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ANTON
BELOV.

I am so post-post, I am so meta-meta

I don’t have to waste time on politeness.

Words and photography by Estere Kajema

The following interview was originally published in Benji Knewman Vol. 9.

 

I land at Sheremetyevo Airport in early autumn. It is warm in Moscow. I am here for the first time. I don’t know the names of restaurants, the rhythm of the city, and taxi fares. I am a little anxious. 

I meet Anton Belov, director of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, in Garage itself. Before our meeting, I managed to see my favourite Ilya and Emilia Kabakov exhibit at the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val. As I looked at the exhibit, I was also thinking about the questions I would like to bring up with Anton.

I’m nervous, for I know that our conversation will not be superficial. Anton is a foremost specialist in contemporary art, one of those who can change the course of art history.

Anton and I spend an hour talking about the theory of art, the role of a curator, about museums, fences, and hermetism. The conversation reminds me of my time with my favourite scientific advisers: I want to remember every phrase and every detail.

After our conversation, I spend the rest of the day in Gorky Park, where Garage is located. I look at the museum through the trees and think about what I have heard. Anton was probably right; no other route to the museum could top walking to it through the park.

First, I would like to talk about an issue which, in my opinion, is very complicated. It has been discussed by Guy Debord, Nicolas Bourriaud, Claire Bishop, and many other contemporary theoreticians: the idea of the ideal museum. An ideal contemporary museum may have a multitude of missions and messages – it can operate as a political and educational place, an archive, a library, an exhibition hall, or a white cube. What, in your opinion, is an ideal museum?

I think that the ideal museum is still a museum that is alive and in which people gain some sort of knowledge and grow as they are impacted in various ways by it. I guess I am not a great supporter of the theory of the white cube and, along with some researchers, I believe that the space of the white cube is simply one of the stages of developing the exhibition space. All spaces that are museums, all museums of contemporary art are built on the idea of the white cube. I guess I don’t see the museum as a simple storage space because, in my opinion, that is one of its secondary functions. It’s very important but not a key function because, to me, the museum doesn’t have to do purely with storage – you and I know a number of museums that have huge amounts of things but which do not serve any function.

To me, a museum is something alive, something that changes society. In Russia, museums have practically become institutions of social change. Here, new systems of education and tolerance take hold and the museum becomes an open space, interacting with the surrounding reality instead of closing itself off behind a fence. So a museum becomes a transformer of the city and of human behaviour, as well as of human interaction with the world at large and art objects. In this respect, we are at a unique juncture where something close to the notion of the ideal museum is appearing. It’s not exactly a commercial structure like in the United States, where every museum is concerned with making money and increasing growth – the result is this endless growth.

It’s a really complicated question – what an ideal museum is. To be honest, when I start thinking about what kind of museums I like, it always turns out that these are small museums and, most often, they don’t even have anything to do with contemporary art. I guess we should take as our point of departure how we imagine museums theoretically. An ideal museum is a reality when a person loves a museum, which is integrated in the natural landscape, is of a particular size that it can be seen in an hour and a half or two hours. It is not the vast museums being built in the Middle East and not the ones Tate and MoMa are turning into, with their endless escalators and elevators and sizes that make them impossible to grasp. You end up becoming a consumer of some sort of culture or art, and they try to tell you that it is like this or that.

The ideal museum is probably one that corresponds to the human scale. It is what we are striving for with Garage, when we say that we don’t want to have large buildings. For us, it is important to be able to negotiate just one building, where there are no additional floors or thousands of square metres and then you walk through the park to the next building. It is a kind of  library, an educational facility. There are exhibits but also just urban installations. There are performances, concerts, and festivals. And these things smoothly overlap.

I agree, particularly if I think about the museums that are located in parks – and there are very many: Garage, Serpentine Galleries, Fondation Beyeler, Inverleith House in Edinburgh…

Inhotim in Brazil is a giant institution.

It is amazing and everyone likes it when a museum is located in a park – it’s possible to interact with it.

The Metropolitan seems to be located in a park but it doesn’t interact with it, and it becomes a completely different story; it is somehow inhuman and unpleasant. We can see that any museum, even Serpentine – you walk up to it and you have a completely different mindset for the reception of art.

In the south of France, they are opening Fondation Carmignac. On an island where any construction is forbidden, an old house among vineyards and wild nature is being reconstructed as a museum. The territory around it is filled with art objects. There is also Château La Coste, where they are doing organic agriculture and the art objects have been integrated with nature.

