In late October, Alisa Savitskaya undertook a two week internship at Turner Contemporary as part of a Curatorial Exchange Programme. Travelling all the way from Russia, Alisa gained an insight into the workings of the gallery and its curatorial team, as well as Margate’s creative community. Here she shares her experience…
Last month I spent two weeks at Turner Contemporary in Margate on a Curatorial Exchange Programme organised by the British Council. During this time I met lots of people, made new professional contacts, did some studio visits with artists in Margate and London, and some research into arts management in the UK. A one hundred kilometer distance between Margate and London is very small for Russians, so a few one day trips to the UK’s capital city became, briefly, a part of my life. But every time I was happy to come back to Margate!
What is Margate?
Meetings with local artists are, for me, the best way to learn the particularities of a place. Thanks to my colleagues from Turner Contemporary I made many studio visits. They helped me to see the real beauty of the place I was living in: coastal nature, varied in its sameness by Leise Wilson; ‘salt traces’ of citizens by Helder Clara, an archeology of time and place by Steve McPherson. I mosaiced my own image of Margate from these pieces and conversations with these, and other artists.
But what is art made in Margate?
It is often site-specific art dedicated to native places, situations, mental outlook. It is local art and equally art of very good quality. It is also an irreplaceable element of Margate life. If you’ve seen Moscow it doesn’t mean that you have seen Russia. If you’ve been to London you haven’t been to England as well. Here in Margate I had an opportunity to see real English life and English art as a part of a strong and healthy civil society. Margate showed me not only arts for arts, but also arts for artists, arts for the town, arts for the local community. It showed me a system of institutions (LIMBO, Crate, and other galleries); a system of art-events (The Pushing Print Festival for example), and a system of supportive and creative relationships that I don’t see in Russia today.
P.S. I came home full of ideas on how to change our local situation!