The Power of Now

We are living through a time of enormous change and upheaval in a post-global world where boundaries are going up. Yet art and culture has become more transnational, moving through ever porous structures whether online, in the ethereum or simply through physical emigration.

Russian Art Focus was created four years ago with the aim of bringing Russian contemporary art and culture into the global mainstream. That mainstream has itself shifted, it is less concrete, there are more clusters of cultural activity now, diverse voices coming from unlikely peripheries, where once there was a more solid, hierarchic structure. Is it not anachronistic to propel our publication, like a lost asteroid, into this new cultural space as the art of just one nation?

During the Soviet times, Russian artists were physically cut off from what was happening at the other side of the iron curtain and were not written into art history. Today Russian artists are emigrating en masse to countries in Western Europe and the ex-Soviet Union creating pockets of activity. And those remaining in Russia are grappling with their tough new socio-political realities, with a post-global understanding. How and what the cultural legacy of this generation will look like is a chapter that is still to be written, and one that we shall take part in writing.

So, as the world changes, our art publication is itself in flux. With the commitment to cover art news stories which reach beyond geographical and political borders, yet share common histories with Russia, comes the acknowledgement that we are not only writing about Russian art. Many of the articles over the past year have been about art from Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and the Baltics among others and so we have decided to reflect a transnational approach in our name, to honour these national identities and their stories. And although Russian art remains central to our vision, ‘Art Focus Now’ will take us further in reflecting contemporary art practices on a broader scale.

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