What about the educational aspect of a contemporary museum?

Yes, enlightenment or the absorption of information is probably more important than exhibits in and of themselves. A multidisciplinary approach is taking over on an unprecedented scale and the mutual association of all kinds of art is becoming ever more active. We can see that for many people it is simply critically important to talk about contexts, to have lectures dedicated to artists and techniques, master classes, family days, and more professional education in order to train a new generation of specialists. In Riga you probably also don’t have specialists who would curate exhibitions of contemporary art? In Russia it’s like that. We are only now launching MA studies in contemporary art: it’s a shortage that we feel almost physically.

Education can also take the form of a publishing program – when we started, we printed 60-70 books a year and we continue to do that. There are many institutions that publish and translate. There are courses on more general topics – photography, history of architecture, history of art – there should be more such projects, in different institutions, in very professional ones and narrowly specialized ones. These could be school systems that are concerned with general training or some sort of courses conducted by masters recognized by authorities – theoreticians, practicians, leaders of their group, developing their school. It is in the interest of the health of any institution not to just put up exhibitions or projects but to create a giant environment out of all this variety.

Yes, and it seems to me that contemporary art itself is approaching the idea of education ever more closely. Contemporary artists – for instance, Hito Steyerl – document their lectures and show the video recordings at their exhibitions. And there’s Zach Blas who, during his exhibitions, gives lectures that are performances. It seems it’s all approaching the situation where artists want to share on a different level, the level of education.

Maybe to share at the level of knowledge. Trevor Paglen, for instance, whose lecture I attended during my visit to RIBOCA (Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art), exhibits photographs where the viewer sees some wires under water, but then it turns out that there is a whole story there: he explains that the wires make up a fiber that runs on the ocean floor. This fiber connects the continents, and, owing to it, we can exchange information. In and of itself a work of art is a visual object, but there is a deeper meaning to it. We are not talking about contemporary trends. Topics like ethics underlying contemporary art make us get involved even more deeply in discussing any work, which then becomes simply a point of departure for your quest or your discussion.

When we talk about art, it’s time to forget that art is simply an exhibition.

Could you please tell us about the change of the name of Garage when it became a “Museum of Contemporary Art” from a “Centre”?

I think there is no real difference. There is Centre Pompidou and there are Tate Modern and MoMA – they all are doing about the same thing. It was ideologically better for Garage to be called a museum because we wanted to show the activity we are involved in and want to be involved in throughout the museum. For many museums, particularly in Russia, it was very comfortable to consider Garage just some sort of an avant-garde centre of contemporary culture, whereas we wanted to show that any museum under the current circumstances and any move forward should leave its conservative stance behind and focus on the fact that we should become a centre of social change, and show the world that it can work. It is the museums that should change all ideas about stable development. We were debated for a long time – after all, traditionally a museum should have a collection. We have an archival collection, yet it generated a very big discussion in the museum circles and in the world. The concept of a museum was formulated during the time of the French Revolution – but what is a museum these days? Whose ideas should change? It seems to me that we are trying to dislodge that big question about what a museum is. For that reason, it was important for Garage to announce that we are a museum.

I have a question about the post of director. There are very many quarrels and mystifications about the role of a curator; many books have been written on the subject of curating but the work of a director is surrounded by fog. Is it a dream job? 

For me personally, working as a director of the Garage Museum is a dream job. Many directors shroud their work in fog deliberately in order to protect it against unnecessary competition. A curator’s work is always visible but these days the curator often ascribes to himself or herself certain traits of an artist.

Absolutely right!

A director is in fact a sur-curator. It is within the power of the director to change the direction and even the functioning of the institution – to decide what it exhibits and how, to interfere with some ideological processes and generally transform the visual, ethical, and political consumption of the visitors and even of the curators within the institution.

A director is a more complicated figure that carries much more responsibility, but, on the other hand, it’s a figure that’s probably one of the most underappreciated.

I would say that all the key changes in the museum world and in art perception have taken place owing to courageous directors who dared to carry out complicated projects or allowed people to take certain actions.

