Baibakov Art Projects X 032c Workshop

Maria Baibakova’s progressive artspace collaborates with 032c magazine to present "032c Workshop Report No. 1 (Moscow)"

Photograph by Daria Marchik, courtesy of Baibakov
Photograph by Daria Marchik, courtesy of Baibakov Art Projects.
Once described by its editor-in-chief, Joerg Koch as “The New Yorker - with pornography! Or Vanity Fair on crack”, 032c, that thoughtful, ambitious Berlin-based art and culture publication, whose title is a Pantone colour reference, has been making forays outside the printed page for some time now with its 032c Workshop. While the style of the magazine has evolved from superpurist through to the ‘new ugly’ to its current incarnation of energetic classicism, the mix inside has become more extreme – a dossier on obscure artists, Thomas Demand and William T Vollmann here, a rare interview with Steven Meisel there.

Correspondingly, 032c Workshop acts as a showcase for the artists reflected in the magazine’s specific worldview – artists like geopolitical art collective Slavs and Tatars, designer Helmut Lang and architect, Barkov Leibinger. Maria Baibakova, the Russian mining heiress, first opened Baibakov Art Projects in 2008 in the historic Red October Chocolate Factory showing the work of Luc Tuymans and Paul Pfeiffer, among others.

Since the relocation to a former Soviet House of Culture on the Paveletskaya riverbank; Baibakova has continued her internationally focused programme, which has resulted in her co-curating an eclectic exhibition with Koch, "032c Workshop Report No. 1 (Moscow)." The exhibition mixes the likes of new wave Russian designer, Gosha Rubchinskiy with French multimedia artist Cyprien Gaillard, the industrial designer Konstantin Grcic, Carsten Höller, and even fashion designers, Rick Owens and Missoni. Dazed Digital e-mailed with Koch to learn further about this unique meeting of minds.

Dazed Digital: How did the collaboration with Baibakov Art Projects come about? What were you trying to achieve in curating the exhibition?
Joerg Koch: Maria is a friend of the house of 032c, and we admire her ambition to establish a center for contemporary art in Moscow. This is the first in a series of exhibitions, titled "032c Workshop Report." It's a more systematic approach—we can't deny our German-ness, can we?—than our usual irregular international presentations.  It intends to articulate what the magazine and workshop currently engage with in an exhibition format, instead of simply print, and will hopefully bring to life 032c's content. The series will operate as satellite exhibitions outside our Berlin base, and work directly with the given city to create a unique, site-specific collaboration between it and the magazine.

DD: The new home of Baibakov Art Projects is a former Soviet House of Culture –what did you make of the space and did it tie in with the themes of the exhibition?
Joerg Koch: Well, revolutionary Soviet art and architecture has always been a big influence on us, and we've regularly featured it in the magazine, from Bruce Chatwin's musings on Konstantin Melnikhov's home to a recent review of Yakov Chernikhov's work. So it was natural that the exhibition deals with this history to a large extent, especially in this amazing space.

DD: How have you seen things change in Moscow post recession? Do you see any parallels between the independent art scenes happening in Berlin and Moscow?
Joerg Koch: Oh, I do not have enough insights into the art scene in Moscow for making any worthwhile comparsions to Berlin. However, there is an interesting scene emerging and we are thrilled by the energy and dedication it gives to the magazine. That's why we are here. The artists are quite disparate, Gosha Rubchinskiy represents a new voice in fashion in Post Soviet Russia whereas Konstantin Grcic is an eminent industrial designer.

DD: What links the artists you’ve curated for the exhibition?
Joerg Koch: It is an exercise in creating an atmosphere that brings these seemingly disparate elements together. At the core of the works on display is a shared effort to provoke the present by confronting the past. I think it's becoming more important, and indeed radical, to somehow charge the past with contemporary meaning. Each artist in the exhibition deals with this in his own unique way. The late Soviet architect Yakov Chernikhov was trying to combat Stalinist Classicist architecture with these incredible Gothic forms in a period with none. Carten Höller has collaborated with the Nymphenburg Porzellan Manufaktur to create a tableware series engraved with the past future vision of the architect Georgy Krutikov's Flying City—a motif Höller also used in London's Double Club. And Rick Owens's A/W 2011 collection was inspired by an East German, Real Socialist monument that he once discovered in Berlin. There will also be works by Cyprien Gaillard, Slavs and Tatars, and Andro Wekua. Konstantin Grcic's and Missoni's contributions will act as more formal, design elements for the works to be displayed on. They frame the space.

DD: 032c started as a fanzine, anti-authorship and anti-journalist – have you stayed true to your original intentions after all these years or how have those beliefs changed?
Joerg Koch: Obviously the magazine has transformed itself massively throughout the times, and yet its convictions haven't really changed since issue 1: A strong belief in D-I-Y, a faith in the intelligence of its readers, and a promiscuous curiosity. 032c originally started with an anti-journalist impetus due to the tired formulas in other writings and publications, but retrospectively, it seems to me as if we needed that ground zero approach to build upon. Now we are into super pro journalism!

DD: You have mentioned you would like 032c to be a Vanity Fair or New Yorker for the next generation – how are you working towards this?
Joerg Koch: Did I say that? Probably more tongue-in-cheek than as a real step to realize. Vanity Fair's idea of of combining serious, and often severe, reportage content with fashion and sex appeal is something we try to do, and it's not an unprecedented format. But something happens of course on this path that makes 032c quite different from the mentioned magazines, regardless of the obvious monstrous difference in scale of both magazines.

DD: Can you give us any hint what to expect with your 20th issue and what you’re working on with Pitti Immagine for January?
Joerg Koch: We've always believed in the seduction of surprise…
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