Against this background, the director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky said that the museum will carry out planned international projects
At the moment, signatures are being collected under an open anti-war letter from art and culture workers all over Russia. More than 2,000 artists, art critics, architects, curators, composers, directors, musicians and writers have already joined the “no to war” call. Among them are the son of the legend of the St. Petersburg underground Sergei Kurekhin and the founder of the Father’s Prize Fedor Kurekhin, head of the department of modern trends of the Tretyakov Gallery, art critic Irina Gorlova, famous artist Pavel Oddelnov.
The open letter emphasizes that the situation in Ukraine is “a terrible tragedy for both Ukrainians and Russians.” “It inflicts huge human sacrifices, threatens the economy and security, and leads our country to complete international isolation. At the same time, it is absolutely meaningless – any coercion to peace through violence is absurd, “said a statement from cultural figures. The signatories demand an immediate cessation of all hostilities, the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine and peace talks.
Some heads of art institutions and employees of major museums also called for an end to the bloodshed, only on their personal pages on social networks. Among them are Anton Belov, director of the Garage, and Dmitry Ozerkov, art critic, curator and head of the Hermitage’s contemporary art department.
Against this background, the country’s main museums react differently to the situation. Thus, the Pushkin Museum canceled the press screening and official opening of the exhibitions “Mummies of Ancient Egypt. The Art of Immortality ”and Irina Zatulovskaya. Escape to Egypt. These two large projects, devoted to the theme of immortality and the ideas of the ancient Egyptians about the afterlife, took a long time to prepare and occupied two floors in the main building of the Museum. The exhibitions will open on March 1, but without pathos and speeches.
At the same time, Mikhail Piotrovsky held a press conference in St. Petersburg, where he announced the plans of the Hermitage for 2022. The director of the museum said that, despite the difficulties, the museum will look for ways to implement the planned plans, including international ones. However, events may go online. Apparently, we are talking about the Hermitage Days, which were to take place in Amsterdam, Rome, Dubai, Vilnius.
“It is very important that we start the morning with a story about culture, because culture and museums are bridges between people, they are medicine. Many of our projects will be implemented in any political situation… So far we do not change anything in our plans, only two or three days we will not carry anything, and then it will be seen… “- said Piotrovsky.
Meanwhile, the Tretyakov Gallery also sent a “calming” letter with plans for March 2022. However, it is only about the events in Moscow, what will happen to the museum’s projects, for example, in Venice, where they were going to open an exhibition in memory of Tair Salakhov, no one knows. Will there be a big retrospective of modern Indian art, which has been prepared for four years and has been postponed several times due to the pandemic, too. However, the opening of the exhibition of Finnish artist Axel Gallen-Kallela is still in the plans.
Some galleries have already postponed or canceled the openings of the planned projects, including the Mikhail Ovcharenko Gallery and the Cube Art Space. But not everyone reacted the same way. Now is not the time for entertainment and cheerful art, some believe. Others say that art has a therapeutic power, it should calm, heal souls and you should do your job, no matter what. Opinions were divided. One thing is clear: all international projects are in question, and will obviously be canceled. We will remain in a cultural vacuum.