The curator is a person not really carrying any responsibility, whereas a director consciously takes steps knowing what would come of them and calculating their results in three, five, or ten years. You and I are meeting directors of our time who are changing the concept of the museum or are bringing their country out of obscurity and onto a new level because of its museum institutions. We see the results of the actions of such people as Nicholas Serota, who quit his job in 2016, but the result of his monumental efforts is in plain sight: from a rather conservative and unpopular museum, Tate, we now have the most popular museum in the world, Tate Modern; we have Tate Liverpool and Tate St. Ives. The Turner Prize has become the most discussed prize in the world of art. Such moments take place because of such people, who may not have created important theoretical works and have not curated important exhibitions, but their actions have created the field because of which a whole new world has opened up.

I would probably not advise anyone to become a museum director, but if they are willing to sacrifice their life for it, then it’s a dream job.

What is the ideal role of a curator? Or, rather, what is the role of an ideal curator?

What does that mean?

I can tell you who, to me, would be an ideal curator.

Really?

An ideal curator is one who does not dream of being perceived as the only artist of an exhibition. 

Hmm.

And it’s a curator who is rather conservative in his or her work. It is definitely not management and not PR. The curator is not going to other departments and not doing other people’s work. He or she is, of course, helping the artist to deal with something that the artist can’t really manage. And more than anything else, it’s work with texts and work with ideas.

Hmm. I guess I would say – you and I are still living in the post-socialist system where we think that we have the perfect world where curators are supposed to work with beautiful theories and everything else must be done by a bunch of workhorses. The Western system is built on different principles, where the curator does everything – fundraising, technical issues – and it is sad because you often see compromise exhibitions arranged according to this principle. I think that the truth is somewhere in the middle, and in any case, the curator who is doing the project must also think about the budget and management. Everyone thinks that it’s terrible when the curator’s figure is looming over any exhibition and you notice that no matter what group exhibition the curator is organising; it’s principally his or her own expression and any artist simply functions as a colour in his or her picture. Of course you don’t want to see something like that. But, on the other hand, it’s not at all exciting when you can’t see the curator’s role in the project, when he or she disappears and dissolves. There must be some vision, some expression. It’s important for the artist and the curator to find common ground where they understand that they are speaking the same language.

I see the curator and the artist as collaborators, just like the curator and the director of an institution. You have faith in the curator and the curator understands that what he or she is doing is important for the institution at that moment. And so it is here – I think it’s very important for the artist and curator to find a common language, and when that language is missing, it leads to very bad results as a rule. It’s completely different when they understand each other; even if there are any differences, they are still on the same page. Such projects are the most interesting ones, because the role of the curator is visible as he or she explains, narrates, and debates with the viewer, and so is the contribution of the artist who has expressed the same subject matter.

Of course it seems to me that the work of the curator as mediator is important here – he or she sets the tone. Nowadays there are many works of art that require quite a bit of reading, particularly for the unprepared viewer. It’s no secret: professionals, too, are constantly learning something new – it’s not the kind of discipline where you understand something and that’s it. You constantly find yourself in the process of studying. To me, the role of the curator is important exactly from this point of view – to accomplish this mediation from which you as a viewer will receive maximum pleasure and knowledge.

When the Kabakovs had the exhibition Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future at Tate Modern, I went there many times, often with my friends and colleagues, mostly Brits, Germans, and Americans. I tried to explain things to them and asked for their reactions and they would generally answer: “Well, yes, probably it’s beautiful, probably it’s interesting.” Just to remember, for instance, Ilya Kabakov’s work Labyrinth (My Mother’s Album) – it’s a maze of walls, green at the bottom, with a red stripe and beige on top.

Very clear to anyone from the Warsaw Bloc.

Yes, and so you go through this corridor, and your shoes are squeaking, the floor is squeaking, and Kabakov’s voice is singing almost forgotten Russian romance songs. Or, for instance, the work with the broken mirror. A post-Soviet person, being superstitious, would never look into the mirror. Simply couldn’t.

Yes.

People who are from a different space do not understand it and do not perceive it intuitively. I wonder, is it something you feel in museums and exhibitions in Moscow – that people from a different space simply do not get it?

Of course. Say, Kabakov – he grew up on Russian literature and all conceptualists are basically heirs of the Russian literary approach. Kabakov is about poetry. You and I are carriers of the Russian language, so we understand his identity. For the sake of objectivity, we have to admit that there are practically no Russian artists in the West. They are not represented, they are not written up, nobody is talking about them, and nobody knows where they come from and where they are going. There is no huge art market here; there are no auction houses with big sales.

