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Vladimir and Ekaterina Semenikhin: "To claim that left collectors should be skeptical,"
ARTinvestment.RU   29 июня 2012

The founders of the Cultural Foundation "Ekaterina" collectors Semenikhin - about the art market, the "pressure points" on investment and generally about the future
Vladimir Semenikhin
Photos ARTinvestment.RU

The Cultural Foundation" Ekaterina », founded 10 years ago, collectors, Vladimir and Ekaterina Semenikhina, - the organizer of dozens of landmark exhibitions:" Knave of Diamonds », Erik Bulatov , , the project "Sergei Diaghilev and Russian Ballet Seasons" nonconformist "To be removed from the Soviet Union allowed ..." and others. On the Projects Fund, and write a lot of fun. Talking about art in general better than the money. Especially with knowledgeable people. But work is work. We used the interview to ask collectors and patrons of our profile questions about the market, the "pressure points" on investment and generally about the future. When three galleries "Winery" announced the reformatting, the number of the many reasons which depress business, was named the departure of many collectors. Our own surveys of galleries is partly confirmed. And according to your feelings, many collectors have left Russia?

C: You are talking so confidently, and in fact, this statement can be argue. I think this is a contrived PR stunt, and the problem does not exist. What do you mean "left"? Departure for permanent residence, even today - it does not leave twenty years ago. Then it meant breaking ties with the country. Today, 99%of cases, this means that a person brought his family and the business left here. Accordingly, the assertion about the "left collectors" should be treated with skepticism. All are still present here. They just do not have a convenient tax return to Russia.

AI: But those who have spent much time abroad, buying now is not Russian, but, relatively speaking, Damien Hirst, things are clear in the new cultural environment. It's so?

B. C: People who are buying Western art - not a lot. One of the motives of the collector - to stand out. And now, stand by Hurst impossible. You can buy a hundred works of Hirst and what? The best is you can not buy - they are on their hands and they do not sell. Why not buy in these three galleries - because everyone has already bought their artists. A new work has not appeared.

E. C: The old well-known galleries "Winery" is approximately the same range of artists and people who are interested in them, have bought their work. And for the next generation of artists is needed is a range of other collectors, there is a completely different style. Many things are not very suitable for a comfortable collectibles - a large installation, aggressive stuff that does not hang at home and do not deliver. Sometimes people come and they have nothing to buy.

B. C: I think the galleries need to continue working in the same direction in which they began: to discover new names, unscrew the artists.

AI: So in fact do not want to open the new names, and you can understand - it's pretty risky.

B. C: So, other galleries will open. Russia is such a rich country, that the decision of the people (eg relocate or buy contemporary art), it did not happen. It will all evolve, and will open up new names. And the old galleries, nothing happens, reformatted and will be sold. As soon as any new potential customers, then where will they go? By the master, who knows. Aidan, from which we have been friends and closed the gallery and opened a studio - this has come internally, it is normal, it is understandable why. Business - this burden. The state makes no concessions to the people of art. Elena Selina (XL Gallery - Approx. Ed.), With which we have been friends and due to these two galleries have started to collect a little change to your profile - perhaps it will be easier to sell, find a path to new collectors. It is their right to choose its own path. I am optimistic. And Marat (Marat Gelman, M & J Galleries Gelman - approx. Ed.) Long ago ceased to engage in a gallery, supported by his wife lives here, but when he was constantly engaged in Perm, it's impossible. Vladimir Ovcharenko (Gallery of Regina - approx. Ed.) Opened a gallery in London and the range of his contacts had shifted toward the people who spend more time there. In London there are new houses, new apartments, which are needed to furnish. And not only Hearst and the Russian understandable. However, and here he is, and the clients he has come here too.

AI: Why do you need to fund? What prompted its creation?

