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 Marat Guelman

Born:   December, 26, 1960

Russian art historian, art-dealer, political technologist, founder of the first private art gallery in post-soviet Russia


Marat Guelman is one of the most outstanding persons of contemporary Russia, combining activities in politics and art business, his projects always meet a mixed reaction. "An artist is always wright" stays on a tablet hanging in his Moscow office. The phrase that the art is not obliged to be beautiful and understandable belongs to him. At the same time it is Marat Guelman, who works in the Public Chamber and heads the project of Cultural Alliance, which belongs to the government party. His circle of interests is really wide.

Marat Guelman has founded the first private art gallery in Russia, he is curator of the most scandalous exhibitions of the Russian contemporary art. Guelman collects contemporary art, quite different styles. He is proving that contemporary art is valuable in all senses of this word, symbolic and material as well. In Russia (and not only here) it is not still obvious. In parallel with art he deals with politics: he founded Foundation for Effective Politics in 90-s, in co-operation with Gleb Pavlovsky and applied the profession of political analyst in Russia. Gelman headed analytical direction of the central TV channel as well but since 2004 he deals mainly with art, more properly with art gallery, publishing house and design foundation GuelmanGraphic. He still travels a lot. Not long ago he left Moscow to turn the provincial city of Perm into a Russian Bilbao, but recently he has returned to Moscow. By the way, Marat Guelman is a character in the last novels of Vladimir Sorokin and Victor Pelevin, well-kniwn Russian contemporary writers. But the early years of this vivid person did not presage anything like this.

Marat Guelman was born in December, 24, 1960, Kishinev (USSR) as a son in the family of famous soviet writer and playwriter Alexander Isaakovitch Guelman. Marat was doing his best to come out of the father's shadow for a long time. Initially the things looked clear and very boring. Guelman graduated from the Moscow Institute of Communication in 1983. After that he returned to Kishinev (Soviet Republic of Moldavia) and worked till 1990 in his hometown as laboratory chief, engineer and director of Science and Technical youth center (this place was kind of commercial companies during late Soviet time). As a student, Marat worked evenings in the Moscow Art Theatre and that was his first meeting with the world of art. Studying at the Institute let him to avoid military draft, but after that the life looked very boring and did not have any perspectives.

But fortunately, one day Gelman has earned very much money. 2, 000 rubles earned in comparison with 200 rubles were something unbelievable and it was too much to spend it for something usual. And he went, or returned to Moscow and began buying pictures. So, contemporary art has changed his life, which looked like a ready script. He was making exhibitions in Moscow when everybody tried to leave abroad. And finally Gelman founded the first private art gallery, called "Guelman Gallery". Marat wanted another title, but the friendes advices this one, because it would be easy for the artists, moving abroad and returning, and losing and changing phone numbers and contacts to find him. Guelman Gallery hosted exhibitions of Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol, as well as many political performances.

1990-s and early 2000-s were full of activities in the art business and politics, but last years Marat Guelman began new trand in the art business. He is a curator of different internet projects devoted to the contemporary art. They are based mainly on his web-site Guelman.Ru, which includes news of the Russian contemporary art, announces of opening exhibitions and new art playgrounds in different Russian Regions and cities. The resource is available in Russian, English and German. Moreover, he has a blog on Livejournal.

One of the last non-virtual projects was creating a centre of contemporary art in the city of Perm , to turn Perm into Permbao (like Bilbao). Much had been done, in spite of that the public did not receive Guelman with open arms. The art dealer left Perm, because of the other projects and because of the reconstruction of the display area in the museum, which will take time.


Tags: Marat Guelman Russian art Russian art critics   

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