Marc Marc & Benten

Central House of Artists
Exhibition, January 1996

Presentation of two computer graphics

Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - saying: The central House of Artists
Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - View at the exhibition hall During our trip to Moscow from December 1995 till 18th of January 1996, we managed just on time to get an exhibiton arranged in the Central House of Artists. Two computer graphics, representing the concept of Art Moderne / Auto Composing (Marc Marc) and Moving Graphics (Benten). The day before we left we had the vernissage with the director opening it.

We own special thanks to Sergey Maloutin; our supervisor, manager, bodyguard and baby sitter, the director of the Central House Vladimir Koorapatov who allowed us, Ira for initial support, the curator for her help, the sculptor who give us the wall and to many artists who invited us to their studios to pour wodka.

Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - View at the exhibited graphics

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Central House of Artists

Marc Marc Moscow - MarcMarc MD Artist - MarcMarc MD artist - View at the central House of Artists

History Chat

 The Director
A year before, when we joined the ice sculpture concourse in Moscow, we already had donated the graphics to the museum but did not manage to arrange the exhibition preparations of them on time. This time we started straight away when we arrived to refresh the informal agreement of last year and to get all the materials to make the montage of the graphics (the right materials are still very difficult to find in Moscow). We almost failed in getting permission of the director by breaking our rules of team behavior. The collaboration between Sergey Maloutin and me was proved to be worth gold. We often do not understand each other correctly because of the language and culture difference but, by always dealing with the things together, we somehow are seen as a couple to be taken seriously. By circumstances, during our hunt for the director of the Central House, he got to speak to him without me being there. When he returned to me he had the sad message that the director did not agree. Asking him as much details as possible, I figured that the whole thing was misunderstood. I agreed with Sergey to return to the director to try again. The director was somewhere in the museum, talking to people. At a save distance we waited until he would be finished. After a while he came up to us. I shacked his hand as being an old friend and asked Sergey to translate me. The director finally agreed to the idea and asked to show him the graphics when they would be framed.

 The Framing
Having the graphics framed is not such an easy thing at this time of the year since everybody has a lot of free days in this period (2 times Xmas and 2 times new year according to the old and new calendar). Secondly it is hard to find the right frames in the required size and those which suit for the graphics. The workshop in the cellar of the museum where they made frames was willing to made the frames but could not guarantee that they would be finished on time. At this point it is very important to get into a good relationship with the people whom work there. This is done by talking and showing attention for what they are doing. This is not really a hard thing to do because its interesting enough to see how they work in Russia. Sergey is a master in keeping a conversation going and to create a tie between the dealer and the customer. Can you imaging; in the west you just go to a shop and buy whatever you need and here in Moscow it always turns out to be complicated. For certain things, Russia acts like a third world country.

I had to chose the color of the frame which was a funny experience. A certain gray color I had already in mind but, the people from the frame workshop did not catch my idea and wanted me to chose for black. In Holland this never would be a discussion. They simple would give what I was asking for. Here, I had to defend my choice and this became quit a discussion. I liked that because these people wanted the best for me. The discussion became hopeless and thus I decided to put it into another perspective. This simple meant that I said that after all I was the artist - the expert. They agreed and then it was time to speak about the sublimation of the gray color. I asked them how they would make the gray color. Simply by mixing black and white they said. I explained that I wanted to have the gray mixed from magenta and dark green. They looked at me and knew it for sure: this artist is crazy. They did not have these colors and thus I asked what kind of blue they had in stock. They had ultramarine which was good for me. I asked them to make the gray from black and white and then add some of the blue with it. They asked me to mix a sample of the color. So I did and when I mixed the blue with it they started to laugh because they did not see the difference between the gray with or without the blue. It was no use to explain them the reason of the minimum of blue addition to the gray color. I said that it was a matter of magic and you've seen now how much blue it must be and so, please do it.
They refused to make the frames, based on the dimensions I gave to them. They wanted to have the graphics before they would make the frames. Although I said that my calculations on the size were 100% correct, they simple refused. To assemble the graphics (they were transported in 25 pieces each) I needed at least a day. And then there only would be one day left before the free days would take place. And thus It took 10 days before the graphics were framed.

