«Art must be relevant, therefore its content is very important»

Interstellar and coordinated multidimensional space Pop Up Gallery Ottepel | Julia Kapitonova Saada and Veronika Tabenskaya.


From the website, we learnt that the international Pop Up Gallery Ottepel is an ambitious art project for hosting private exhibitions of Russian and International artists, designers and photographers in unusual spaces. Already after the first year of its existence, Ottepel became a participant of the 7th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. 

Тhe traditional first question: what is the main concept of your thumbnail thumb?

Julia Kapitonova-Saada: The concept of our thumbnail thumb is the organization and hosting of art events and private exhibition with the integration of art objects into unique, never repeated location. We carefully study the scenery, the program and select a unique space: modern lofts, abandoned factories, horse stables, museums, manors, ancient libraries or wine cellars, the rooftop of famous city buildings, theatres and so on. The concept of exhibitions held by our thumbnail thumb combines the elements of an exhibition, a theatrical show and a light event with informal communication. For us, emotional direction is of great importance. The private exhibition, a corporate evening with art objects should not turn into a concert or fair. 

Veronika Tabenskaya: we offer our visitors a small "play" bright and memorable, which guarantees the exclusivity of the things purchased. The time period for the work of the Pop-up exhibition is limited, which allows us to conduct the experiment on site and select the choice of musical accompaniment. We are able to change the space, turning it into a fashion museum. 

How did the idea of the Pop-Up Gallery Ottepel project come about, and why with this name?

V.Т.: The idea was born spontaneously. During our work with clients in the field of art, artists began asking us to organize their exhibitions. It seemed interesting to us, we did all the activities on a turn-key concept basis: from art direction, the organization to inviting guests and PR. Like all good ideas, this very quickly took shape and content, literally in a couple of weeks. 

J.К.-S.: And then came the name of project, which was invented in Veronika's joke, Ottepel that was adopted unanimously. It refers to Khrushchev's stamp. To the period of the appearance of freedom of speech and the beginning of free expression. This fully reflects the concept. We believe that art can not be limited if it is, of course, creative in its essence. 

V.Т.: Pop-Up Gallery Ottepel — is an intermediary between artists and collectors. On one hand, we like to release new names, to acquaint the Moscow audience with major international artists and photographers, which are known only to art historians, collectors and art dealers. On the other hand, the format of a closed event allows artists to be brought together with potential customers; we invite not only art market professionals and collectors, but also representatives of business, actors, designers. Among the guests, there are no casual people, this is, one way or another, people who are open to contemporary art.

You, the curators, choose the work of artists, create an exposition, style and concept of exhibitions. Do you easily come to a consensus? 

J.К.-S.: Choosing the hero of the new exhibition, we try to understand how comfortable we will work together. Agree, it is foolish to voluntarilty join military actions and subscribe to the struggle, when it is much more pleasant to play a concerted orchestra. We are engaged in the movement of an undervalued market of contemporary art, the financial threshold of which is much lower than of classical art. But it is more relevant and accessible to the audience. before approving the hero of the exhibition, we always ask ourselves the question: "Will the creativity of this author be interesting not only to us, but also to our customers?" Art should be relevant, therefore its context is very important. We explain the importance of the works to collectors, explain the pricing principles and help them acquire it. 



«The name refers to Khrushchev's thaw. To the period of the appearance of freedom of speech and the beginning of free expression. This completely reflects the concept».

What projects are you working on now? What is waiting for fans of the thumbnail thumb in the near future? 

V.Т.: We do not confine ourselves to closed areas and the territory of Moscow. In 2018, we bring from the United States, a large collection of antique kimonos from a private collection. This exposition will be held in one of the federal museums of the country in 2018 in Japan and in Russia. There is an international eco-project, which we are now discussing with the United Nations and the Ministry of Natural Resources. We prepare the work of Kati-Anna Taghuti, the niece of the second president of Israel, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. And in Moscow, we will bring the works of the famous Spanish sculptor David Morena. 

