Fabio Cavalucci: “If society needed culture, then politicians would provide culture”

Fabio Cavalucci was elected the monitor of Polish component of modern art First Kyiv biennale special project. He is a director of the modern art center “Uyazdovskyi Zamok” (Warsaw).


Two years had not yet passed when Fabio Cavalucci commenced his actual post, but since then he has managed to develop rather progressive activity, to discharge several monitors immediately and to supervise many exhibitions. It is an easy task to oversee such a great center, but Fabio has a very varied experience. He has many great achievements and one such achievement is the Civica gallery in Trento, due directly to which, the town became busier and attracted a lot of local citizens as well as the international art-community. He also supervised the sculpture biennale in Carrara in 2010. Fabio says a lot about the inspiration of modern art, about the co-operation with Ukrainian artists and art institutions but he suggests that it is better not to disclose all the secrets of the special project ARSENALE 2012 until the audience sees everything with their own eyes.


Asya Bazdyreva, Civil consciousness is getting more and more active in Ukraine and art can show the way towards positive changes in society, such as it is already happening in Poland, isn’t it?

Fabio Cavalucci  We live in a reformation time: social systems are developing and changing in Europe and other countries. Let us take a trip into the past: art has always had a responsibility to realise what happened in the past or to explain the current situation, to give humanity some tools and patterns for the interpretation of history. Art has always been close to society as it is a part of it, it is a tool to explain the world. At present, we see a distance, something which separates art from society. That is why normal society does not understand art. I am in Poland because I adore Polish culture and art. There is here also some distance between art and society but, it is much more delicate.


- Perhaps because nowadays the cultural policy of the Polish government is to introduce art into society?

- I have been in Poland for a year and cannot say for sure how it was in the past. I know the situation in the modern art of 90s well enough: at the beginning of that decade some artists – Paul Althammer, Catharzhyna Cozyra, Arthur Zhmievskyi – presented excellent work, this work caused a lot of discussion and disputes in the press and on television. These people discovered ways into modern art which became something more usual in the minds of people involved in discussions. It should be said that Poland has always been a country divided between Russia and Germany and thus it has always had to find its own cultural identity. That is the reason why the artists, as mentioned above, put so much energy into art and culture. I do not say – money, I say  – energy. Step by step, people got used to art. The new generation of artists , we are speaking about the artists in their 25-35s, is very strong, determined and very powerful, completely different from the previous artists’ identity.


- Lately, people can observe the Polish government spreading culture. Art is like a tool of reinterpretation of the past and a building of the future, while Poland is resolutely directed toward results and for this purpose it is ready to involve foreign specialists. Thus, for example, Poland invited Yael Bartana for the 54th Venetian biennale,  who stood at the head of “Castle Uyazdovskyi”.

- In Italy, we sometimes say that politicians are unacceptable as they do not consider culture to be something important. Though, as a rule, politicians are the mirror of the society, they cannot do anything which is quite different from what society expects. If society needed culture, believe me - politicians would provide culture. Culture or football – it does not matter as politicians just worry about being re-elected. This is their first priority. The same situation is in Poland, I think. Polish society is much more interested in culture.

A year and a half ago a powerful movement named Obywatele Kultury (“Citizenz of Culture”) arose in Poland. They collected around eight hundred thousand signatures which prompted the beginning of discussions with the government. They required the prime-minister, Tusk (he is preparing for elections) to double the sum which is given for culture’s development. Surely, it is only a pre-election promise, but in what other country can the prime-minster double expenses for culture to get more votes? Only in Poland.


 - You have visited Ukraine plenty of times and you are familiar with local artistic context. Do you single out artists with whom it would be interesting for you to organize a project? Do you have the idea to realize project in Ukraine or to invite somebody to Poland?

- The Laureate of Malevitch Prize Stas Volyazlovskyi has already been invited to the residential project “Castle Uyazdovskyi”. We would like to establish friendly relations between Kyiv and Warsaw to create something powerful next year. The European football championship is an opportunity to get more money for such kind of relations. Personally, I am really interested in relationships with Ukraine, I believe Ukrainians should be interested in friendship with Poland as the countries are natural partners. This is shown in history, culture, and work approaches of many young painters. Let us say objectively, that the art-scene in Ukraine is less developed, it has no tradition or system. But at the same, time it has something that Poland does not have. In 2012 a lot of Poland-Ukrainian projects will be realised. I cannot go any further now as it is only the beginning of the work.


- The trend of biennale has spread all over the world. How can you explain it? This question is especially interesting in the context of ARSENALE.

- It is the same with the shops. Once there were only small shops: good or bad. Later supermarkets appeared. Biennale are “supermarkets”, supermarkets of art. It is also a process of globalisation. Many people would not be able to visit 20 small exhibitions. So you are to organize one gigantic project which will draw the attention of a great many people of let us say a country or maybe even the whole world for 1-2 days.

Sure, there is another question. Is an exhibition the best way to show art? I see a significant need to change the format of art representation, first of all by art institutions, as artists have already changed. Artists have already done things which the format of exhibition cannot manage. Actually monitors are very smart. They should think long and hard about the matter of leaving behind the format of exhibitions.



Asia Bazdireva