Alexander Kamenetz about art, collections and the role of patron / direct speech / Kyiv / April 2013

Alexander Kamenetz about art, collections and the role of patron / direct speech / Kyiv / April 2013

The love for art began with mom — by happy coincidence, in the 80s she worked at the Union of artists of Ukraine . Thirteen years I kept hearing the names of the artists of the older generation and have seen some “objects”. So my identity was formed under the influence of these episodic Dating with art.

My body was already “turned up” for the perception of art: at the age of twelve my dad took me to the Hermitage, and we spent three days there. As an athlete, I was much more attracted to art than to philosophy. I started reading classical literature, began to listen to classical music, studied art books and spoke regularly with artists. It meant a lot to me. Now, when I open modern catalogues, I often see the same artists, which I remember since my childhood – Kryvolap, Zhyvotkov, Chichkan, Silvashi … In fifteen years I wondered who were the Impressionists, and what is art?

In the difficult 90’s, when all thoughts were focused on survival, I at some point realized: I don’t care whether I will ride on Toyota  or Rolls Roys. But there are things that can not be bought for any money. This communication. And the pleasure that you get when you look at a work of art, the pleasure of possession. I don’t understand clandestine collectors who buy stolen works and post them in an underground bunker, quietly enjoying their “possession”. I felt the lack of communication with artists, the art world and the joys of ownership of this art. In theory I worked “Maslow’s pyramid”: they were satisfied all basic needs, and I was drawn to something more subtle. In the late 90’s I had an apartment, a car, I finished Academy of light industry and talked with a matching range of people from models world. But then I was drawn to classical music, and I started producing concerts. At some point I realized that they were human enough material, maybe even materialistic. The music is ephemeral, but art is good for the fact that you can almost touch it. Everyone needs to be some kind of humanitarian component of the ego personality, and I chose fine art. As a material person, I concentrated on painting. When I was twenty-four, the artist Petro Bevza called me a cultural hero, and this word was a definite push for me in the right direction. I liked the history of such names as Tereshchenko, Guggenheim, and I had visionary goal that after 150 years my name sounded the same. This vanity I’m not shy for.

My work as a philanthropist began, perhaps, with the indignation I had experienced as a publicist and producer. I didn’t understand why the oil barons and other people spend their money on shows and such entertainment. They wasted money, leaving no trace. On the other hand, I always disliked the view that “the artist must be hungry”. I realized – you need to start with yourself. There are three categories of people who spend money on humanitarian projects –patrons, sponsors and advertisers. I like the first ones, for me it is a fulfillment of social duty. I believe that people who earn money, have to share them. This alchemical marriage of money and art – comparable to the interaction of male and female: some are able to make money, and they have to give, without asking why. And it works! Giving, but receiving. As was written on the banners of the Roman legions: “in order to take it, to give”. Ideally such people who do not parasitizing. In marketing there is the concept of a unique commercial product. The product of an artist is the emotions that I get when I look at the product or own it. It’s like emotional sex. It’s impossible to explain to a deaf person the pleasure of listening to music, the Einstein man who lives in two dimensions – that there is a third dimension … on the other hand, as a patron, I get great pleasure when I observe the growth of the artist, assisting him. I’m happy for Anton Den, and I need nothing more, even small signs of attention that he provides to me and my family.

In 1998, I established NGO “Association for the protection of private investments”. At my disposal was a chic office on Lva Tolstogo str.: 200 square meters and ceiling height of 4.5 meters. Despite this luxurious space with almost blank walls, I got the idea to organize the exhibition of artists. One of the members of the Association Kapustin supported this idea. I do not remember how I met Petro Bevza. He and two artists, including Alexey Litvinenko called themselves then “the courtly Mannerist society Valery Chkalov” on behalf of sculpture on the street Gonchar, where they often gathered. Non-figurative art I was hooked for live. One of the works on display was literally charged with energy red diptych. I couldn’t look at him for longer than a minute – I just tore it apart. Also were absolutely Buddhist works of Alexei Litvinenko. Alesha Derevyanko was unbelievable tree. At the exhibition I also met with Oleg Sidor-Gibelinda, which gave an incredible speech about the explanation of creativity. This exhibition became the determining factor. It was then that I realized the power of words, the art critic. I first felt the pleasure you can get from the presence of works of art. I had the opportunity to feel the potential joy of full possession when hung is not his own work in his office. At the exhibition, and Natasha Gerasimenko, which introduced me to Oksana. Oksana with him happened to be graphic. I bought one of them for fifty dollars, and we agreed to buy five more works over the next three years. This graphic work became the first work in my collection.