You and I find ourselves in a strange situation where it seems to us that we are high-class and interesting, but we cannot explain ourselves. We don’t have enough managers or gallerists because of the weak infrastructure.

Of course I think that with time it will all arrange itself; there will be the required number of researchers who will write and talk about it, who will write a sufficient number of books and make films, and the artists will be integrated in art. These days, brilliant collections of East European and Russian contemporary art are being gathered at Centre Pompidou, at Tate and MoMA. In Russia, finally, its own collections have appeared – there is this process that is actively developing. Only another 15-20 years have to pass before it is described more or less clearly and, what’s most important, before it’s included in textbooks. Right now it’s impossible to even read about it, and it’s one of the biggest problems – we are definitely poorly understood and poorly explained.

It’s definitely complicated. After all, we don’t have enough of the right kind of instruments to explain it all and it’s not clear where we should look for them. Perhaps, in the case of the Kabakovs, memories act as a kind of instrument.

Because for so many years it was so hermetically sealed in Russia, it is very complicated to introduce the world to our hermetical world.

Before the Kabakov exhibition, there was an exhibition of Russian avant-garde at the Royal Academy of Art in London, and there was always a huge line at the entrance. It’s probably false to claim that it’s easier to understand the avant-garde than the Kabakovs, but that history – the history of the avant-garde – is easier to perceive because it is based on other memories, which have been long since learned outside the post-socialist spaces. For instance, there was a portrait of Lenin at the exhibition, painted by Brodsky; it was easy to walk up to it, look at it, take a picture. I guess it’s easier for people to understand it, file it away, and then forget about it without putting it through any personal filters.

I think that the imagery of the revolution is still on the minds of many people. The avant-garde was born of the revolution and for many it’s associated with somehow having changed the world. It’s our task to describe and introduce the differences, so that it would be interesting and important.

Yes, absolutely. What’s your favourite event in the art world?

It’s hard for me to say what my favourite is.

That which you can’t wait for, that which you miss. You go away and then you immediately want to return to it.

Strange as it may be, I love the Venice Biennale. Many artists really consider it a very important event in their careers. As a rule, there are always a few projects that ruminate on the development of art; for instance, Anne Imhof’s work in the German Pavilion at the last Biennale. It was the kind of thing that changes the understanding and perception of art, and there is a shortage of such things. To me, it’s always very interesting that the countries that have the biggest art markets, the US and the UK, as a rule have very mediocre pavilions, very commercial ones. At the same time, Germany and Portugal, for example, present pavilions that are not banal and are in fact quite striking and interesting. It’s very interesting for me to follow these processes through the Biennale – not the commercial or museum kind of success but projects that vibrate with artistic life. It seems to me that for many other people as well, it is a very important moment: they see that it’s interesting and begin to think differently about a particular region.

There is this moment when we suddenly have this feeling that Basquiat, Warhol, and Pollock, and all the rest of them, are still alive – that’s not true, of course, and it’s all become global. There is Berlin and other places where it’s all flourishing, where there are so many different and interesting things. It probably makes more sense to go there instead of places where the big institutions and large galleries are, and they’re competing with museums for space and exhibitions. You have to go for something new in a different place. In that respect, Biennale for me is a great example: it’s a place where sometimes something totally unexpected, very strange, and even startling happens.

Last year, I really liked the Irish Pavilion, where Jesse Jones showed her video installation on two screens. 

Yes!

And of course the Georgian Pavilion.

With the rain falling into the house.

Yes, Vajiko Chachkhiani.

Remember, for instance, the Axel Vervoordt exhibitions at Palazzo Fortuny – a fantastic mélange of old art, new art, contemporary art, and interiors. Or how about the striking last exhibition at Fondazione Prada, The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied, by Udo Kittelmann – you see it and begin to think completely differently about working with artists and space itself. There was also an exhibition, When Attitudes Become Form – one would think, why repeat it? But they integrated it with Rem Koolhaas’s architecture, and, with the help of curators, a fantastic project was born.

To me, Venice is often an example of or inspiration for reflection on how something can be made new. The German Pavilion touched me to the bottom of my heart.

Do you also like the Biennale of Architecture?

I like the Biennale of Architecture simply because I am not directly associated with it. There, I am not in a working mood – after all, at the art biennale I come to work.

In fact, it seems to me that Venice is a really beautiful city, very much connected to Russia, to Brodsky, to many things.