The period of 10 days we spend to visit artists in their studios and by having parties with the incrowd scene of the Moscow art life.

 The final permission
When we got to the museum for the frames to get we were already late. The office time was almost passed when we got to the workshop to check them out. They were OK and we went to the director to ask if he had the time to continue to speak about the presentation. When we came to the office he was just being busy to leave home. I believe that he was not happy to see us, but he agreed and went back to his office while we quickly went down to get the graphics. We installed them in his office and he took a long view at them without saying anything. Then he took one of his many telephones and made a call. A moment later two curators came in and they discussed it. One of them already lives for many years in conflict with Sergey. When he came in, he accepted my greeting but Sergey was completely ignored. This was not new for me because it happened the same with the other two exhibitions in the years before. Most likely this curator cannot stand the fact that Sergey found a way through me to get in touch with the highest level of the museum without him being able to do something about it. The director ordered the curators to deal with it and our case was giving over to the lady curator. She was quit a tuff lady and I was not very happy with her. In her office we made all the documents necessary to arrange the exhibition and vernissage. She promised to walk around in the museum the next day to find us a location. The museum is extremely large but of course there always are exhibitions in each hall.

 The location
The next day she proposed me 4 locations. All of them were not good in my opinion. For a moment I thought she would walk away in anger about my refusal but the opposite was true. I do not know why. Maybe she liked my debate about the locations or she simple understood that I would refuse all these kind of locations because I had something open, something more breathing in mind. If she did not offer me something better she had to go to the director to tell him that there was not an agreement with me. This would be probably the same as telling him that she failed in dealing with it. I only can speculate about this because these kind of power problems are not much of my world. My only concern is to have my art being presented well.

In one of the middle sized halls, a sculptor had his vernissage going on. All the walls were empty because there were sculptures standing everywhere. I asked her whether it would not be possible to have the graphics hanging on the wall of the small entrance hall of the sculpture exhibition. We went up to the sculptor. She introduced me to him and explained him the my wish. The sculptor was very kind and agreed on my proposal and offered me champagne to drink to his big exhibition. That was a deal. One hour later two people of the hanging service were coming to hang the graphics on the wall. This is actually the best part of having an exhibition with a service like this. You do not have to hang your own works. Simply let others do the job and give commands about the alignment until they hang perfect.

 The vernissage
Now it was the time to buy champagne for the vernissage the next day. Sergey proposed to buy extra drinks to make a party at his atelier after the vernissage. Most of the people that we had invited for the vernissage came too late for the speeches. This was not a problem because there already were a lot of people for another vernissage arrived. They all were sent by the curator to our spot and thus it was very crowded. They asked me for a little speech but this all happened so sudden that I did not have gotten the change yet to get two young artists whom had an exhibition in another hall in the museum and who I had invited for the vernissage. A promise is a promise and thus I left our spot asking Sergey to entertain the crowd for a while. For Sergey not a problem. When I came back with the two artist he gave it over to me. I said some nice things about the people and the museum. The applause that followed never could be due to my simple words. It made me think that Sergey must have told a nice story about me and Benten - that the applause was meant for him.

I was exchanging addresses with the two young artists which I had invited when Sergey was touching me to get my attention. Without looking I made an expression to show that I was busy but he forced me to turn around. It was the director himself who wanted to speak to me in front of the audience. Later I tried to imagine how it must have looked like for the audience. The big chief comes in, knowing that he is seen as the most important man of the crowd. Asking for my attention but instead this is waved away without being looked at. This seen in context to the fact that he was not present at the vernissage of the other exhibitions in the years before, now the lord finally decided to come and gets to deal with this. He did not give a crimp, spoke some friendly words to me and kept my hand for a long time and then disappeared again.

 The party after
As was planned we went to Sergey's atelier to continue the evening with a party. This, like always, is a success. The guests are partly people that always are there and partly new ones. Sitting and standing around the table with food serves the beginning of a good evening. Its the medium to bring everybody into contact with everybody without forcing people. They know how to make a party those Russians.

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