Series Ocean/ 2011 / polyptych oil on canvas / each 90х40

Series Ocean/ 2011 / polyptych oil on canvas / each 90х40 Oil painting “Ocean” was created specifically for the family of Kamenets, during the preparation of the personal project “Adaptation” of 2011, where “the icon of modernism”, the artist took the image of the black square. The element of earth, symbolically indicated by the rectangle frame, brown spots, Tamika€ water space, seeks to break outside the square. The work was donated by the artist to the family of Kamenetz in the New year 2013.

I clearly understand their preferences. At first it was spontaneous and quite clear decorative graphics. Then I really like non-figurative art, works,  Bevza and Silvashi. They give a great imagination. Quite a long time ago I relied on my taste, but then, communicating with Bevza and other artists, I began to understand a lot more. My first visit to the artist Oleg Tistol, happened just. Bevza gave me his phone number , I called and asked to see his works. I picked exactly ten thousand dollars in my pocket, and make the ego work. Also worked with other artists Bludova, Matsenko, Marina Skugareva. I saw something special in their works.

During this period I communicated with different gallery owners. Here I saw nothing – nothing except the desire to make money. I realized that there is a certain system – a grouping of artists about each gallery. Sometimes I tried to give something, thinking that I’m just “people with money”. Of course, followed by a rethinking of all, there was a pause. I realized that I lack the professional advice of people who are outside institutions and groups. And after Peter Bevza such person became Pavlo Gudimov. Besides, I was always interested in his history as a musician became a gallery owner. And since I don’t trust a draw point of view at a hundred percent, I was sformirovalis the principle of the three opinions. If both Paul and Peter agree with my choice of phone or another artist’s, works, directions, I make this choice. On the formation of my collection is also very influenced by my daughter Katya. I’m too “attached” her to art, and now we are talking not only about my collection, but also about her choice. For example, recent work by Nikita Kravtsov in our family collection there because of Kate. I started to show daughter’s art books when she was six months old. Then she didn’t like Rubens, and the only one that liked the Impressionists. As a father, I’m giving her the right of choice. In addition to favorite works I also have the ones that I bought just for the collection – because it’s supposed to be the work of an artist. So I had some work Roitburd.

I do like the “Museum format” pictures. I am a private collector and not the national Museum, and choose the work that can hang on my wall, which I can enjoy, Sometimes in the evening I go to the bathroom, turn on the light and look at the “hand” of Rayevsky. When they come, they’ll run in the Parsley, take a small glass of Calvados and a long look at four of the road is an extremely talented artist, Marina Skugareva. I meditate on these pictures … Large pictures so it is impossible to cover. Besides, I have a medium size of the exhibition space, storeroom. But if I had more space and the ability to buy and exhibit great works, I’m going to do it. My dream is to have a cultural center, we can tell, Victor Pinchuk, I respect him for the fact that despite the misunderstanding, he was doing what gets the pleasure.

Many of the collection I bought on a whim. This is especially true of sacred symbols. When I saw the Crosses Bibi Bevza, I realized that I can’t do not buy them.The same thing happened with the works of Anton’s Lair. I chose these crosses on ГОГОЛЬFЕSТ in 2012, the project of neofolk. When I go to such events, I try to disable the brain how to perceive works of art intuitively. Then my soul tells me that I need to buy and what not. Even if expert, who’s opinion I listen, I will say that my choice was a load of crap, I still buy the work if it I was hooked. A place for my work, I choose too, subconsciously. For Crimea, for example, I chose the most vivid works, given that in the Crimea everything is bright. They felt good there – next to the smell of red mullet and sweet wine, Kiev – a quiet, reserved vegetable garden. Parsley for me – SkypeTM and spiritual quest. Besides other works, here is “Madonna” by Sergey Yakutovich.

My goal is to expand the collection. To broaden their horizon and perception outside Ukraine. So I was extremely interested in the work on water MEMO-RANDUN with French artists, in particular Emanuel Castelao. I also loved the exhibition of Chinese artists in the First Biennale in Kiev ARSENALE. I never thought that art can be so strong. This is the beginning of a new road and exit outside Ukraine now, when I’m forty, very symbolic. In thirty years I met with Olga and married for love. Today my plan is to display her collection at the international level, and MEMORANDUN is a small but necessary step to the name Guggenheim