There is a V-A-C Foundation, and they have their own little square in Venice where they constantly have events with Russian participation. It is a spiritually very close city.

Yes, Brodsky and Diaghilev, and Stravinsky with his wife, are buried there. Last week I was at the V-A-C Foundation. There was an interesting exhibition, and some of the rooms were dedicated to Ballets Russes.

It is a kind of syndrome; everyone talks about the Diaghilev seasons [of Ballets Russes]. They were really a unique multidisciplinary effort where the generation’s best in all fields worked and produced absolutely unique content, which to this day is a certain model for everyone.

Ballets Russes is now remembered in different genres and different forms; for instance, in the Tate Modern bookstore, under “Diaghilev Seasons”, they have a whole shelf. And Bob Wilson, together with Baryshnikov, staged a performance on Nijinsky, Letter to a Man

For Russia, it’s a sensitive issue. And also Baryshnikov, who left – he probably wanted to leave like a hero, but finally left as a refugee. And Nureyev, about whom Serebrennikov just staged a brilliant play of fantastic quality.

Who are the contemporary artists today?

They are very different. They are busy with a variety of research and taking a variety of positions. As a rule, these are people who are at the vanguard of research on human essence.

They are trying to reach beyond the boundary of what’s permitted.  They are looking for that boundary; to feel it and go beyond it in order to arrive in the future. I guess it’s more like scientists who do research, the results of which will become clear to us only after a number of years.

They are absolutely successful marketers, entrepreneurs, yet sometimes it is absolutely introverted; they are not very socially adept people. They are good and they are bad – very different. When we talk about contemporary artists, it is really a question about ourselves. We can love them or not love them, but someone there is doing something very much for you and it touches you.

I feel that this is the most important thing – contemporary artists still manage to find the right instruments to touch you and your sense perceptions that are bogged down under the overload of information and dulled by daily emotions. It seems that it’s very difficult to move you with anything, to surprise you and interact with you and if an artist manages that, I think it’s a big event. If artists manage to do it and people are open to it, becoming sympathetic or interested or, on the contrary, very annoyed, then it means that art is still alive and works and artists manage to walk with a flashlight in the dark and show us some sort of new corners of our inner world or the future.

You are right – they really are very different. There is the more classical kind of artist; for instance, Peter Doig, who is being revered and copied by thousands of students. And then there is Anton Vidokle, who is a genius on a completely different level. 

Yes, but both have found their niches.

And both are called contemporary artists.

They are both commercially successful contemporary artists. Everyone who works like Peter Doig wants to have a house and everyone wants to disseminate his or her information for money through the e-flux of Anton Vidokle. You see, both of them have found their niches. They are both successful and everyone wants to be somehow associated with them.

Doesn’t the term “contemporary art” give you pause? Let’s think about the artists who are working or at one time worked in the UK. Keith Coventry, member of YBA [Young British Artists], who had works on the parts of London where he lived and the parks where he took walks. Tracey Emin, who made a video about growing up in Margate and about why she didn’t learn to dance. And now, 20 or 30 years later there is Wolfgang Tillmans, who is doing a work on Brexit. We put all these artists in the same book under the same period, but the big question is – are, for instance, the members of YBA contemporary artists?

What is contemporary art? Does it really exist?

Irina Antonova, president of Pushkin Museum, thinks that it is not some continuation of the same art, but simply creative expression that is yet to be named. Let us remember that Alfred Barr drew a torpedo and his thought was that everything that MoMA had collected should go to the Metropolitan after some time, and MoMA should concern itself with something more novel.

Any museum of contemporary art has been criticised for not exhibiting enough living artists, for not working with them, showing instead either works by stars of some sort or by artists who are already dead. Museums should build their discussion around this. If a good curator puts an old work in an appropriate context, it could have an effect that’s no weaker than the work of contemporary art.

Earlier, the point of departure was that it was postwar art. Then, that it was art from the 1960s, and finally, that it’s from the 1990s. Nowadays it’s art that is created after 1991. The dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of the Soviet Union. What is considered contemporary? Well, it’s difficult to find the right answer in a world where, on the one hand, complete globalisation is underway but on the other hand, the number of walls is on the rise year after year. We live in a strange world where, on the one hand, everyone wants the free market, freedom of movement, an absence of walls and limitations but, on the other hand, more and more of these limitations are in place, as are obstacles – economic, political, and physical. Where is that open world where, in a way, you don’t lose your identity and are preserving and developing your region?