C: We have created a fund in 2002, because it prepared the exhibition "Jack of Diamonds" in Monaco. Prior to that, we kept as a museum patrons, help with money, but the legal form of organization we were not needed. And for the organization of exhibitions abroad fitted structure needed to sign the guarantees and contracts. The exhibition at the time was necessary because, with their own collection of "Jack of Diamonds", we saw it the other reduces the level is a huge number of fakes, exhibitions for their legalization in regional museums. In short, we rushed to defend the Russian avant-garde, and protect our way of success. From the curator Zelfira Tregulova we have collected the best works of the exhibition from 18 Russian museums. It turned out stunning. And after Monaco we are in the same 2004 did an exhibition in the Russian Museum, and a year later - in Moscow. In 2007 we opened the first private exhibition space in Russia, so that this year the halls was five years old. The structure remained. And today the fund's annual budget is comparable to buying a very expensive painting.

AI: The Foundation and the obvious need to promote the collection, increase its value?

C: Yes and no. The larger the collection becomes, the less liquid. Because the number of people who are thinking about purchasing this collection - units. They collect, they do not need to have collected, they need certain things. So if you have a small collection, it is much easier to sell. And one job can be much more profitable to sell than in the collection.

Fund is needed not only to promote the collection. The collection is very big and it should work. It is necessary to take care of the works, to know at what exhibitions they have left - it's all a lot of work. For us, it was initially a hobby, and now - the second job. Now collection numbers about two thousand things, from the late XVIII century to contemporary art. We started to collect from the classics, then switched to the Knave of Diamonds, then began to collect the "second avant-garde" and contemporary art. I think that contemporary art we have today is one of the largest collections.

AI: A wide range from classic to contemporary. And on what you're focusing?

C: palette, I have outlined to you. Classics are still buying. We were initially heavily criticized - why you do not focus as the George Costakis or Aven? And who put some kind of framework? We collect everything that we like. Today we buy are already modern Western art. Because the Russian art rose to such prices, that in this range, you can collect the classics of Western contemporary art - Wesselmann, Rosenquist - Pop Art, then on what our artists have learned to clippings from Western magazines.

AI: A list of exhibitions as correlates to your needs as a collector?

B. C: For 5 years we have moved very seriously in terms of exhibition activities, and not of collection. We are putting about 15-18%of its work, that is, to a greater degree of support other art, and other areas. In particular, artists and trends, which we even do not have in the collection - if you believe that they are poorly represented, and they need support. Ambitious task, but we follow it.

AI: Before the interview, we were like you to show a tactile cinema. And do you buy a video art?

C: Yes, we love the video. We did an exhibition of Victor Alimpiev, Robert Wilson, David Lynch and several others. We believe progressive video art direction. And to fund this format is especially good, although the private collection difficult. A stack of DVDs looks gorgeous in a safe, but at home you would not be able to continuously watch the flickering images. It will be annoying. In the West, many video-collect, it is fashionable. A fashion - all the big shopping engine collectors. We collect video art not many. But we have very little collector of contemporary art. Because a good education is small, who want to cheat a lot, and the people of that shies.

AI: Do you collect mostly painting and drawing?

C: I do construction - like a sculpture. A wife - painting. Therefore, we have occasionally there is a struggle for posting.

AI: Our contemporary art is bad are buying from a lack of knowledge or because we are in contemporary art - the periphery?

C: Few know. Few go. We - not the periphery. We - an ambitious aggressive country. Let located at the edge of Europe, but all they hear. And in terms of information content - we have for this work, we bring the exhibition. In general, where did you get such a feeling of pessimism? I, for example, there is no depression.

AI: Is our artists and galleries are flourishing, too?

C: Good artists are flourishing. What they have in the pen? Just want the artists to b lshego. But who among us does not want it? Just at the moment the country can not give more, and can only give it. It is necessary to pass an evolutionary way, that's fine. It is impossible to do yesterday, "Lada" and immediately start doing today, "Mercedes", it does not happen. So it is with artists. They look like living Koons and McQueen, and also because they want. But everything should be on the rise. I do not need to breed depressnyak. Pessimism does not create anything.

AI: themselves for a long time to "Winery" were? Almost all of the galleries, there to recharge the outside, but do not earn in the gallery.

C: was not there long. "Winery" - this is a commercial project on the promotion of real estate. These people made a choice. They had their own galleries, scattered in different parts of Moscow. They decided that it is better to gather in one place and to support the commercial real estate project. Trotsenko earned money on it - very good. And where are the artists? You gave a report that it is not free? Today, enticed, and tomorrow raised rents. This is normal. You may wonder why sales do not? Due to the rising rates of prices for the work of artists. Gallery owner must pay for their space. Make a zero rental rate - will be selling.

