In 2008, combining their efforts and creative ideas, Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin created the Modern Arts Fund. Its doors were throw wide open to artists creating their works without frameworks, borders or conditions. The Fund organized and provided support and the opportunity to put the creative ideas of modern authors into practice. Active participation in Russian and foreign artistic life allowed for the promotion of contemporary Russian art, with its being raised into the ranks of cultural heritage of international significance.
The Fund’s mission is to promote young Russian artists. Opening up creative potential can sometimes be hard, even for talented, original authors. A primary role in the establishment of a new generation of artists is played by their opportunities to work freely and demonstrate to the public at large the results of their creative searches. Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin’s Fund does everything it can to support authors presenting cutting edge/contemporary art.
The Fund put on its first project, «WC», with great success in December of 2010 within the framework of the COSMOSCOW modern art fair (Moscow, Russia). At this event, the alternative art project presented new works by Vladimir Logutov, Zhanna Kadyrova, Valery Chtak, David Ter-Oganyan, Alexandra Galkina, Alisa Yoffe, Sergei Sapozhnikov and Misha Most. The non-commercial project attracted the attention of the public and the mass media, becoming the starting point for the realization by the Fund of numerous key undertakings on a national and international level. The curator for the «WC» project was David Ter-Oganyan. The artist’s ability to organically embody various techniques of modern art combines in the best possible way with the Fund’s concepts and missions.
The second project, «TEST ALARM», was held in May of 2011 at a major modern art fair, Viennafair (Vienna, Austria). The young Russian artists’ stand had a major impact, and major success at other international art events was predicted for its participants. This was confirmed by a readiness demonstrated by the gallerist Hans Knoll to continue working with the Russian artists.
In the summer of 2011, the Fund acquired its own studios. The former factory premises, with an area of 300 square metres, became the scene of the embodiment of the artists’ creative plans. Today, the ideas of contemporary artists are born and brought to life here, and works are created for the Fund’s projects.
The largest undertaking in the Fund’s history was the «On.Off» special project, which was held in September of 2011 within the framework of the 4th Moscow Modern Art Biennial. Seventeen artists from four countries – Russia, Ukraine, Latvia and France – took part in the project’s work.
In March of 2012, the exhibition «Angry Birds» was held, curated by David Ter-Oganyan. The exhibition was hosted by the Warsaw Museum for Contemporary Art. Twenty artists from different countries took part in the exhibition, including Zhanna Kadyrova, Misha Most, Erik Binder, Polina Kanis, Alina Gutkina and Irina Korina, among others. Having joined together, they implemented the concepts of protest art – not a new idea, in itself, but no less powerful for it. A key element here was that within the framework of «Angry Birds», a link between computer games and radical art was established for the first time.
In the Autumn of 2012, the Russians artists took their works to Georgia, showing them within the framework of the Saturnalia exhibition, an event curated by Yevgeny Kikodze. The coordinator of the project on the Russian side was Anna Ryaboshenko. The idea for the exhibition was closely interlinked with the theme of the Medieval celebration of agreement and equality, when the social hierarchy was ignored, and the oppressed and the oppressors were put on an even footing. Works by artists from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Samara and Rostov-on-Don were included in the project. Some of them had been shown previously, while some had been intentionally planned for joint creation in Georgia. They comprised architectural-plastic interventions, performances, videos and photographs.
A major event for the Foundation has been the joint project with the Moscow Museum within the framework of the 5th Moscow Modern Art Biennial, «NOTHING OF THE KIND». Artists of various ages took part in the project, though predominantly they were of the younger generation. For Moscow audiences, and certainly for guests at the biennial, nothing here was to be expected or predictable: even for most progressive of spectators, a wealth of new names were featured.
From June 29 to October 31, 2014, the Foundation, together with Baltic Travel Company, presented the project «Not a Museum. *Aesthetic suspicions lab.» as part of the parallel program of the Manifesta 10 biennial. The exhibition was sited in the premises of a post-industrial loft, the New Industry art-space on Orienburgskaya Street in St. Petersburg. The project’s curator, Vladimir Logutov, took the project beyond the confines of museum premises, placing it in the public sphere, where the process of interaction between the artist and the spectator is at its most effective. Over 30 artists presented their works within the framework of the project, all of them standing up to the «museumification» of modern art.
From August 31 to September 20, 2014, the city of Almaty was transformed into a grandiose art platform when it hosted the annual ARTBAT FEST 5 festival of modern art. Within the framework of the festival, the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin put on an exhibition titled «Visual Library». A sizable project, dedicated to the rebirth of the text in the visual-image dimension, it presented works by three artists: Ivars Gravles (Prague), Misha Most (Moscow) and Andrey Syaylev (Samara). The event’s curator was Vladimir Logutov. «Visual Library» was the Foundation of Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantine Sorokin’s first in Kazakhstan, and ARTBAT FEST was an excellent arena for that to take place within.
The Foundation took part in the annual contemporary art festival ARTBAT FEST 6 for the second time: the whole event took place from the 27th of August to 27th of September 2015. The Foundation presented a street-art project named «The general in the Particular». The artists turned grey typical buildings into the colorful ones and the city itself was donated four vivid and memorable graffiti paintings. The eventʼs curator was Vladimir Potapov. Artists: Vladimir Potapov (Russia), Misha Most (Russia), Valery Chtak (Russia) and Darion Shabbash (Kazakhstan).
The 5th anniversary of the Foundation was celebrated by the launch of a special exhibition project «АУТ/OUT» at the contemporary art fair COSMOSCOW 2015 (Moscow, Russia). The very exhibition was curated by Igor Shuklin. Ten artists presented their works, which have been previously created outside of the studio. Once again this non-commercial project attracted the attention of the public and the media. The guests of COSMOSCOW also had a chance of visiting the Foundation’s studio in Burakova 27 street where the artists personally introduced them to their art works.
The «No time» exhibition was presented by the Foundation within the special projects programme of the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art at White Hall at WINZAVOD CСА (Moscow, Russia) in September 2015. The exhibition curated by Vladimir Logutov included the works related to the phenomenon of time perception and its contradictoriness. The exhibition consisted of 30 artists’ works made in different techniques but focused on fine art and plastic art in the borad sense of this term.
Another exhibition project named «Trends» was presented by the Foundation within the special projects programme of the 6th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, which happened in the end of October 2015 and took place at «The New Wing» of Gogol House. The exhibition explores the aesthetic potential of contemporary photography as a mean of the global spread of visual information. The exhibition curators Antonina Baever and Roman Minaev were the first ones to show the newest and previously unseen art works of such world-recognised men of renown as Erwin Wurm, Christian Jankowski and others.
With each new project, the Fund’s capabilities aimed at the realization of its goals are strengthened and enhanced. The Fund’s foreign projects attract ever more attention in society and from representatives of the world of modern art.