Artists, including Wolfgang Tillmans, are discussing these complicated issues regarding Brexit and Trumpization, which are on the agenda now – starting with the language of communication and ending with a common idea: how to live together. It is a really complicated question. Perhaps Tracey Emin, with the dances they didn’t teach her, can be included in the category of contemporary art while Wolfgang Tillmans isn’t, but perhaps it’s the other way around. It’s very hard to say. Only time will tell.

Do you know about the meta-modernism of Luke Turner?

A little.

Meta-modernism is a romantic reaction to some sorts of contemporary risks and crises. Frankly, I am not sure that I like this formulation, the word “meta”. 

Everyone uses it these days; for instance, “metа-curating”.

I don’t like it. In my opinion it would be more to the point to say, for instance, “hyper-modernism”, in reference to Jean Baudrillard. Repetition, repetition, repetition. But the idea itself – a romantic reaction to a contemporary crisis – is very interesting.

As the singer Monetochka sings, “I am so post-post, I am so meta-meta.”

It is an escalation of words without any deep understanding of what exactly we are talking about. Everyone now uses the word “meta” – both to the point and not to the point. Nowadays, some sort of hyper-modernism has set in, which has disintegrated into billions of all kinds of modernism. It is difficult to catch some main line of development; there are so many artists, and they are all busy with important research, but on the other hand, there is the same bunch of curators who go from one biennale to the next, the same speakers who talk about the same thing, and all that is no reflection of reality. Probably all that exists must change, but it is difficult to describe it yet – there is no language that would describe the process of which we now see only the initial stage.

And again it’s a problem of a lack of instruments. 

Language and instruments should be created so that you and I could discuss it not as “post-post, meta-meta”, but with more precise expressions that would do justice to these processes.

I will ask you one more question – it is an alarming question about feeling alarmed. How is one supposed to deal with the fact that it’s impossible to see everything? Very many works of art – the favourite ones, the most interesting ones – are hidden in private collections. Some were stolen, others ruined by war, still others one would not have enough time to see. How does one deal with this?

I suggest that you go to Japan and enjoy their approach to life, where one gets pleasure from any small process. You operate with the normal principle of a person coming from European civilisation: you want to manage everything and acquire everything, but you should simply admit to yourself that it’s simply impossible and enjoy what you can.

For instance, at the biennale, it’s better to spend three hours with something you like, and yes, you will miss some things, but that’s where the beauty of all that’s temporal lies. We live, something disappears and dies, but something else appears.

You have a thought, a dream, and you can imagine it even more beautifully than the person who actually spent time with it. It is not mandatory to go to all museums and all exhibitions. You can imagine them or see them in a catalogue.

Right now, there is this approach to the development of museums – they are becoming bigger and bigger. But they should become the opposite: more human, so that a person would not be under constant stress because he or she does not have time for everything. It should be just the opposite – that they would have a feeling that they still have time for themselves or the nature around them. See, you enjoy Fondation Beyeler: one wall there is glass and you can sit down on a couch with a catalogue, but outside, there might be a farmer driving a tractor and gathering hay or wheat. In my opinion, this is what museums should be about. You and I should find time for the personal. It will never be possible to know all artists – you would not become a better specialist and get more enjoyment out of art if you did. Our task, when we are just viewers, is to experience some kind of emotions, filter them through ourselves and, as professionals, to learn something new. If you are constantly running, it’s simply impossible, because you don’t have time to think, to reflect or choose the direction. Living in London, you certainly understand that you can’t visit all the gallery exhibitions, because if you wanted to do that, you would have to drop everything and just have a list and then just grab a backpack and start running. What would that change in your life? Probably nothing. If you rationally choose five exhibitions over two weeks, the effect will be much better, because you will have a chance to share notes and, if you so desire, to bring someone along.

I simply don’t have this syndrome, that I don’t have time for something. Although probably at some juncture in my life I, too, must have felt something like that, but later I understood that it was pointless and unnecessary. And yet we all have something that we love or something that we find very strange, and then we need to go: we need to learn something strange. But all that you don’t find interesting, where you are simply killing time with small talk, you should pass up. It’s difficult for me to judge – the Anglo-Saxon world is different. There, politeness is sometimes more important than content. But I am a lucky man. I have the best job, and I don’t have to waste time on politeness. In this respect, I have really lucked out.

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