AI: Do you think that if you lower the rates for the lease, the lower the price of selling the works of artists out there?

C: At least, this should be so. Rent in the overhead gallery is in the first place. If the government gave "Winery" and said "Guys, do art," then perhaps there would be galleries and a great feeling.

AI: What is the price patterns must be to sold well?

C: A little. And the rise in prices should not be mad. The growth of interest only to large investors. And if a person buys something for the interior, then it is important accessibility. And we have "less" does not work, just want a lot. Look at how much modern American art. It is cheap. It is much cheaper than the Russian. Three to five thousand dollars - this is a normal level. And we have believed? He went to the canvas, and the thing costs less than 50 thousand dollars - you do not respect me?

current crisis on the art market - just the consequence of the fact that we have a greatly increased price, and and then crashed. But all that falls in price, loses its appeal. Remember, as in Soviet times the price for "Field" was lowered from 12 to 9800 rubles? And people stopped buying. People thought again reduced the price, so poor quality. So we have.

AI: How government can help "reset" the internal market of art?

C: For example, if you cancel the VAT for the auction, and we have the normal auctions will be conducted. World auction houses on the expansion in Russia constrains only one thing - the VAT on the full cost of the work. Well, why? If we had not introduced VAT in 1989, the auctions were fixed to the world and developed. And VAT - this is huge money. Expensive to sell things better "close" (ie in the regime of private transactions between individuals), than to pay such taxes. That is why so many do. Why the State did not go forward. If a private owner private trader can sell tax free, then why create such obstacles for organizations?

Another example of why our fund can not be safely imported western show? Because you have to pay customs fees warranty on the border and export to get them back. But we pay in a single window, and return from another department. And the attitude is that you're trying to shake the state money. But museums do not have to do. Why this discrimination?

AI: Cancellation of VAT for the auction - a rather strange idea. What is the auction house is better than another commercial entity (eg, a construction company or developer sites)?

C: Because it is international practice whether you like it or not. Want a different way, then the world of auctions you will not. Enter prohibitive duties, it means that people will use other methods. Picture does not have to leave Russia. But talks on the sale can go abroad, the transaction will take place abroad, pay taxes abroad. And we will stand proudly. Overcome this situation can only be gradual outreach efforts in this direction.

AI: What is your recipe for the conclusion of the market of contemporary art from crises?

C: It is necessary to calm down. Make it more competent taxation. Art will rise in price, if the state will go to the tax exemption at least 10%of the declared profits of companies that invest in art. Worldwide, deductions in taxation stimulates show more profit. And we believe that this shortfall. Recall that the progressive income tax scale, which reached 46%in our collection was two times lower than after the introduction of a flat rate of 13%. It's a clear indicator of which way to go.

AI: What do you think about the idea of ​​reviving the art lottery?

C.: As experience shows, is now the most important stimulus - is money, a high bonus pool. Pictures will not be such a stimulus. In a society dominated by the idea of ​​more money.

AI: You sell something from your collection? At least in order to improve?

C: None. Should improve when you buy all together several works by one author and then brush your collection, leaving his masterpieces. And if you buy just a great thing, then what do you "clean"? I found another great - buy, but also the why not leave.

AI: By the way, you have the entire collection is in Russia?

C: No, of course. But there are many works, such as blank walls annoy me.

AI: you pay for private transactions or auctions?

C: And so and so. But buying at auction is not love, it's more expensive to pay and the seller and the buyer. But there is a mental dependency: the seller brings to you and says - it's worth a million. Why did a million, if ever worth 100,000? Seller: "So I want." Then this job is like a year or two will not sell, but it is hard to go back. Then put up for auction and sold for 200,000, paying more commission. And why just the normal price is not appointed? Excessive demands ...

AI: A crisis of this situation is not normalized?

C: Very normalized, sobered many. Think of what a phenomenal growth of the Hearst showed up in 2008?

AI: But in a penny of its price does not become, and now again, the price index has gone into growth.

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