However, the situation is changing, and changing for the better. With the dynamic development of contemporary art in Russia, the emergence of incredibly interesting, original artists, the opening of new private galleries of contemporary art, the emergence of the first fair of contemporary art, Cosmoscow, and the growing interest in contemporary art in Russia, there are good chances that interest toward Russian Contemporary Art will increase in the world.
Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Bonham’s and MacDougall’s, the the largest auction houses in London traditionally hold Russian Art auctions twice a year, in late spring and late autumn. Collectors, dealers and lovers of Russian art from around the world come to London for these 2 weeks. Other events, associated with Russian art, also traditionally, happen in London around the auctions, which are formed into informal, but large-scale “Week of Russian art.” Notably, most of the works presented during these weeks are usually from the period between XIX to the middle of the XX century. In 2018 the main interest remained with such names as Shishkin, Repin, Deineka, Feshin, Aivazovsky, Kandinsky and Malevich. Alexander Yakovlev’s, “The Dancer in Spanish Costume”, created a stir, and sold to an anonymous collector for £ 1.1 million pounds, which exceeded the estimate almost 2 times.
In the past few years, despite the economic and political instability, more and more initiatives emerge that bring Russian Contemporary art to the fore. Thanks to the cooperation of Russian philanthropists living in London, Igor and Natalia Tsukanovs with the Satchi Gallery in London – one of the most prestigious and authoritative institutions of contemporary art in the world, more and more young Russian artists are showing there. In 2017 the exhibition “Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism”, also devoted to anniversary of the October Revolution, featured work by the so-called Russian protest movement, including Pussy Riot, Oleg Kulik and Peter Pavlensky under the supervision of Marat Gelman. It was the fourth exhibition of contemporary Russian art in Saatchi, which is organized by the Tsukanov family fund.
Tate Modern showed two exhibitions in 2017, dedicated to the revolution – “Not Everybody Will Be Taken Into the Future “ by the Moscow conceptualists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, and Red Star Over Russia – posters, photos and graphics by Russians artists from the collection of an English art patron David King. The museum now also has a committee for the selection of art from Russia and Eastern Europe, and is involved in actively buying Russian young artists.
Buying modern contemporary art is not all about acquiring an object, it is essentially an investment in the development of contemporary culture, a contribution into the formation of future trends. Of course, one should always buy works that resonate and bring pleasure – both aesthetically and intellectually. And with the contemporary art market developing dynamically, it can be an unprecedentedly profitable investment.
Moreover, today it is much easier to buy art – more and more galleries have an online presence. Technology today allows you to “try on” the work in your interior, and most galleries offer free returns. For example, if you live in London, where contemporary Russian artists are represented very humbly, today there are no obstacles to start collecting their work.
Original text Anna Glinkina, in Russian UK Magazine, issue 45, https://en.calameo.com/read/0051848296b4ca03cd5c2