"Harper`s Bazaar" (Russia)
Harper’s Bazaar (Russia), June 2013 issue, page 106
/Pictures and text on them:/
The new winner of the Max Mar Art Prize for Women became the artist Laure Prouvost.
The prize, as well as contemporary art on the whole are the subjects discussed in the
conversation of Dasha Veledeeva with the Max Mara head Luigi Maramotti.
1. Laure Prouvost’s video installation Swallow
2, 3, 4. Samples of Max Mar Art Prize for Women display at Whitechapel gallery
5. From left to right: Iwona Blazwick (jury chairwoman and Whitechapel gallery
curator), Luigi Maramotti (Max Mara), Laure Prouvost (Max Mar Art Prize for Women
In 2002, French artist graduated from Central Saint Martins. Received several
prestigious awards, exhibited in the Serpentine Gallery and the Tate Modern Museum.
Works in the genres of video art, performance and installation.
“VIDEO BY LAURE PROUVOST IS LIKE A PICTURE IN MOTION: HER NAKED
NYMPH GIRLS SEEM TO HAVE COME DOWN FROM A PICTURESQUE PAINTING”.
1, 3, 4. Scenes from Laure Prouvost’s video installation Swallow
2, 5, 8. Video installation at exhibition at Whitechapel Art Gallery
5,6 Laure Prouvost at work
/Text of the interview/:
Once you perfectly explained why you support women in the arts: Max Mara
House creates clothes only for women...
Yes, and I will tell you more. Our universe is a place for women in the broadest sense. So
we decided to establish a prize for women in the arts. But its main feature, in my
opinion, is not the gender one: the project has succeeded mainly due to the idea that the
prize will be not money, but time spent in Italy. On the one hand, when an artist creates
a work, it begins to exist outside the hours. On the other, in the modern world time is
always short, it is the highest value. We thought that it was necessary not only to
appreciate the artist's conception, but also to take care of his/her aesthetic education.
Do you remember the grand tours in the beginning of the XVIII century, when the
children of aristocrats traveled for educational purposes? That’s quite a real visual
school! And, by the way, this is the very idea which was reflected in her video our
current laureate Laure Prouvost: she has shown the process of her sensual education in
Italy, the country where almost everything is based on feelings.
Can you as an experienced collector look at a work and determine whether
it is created by a woman?
In terms of video art, definitely yes. For example, every shot by Laure is permeated with
Have you been impressed by any female artist in recent time? Maybe, you
have a favorite female artist?
I still try to look at the work itself and assess its regardless of the gender of its creator.
But talking about the latest vivid impressions... In October, we will present a project of a
woman from Italy who lives in New York and creates highly interesting items. And also
recently I saw the works of a Russian female artist living in Rome, which uses as
canvases the pages of old books. Very cool, you can judge it for yourself, call in the Z20
gallery in Rome. But as for any favorite female artist, I have none. Anyway, I'm just a
collector, not a critic.
Are the collectors not critics to a certain extent?
Yes, but this is because we seek to evaluate art. At the same time, we are completely free
in our choice.
And how exactly do you choose works for your collection?
Mostly relying on chance, destiny or, if you like, intuition. Honestly speaking, I do not
know. If you are interested in business, you can not miss any single exhibition. You have
to be informed of all events in the market. But such professional activity has nothing to
do with true collecting. For myself, I have determined a main rule as follows: you have
to remember that what is important is not the image itself, but its meaning.
Are there any works of art that you are eager to get?
I would rephrase the question a little. There are artists with whom I would like to
cooperate. Now purchases made by the Collezione Maramotti are often associated with
projects done for us. That was the case, for example, with Evgeniy Antufiev, he became
the first Russian artist who created for us a series of works. Coming back to your
question: the desire to get acquainted with an artist emerges to create a joint project.
Although, of course, I have to take interest in his/her creative works first in order to feel
such a desire to meet him/her personally.
Who, in your opinion, can be named as the most underrated artist of our
Unfortunately, I have no answer to this question. The only thing I can say for sure is that
this day at the arts market art itself is less and money and profit making are more and
more. The true value of a piece of art is determined by time, I mean 10, 20 or even 40
years. One of the biggest risks associated with contemporary art is that the artist needs
to build a career, gain experience and develop his/her talent. And the glory and awards
after a couple of exhibitions is equivalent of creative death for the young artist. Yes,
there are a lot of underrated artists now, but much more are overpriced.
Have you ever thought of making collaboration with an artist in Max Mara?
I am categorically against such things! I do not like that for the last 20 years fashion has
been associated with the art. This is a huge mistake! Between them lies the gap! Fashion
creates a product: for example, if I sew a jacket, but you do not buy it, the jacket does
not exist. No matter how creative the jacket is, it's just a product, a thing. As for the
artist, he/she paints a picture not because he/she wants to sell it but because he feels the
need to create. Designers are excellent, talented artists who create the product, but not
artists. But for the artist such collaboration is all the more dangerous, we, the people
from the fashion industry, are just like vampires: we need the fresh blood!
Thank you for your honesty!
We must face the truth! Today, I draw ideas from movies, tomorrow give me something
else: any source of inspiration will come in handy! And I hunt for them like that vampire
hunting for fresh blood. I need something new from season to season, that is the market
Once I heard a conversation between two major collectors. One of them
admitted that he loved his pictures more than women, because art does not
betray. What is your idea of such an approach to art?
Well, firstly, it is an extremely hard attack against women. This is as if you are saying
that all women are traitors, even though statistics show otherwise. And by the way, I do
not agree that the picture does not betray. I can easily imagine a situation when 20 years
later you look at the picture and realize that it does not have the deep meaning you
spotted when buying it. However, I have my own theory about that: if you collect pieces
of art not to resell at a higher price you must be proud of your mistakes. Who did not
commit them? Collection is a story of its owner.
Do you believe that art can change the atmosphere in the room and human
mind as well?
Certainly. For example, I have an iPhone, and so you do. Now you are using it as a voice
recorder, but I am sure you keep there all your photos.
Of course, it contains all my life.
I'm keep in my iPhone photos taken in museums. For example, a snapshot of a picture
from the Melbourne Museum, which shocked me a lot. There was a character in the
history of Italy, Lucretia Bordzhia, the Pope’s daughter. This portrait is the only
authentic image of Lucretia, painted by the artist Dosso Dossi. The contemporaneity of
her face is incredible! I keep thinking about this face for two months, that's the answer
to your question, it goes without saying, that works of art have an impact on people. I
even try to draw this face...
Can you draw?
Not as an artist. You know, actually, drawing is an exercise. Most people train their body
and forget to train their eyes. But this is important if you work in the fashion industry,
where it is necessary to see proportions clearly. And this skill can be developed only due
to visual training, such as drawing.
Why have you chosen the Whitechapel Gallery as a venue for works of Max
Mara Art Prize for Women laureates?
Taking a decision to establish a prize, we thought that London is the best place and we
could not find better: in the mid 00s it became the epicenter of contemporary art. I
started looking for a suitable venue and met with Iwona Blazwick, who was appointed
the Whitechapel curator just at that time. She had a lot of smart ideas on marketing,
philanthropy, besides that, she wrote a scientific paper on women artists...
INSTALLATIONS BY LAURE PROUVOST CAN BE SEEN IN COLLEZIONE
MARAMOTTI IN REGGIO EMILIA TILL 3 NOVEMBER