J.К.-S.: In our plans, the personal exhibition of Konstantin Kryukov, participation in COSMOSCOW and the Seventh Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art of 2017, as well as many other events that you will learn about in due time - my colleagues and I will not release all plans. 

Whose ideology lies at the heart of exhibitions - curators or all the same venues within which exhibitions are held? Was there a conflict of concepts or not? 

V.Т.: There have never been conflicts because the mechanism works like a Swiss watch: everything is clear, clear and debugged! If we make the decision to work, then, conceptually, we all agreed. Then the question arises: WHERE? For each project, we are selecting an ideally suitable site. Between us and the square, there are no disagreements and cannot be. A playground is a place for our creative self-expression, and this is always a mutually beneficial story. 

What are the main problems in the preparation of exhibitions? 

J.К.-S.: In our professional lexicon, there is no word "problem", there is only the word "task". We constantly solve them during the preparation for each exhibition. The tasks are very different: to clear the pictures, to optimize spending, to find a common language with complex people and so on. 

What do you think the authors are the most prominent representatives of your concept? 

V.Т.: Of course, Andy Warhol. I would also remember where Pop-Up came from. The founders of the "Comme des Garcons" brand, Ray Kawakubo and Adrian Joffe, in 2004, where the first to launch a capsule collection store in Berlin, practically without reklama, which caused wild agitation among buyers. This was then followed by the rest of the brands, and there appeared the PopUp Galleries with blitz exhibitions in unusual places. J.К.-S.: For me, it's David Hockney, Jasper Jones, Wayne Thibaut and, of course, incredible in his work Yaei Kusama.

What time periods do your exhibitions reflect? Do you refer to the old, classic masters? 

V.Т.: The format of our thumbnail thumb refers to the modern trend, so modern art is combined with it very organically. But, as it has been said, we are not limited to this. Recently, we were offered to sign a contract on work with the legacy of a well-known Russian artist of the 20th century, and it was decided to consider only old estates under his exhibition.

J.К.-S.: Of course, a classical artist, his name and creativity is a long-standing brand. Visitors to the exhibition are somehow familiar with the author and his work. The organization of an exhibition of works of a master familiar to the public is always easier in terms of expectations of the audience and attracting the press, therefore Ottepel mainly engages in the formation of a market for accessible contemporary art. We popularize contemporary young artists. This is our contribution to the future: to work with art, which will become a legacy to the country. We open the names of modern masters, whose work in a dozen years will take pride of place in museum collections, in collection of large funds and in the homes of serious collectors.


How do you assess the success of the exhibition after its completion? How many visitors were there? Did the doors break, as in Serov? Or how did the press react, TV? 

V.Т.: The thumbnail thumb, of course, must have sales, otherwise, its status is reduced, and it turns into an event-agency - this is the first criteria. And the second - guest reviews! and both about the exhibits themselves, and about the show around them! 

J.К.-S.: If the exhibition is long lasting, then we estimate its success by the number of visitors for the entire period of time. If this was a version, then by the number of sold works. But it is also important to setup the opening of the exhibition: how it all happened, who from the guests came, what emotions they were caused by the exhibition. And the result cannot be calculated in advance. Every time, like the first. You work for the "shine in the eyes" of the guest, for their emotional charge, this is our main drug!

And yet you are satisfied with the evaluation with the media part? 

V.Т.: For me, it is significant that our events already generated press articles in the most famous edition of the world of art, The Art Newspaper, and one of his editors graciously agreed to organize an interview with David Tollman at our private dinner with him. 

J.К.-S.: We see a great interest in our work from the side of business and art publications. But the glance cautiously watches us.

And the last traditional question: what question would you like to ask yourself? And, of course, answer yourself…

Julia Каpitonova-Saada, Veronika Tabenskaya: What is the most correct and profitable investment? This is an investment that beautifies the interior! We are grateful to Radisson Royal Moscow and Mercedes for providing a platform for shooting and conducting interviews. Photographer: Elena Sikorskaya. MUAH: Natalia Cheverikina. Clothing is provided by the Peony Moscow brand. 

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