artists belonging to different age groups and art movements. It is an ongoing open-ended web project whose content is to be regularly updated i.e. a new material will be posted once or twice a month. When visiting our site you will be able to get to know each of the «contemporaries» by watching an artist’s videotaped interview or reading its transcripts that contain lots of links to the Internet sites on the artist and a variety of names, events, artworks and notions mentioned by the artist during the interview. You can also watch different participants of the project answering questions put to them.

The blog of the Contemporaries project will keep you abreast of the latest news from the art world while artists will be sharing their opinions on main events.